The European Union is working toward a common intervention that will result in lower natural gas prices, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday, following the end of the informal EU Summit in Czechoslovakia.
Mitsotakis expressed optimism that the next leaders’ council (Brussels, Oct. 21-22) will formulate a decision on the issue.
“Even this late, Europe must do the right thing, and we must utilize the power the European family provides, united, to lower the natural gas prices, ensuring its supply at the same time,” he said.
Speaking about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s confrontational behavior at the meeting, he said that “the government and I personally will not allow any challenge to go by without responding. I believe that all participants saw for themselves and reached their own conclusions.”
The Greek premier expressed the belief that a statement made by Erdogan that Turkey will come at night sounded more ambiguous than threatening, based on the simultaneous translation. “I will take the positive interpretation and say that no, it was not a threat against Greece. I cannot imagine us continuing in this climate. I make a note of what he said, that Turkey has no intention to challenge the national sovereignty of any other country. I make a note of this as a comment toward a positive direction. I just hope that this is followed up and and an end is put at last to this unacceptable rhetoric of challenging Greece’s national sovereignty as far as the East Aegean islands are concerned,” he added.
Mitsotakis expressed the hope that an option to allow the European Council to impose sanctions on Turkey if it “crosses the red lines” is not activated. He also noted that the 8th package of sanctions recently approved over Russia’s invasion in Ukraine also includes “for the first time, sanctions against Turkish entities and individuals” that violate EU sanctions to the detriment of other countries, members of the European Union that implement the sanctions. “It’s a step in the right direction,” he stressed.
Commenting on a heated exchange between the two leaders during the official dinner on Thursday, Mitsotakis said that some things need to be aired publicly. “Maybe the Turkish president is not used to responses to his opinions, but this is how we operate in the European family, that’s how the European Political Community also works,” he underlined.
He added, however, that “I hope that this exchange of opinions may work to defuse the situation and we can set the pace for a de-escalation of verbal tensions, and sit down at last (…) to discuss confidence-building measures, and also return to talks for the main issue, which is historically our only difference, the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the East Mediterranean,” the Greek premier said.
Moreover, the Greek Premier noted that Athens always remains in favor of the Greek-Turkish dialogue, as long as the Turkish leadership abandons the extreme rhetoric against Greece.