President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou received Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday as part of her meetings with political leaders, and they briefly reviewed the health and economic crisis resulting form the coronavirus pandemic in Greece as well as the rising tension with Turkey.
Mitsotakis proposed they meet for montly briefings, and said he was interested in hearing her impressions of her recent visit to Thrace.
Sakellaropoulou, on her part, spoke of the positive news about the generous EU-wide aid package proposed by the European Commission, which she said was commendable for its brave decision to address so generously the huge repercussions of the coronavirus crisis. She also added however that this time also afforded “an opportunity for us to take another look at our production model and at the country’s development model.”
Speaking of Turkey, PM Mitsotakis said, “During this tense time – which I want to clarify is not something Greece wants and which it is definitely is not fuelling – I am absolutely certain we will have the absolute support of the European Union so that we may, I hope, overcome this period in time.” He added that Greece’s clear message is “this is not a tension we are causing, it cannot automatically lead to a de-escalation of the situation we are experiencing and to an improvement in our relations with Turkey.”
Sakellaropoulou said that in terms of Greece’s sovereign rights, “it is evident that everyone of us would respond that we will always protect them, respecting International Law.” The president added that “with any other presidents I have spoken with – as I did earlier with the president of Portugal – their support is firm” for Greece.
Responding, Mitsotakis said, “I can assure you that the EU’s institutional support is Greek rights is a given, and has never been doubted,” adding that when the EU leaders paid an on-site visit to the Evros region borders with Turkey, they saw that “Greece has assumed the protection of both Greek borders and European ones, a mission it will carry out fully.”
“Greece will face all challenges with firmness, self-confidence and always in line with International Law, as it has always done and as it will continue to do,” he said.