The unanimous decision to give Ukraine and Moldova the status of EU candidate-countries was “an important result” of the European Council, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a press conference after European leaders met on Friday in Brussels. He also reiterated Greece’s support for the European prospects of the Western Balkans and said that Greece was “fully covered” by the conclusions adopted by the Council regarding Turkey.
“The European Council had as its most important result the unanimous decision to give Ukraine and Moldova the status of candidate countries, with the same prospect for Georgia and Bosnia. It sends the message that Ukraine’s place is in Europe, provided that it implements the requirements. Europe’s message is important without diluting the complexity of the accession process,” Mitsotakis said.
The Greek prime minister said that he had repeated that the Western Balkans have a place in Europe but that these countries must move faster in this direction.
Regarding Greek-Turkish affairs, Mitsotakis stressed: “I repeat that we are fully covered by the conclusions that were unanimously adopted and which express concern about Turkey’s provocations. They also call on [Turkey] to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member-states and to de-escalate the tension which it is cultivating in the Eastern Mediterranean, so as to promote peace and stability in the wider region.”
The European Council’s message to Turkey is clear, Mitsotakis said at the press conference. Turkey has two options, he added, either to de-escalate and hold constructive dialog or to escalate tension, which will certainly lead Turkey to distancing itself further from the European family, and also leaves the option of further EU measures against Turkey.
“Turkey must stop its extremely aggressive rhetoric challenging Greek sovereignty; Greece has responded with facts to every challenge anyway,” Mitsotakis said. “I will always keep inviting Turkey to a goodwill dialog, but we are also prepared to defend our sovereignty decisively.”
Asked if he planned to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid on June 29 and 30, the Greek premier said it is up to Erdogan to restore channels of communication. “I still believe that we should be meeting and talking,” he reiterated.
On economic issues, the prime minister said that the European Commission had been tasked with completing its proposals for severing the link between the price of natural gas and that of electricity by the end of the summer, while adding that the government will continue to support households and businesses as far as fiscal responsibility allowed in the meantime.
Responding to other questions, the Greek leader reiterated that national elections would take place at the end of the four-year term in 2023. “I have said all I have to say about snap elections, there is nothing more to add.” He noted that all ministers are continuing their work and not going on campaign. “I understand it is very hard to convince you otherwise about elections and a reshuffle, since you keep asking,” he added.