Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke to Reuters news agency during his visit to the Aegean island of Astypalea, where he said the transition to green energy sources “is a glimpse from the future.”
This transition to clean energy across the full spectrum of public services on the island, he told the global news outlet, “is being achieved much faster than many predicted.” He added that this will eventually be implemented at most of the country’s islands.
Asked about Europe’s transition to an economy of neutral emissions at a time when the EU is trying to reduce its dependency on Russian fossil fuel exports, the Greek premier said that “achieving our green transition is becoming a priority not only for environmental reasons, not only to become the first continent in the world to have a neutral climate footprint, but it’s also important in order to strengthen our strategic autonomy.”
Greece’s “sunlight and wind power can produce the cheapest electricity power that we can have, they are abundant. We don’t need to rely on anyone else,” he noted.
On potential energy shortages during this summer, Mitsotakis stressed that Greece “has been moving away from lignite for quite some time, but we still have lignite plants capable of providing backup power in case we need it. Moreover, we have sufficient gas reserves to produce electricity from it, while our renewable energy sources work at maximum capacity during the summer, be they wind turbines or solar panels.”
About managing the current energy crisis and the cost of electricity at European level, Mitsotakis said: “We raised this issue, I myself raised it with the European Council. Most of my colleagues are now of the opinion that we need to rethink the way the European electricity market functions. And we need to be able to take even more drastic measures, such as a temporary ceiling on the wholesale price of gas, to ensure that we have a well-functioning market.”
“The truth of the matter is,” he noted, “that right now in Europe we buy natural gas in the highest price compared to other continents or regions,” therefore this is “a short-term problem that we have to deal with.”
Regarding the prospect of transporting natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe via Greece, Mitsotakis said “we have to look at all the options, and find the cheapest way to transfer available gas from Cyprus and Israel to the European gas market.” Any such solution “would certainly involve Greece,” he underlined.
On relations and tensions with Turkey, Mitsotakis observed that Greece “will not tolerate aggressive attitude, revisionist rhetoric, and actions that amount to violations of Greek sovereign rights and Greek sovereignty.”
He added that “it’s up to Turkey to change its attitude. We never were the ones who exceeded the limits or became aggressive. We are absolutely certain, however, that we have the ability to defend our country if such a need ever arises.”
“We are also confident that we have allies who support us, such as the European Union and the United States. I don’t see why Turkey should complain every time we say we are right, or when we argue that our disputes should be resolved in accordance with International Law, or that we cannot accept irrational claims of sovereignty over Greek islands.”