The energy crisis urgently highlights the need for a truly common European policy for energy, National Economy and Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said on Tuesday, adding that “the needs of the economy make it imperative.” Hatzidakis, who participated in the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, was referring to the impact of energy prices on the competitiveness of the European economy.
Hatzidakis said the EU must act on two fronts: the first was joint planning for energy networks with geographically distributed production centres and the second was a unified economic planning to achieve economies of scale and prevent the planning of one country being indirectly undermined by others. To this end, he said it would be useful to promote the energy interconnection of Europe with the countries of the southeast Mediterranean (Egypt, Israel), as this would not only enhance energy security but also promote the geopolitical interests of the EU.
During the discussion with the IMF mission regarding the euro area economy, Hatzidakis focused on the need to complete banking union and the capital markets union and repeated the Greek government’s commitment to continue on a path of fiscal responsibility, regardless of the new fiscal rules agreed in December.
“After the painful experience of the past decade, we will do everything we can so as to keep the IMF away from Greece with our policy. It is already abundantly clear that the Greek economy is on an entirely different upward course, something that is reflected in the IMF’s own reports,” he said.
On the sidelines of the ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings, Hatzidakis met the new European Investment Bank President Nadia Calvino and discussed her priorities. Calvino promised to support the government’s initiatives for the support of the Greek economy.