Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
“In the six months after Greece’s exit from the memoranda, the government has focused on a very demanding but also a beautiful project which is to lay the foundations in order for the country to move to the future with safety based on its own strength and by taking advantage of its comparative advantages” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday addressing Delphi Economic Forum.
Tsipras said that SYRIZA government worked with determination and honesty and assumed the great mission to succeed in four years not only to heal the wounds of decades but also to form a new vision and plan for the next day.
“Today we have covered a great part of the way. We are aware we have much more to do in order for our vision to become true” he said adding that the Greece of 2014 has nothing in common with the Greece of 2019. “This is a fact” said Tsipras.
He said that Greece today is a force that has the knowledge and ways to work for the benefit of stability, cooperation and co-existence in a very troubled region. “We just took advantage of the opportunities in order to co-form positive developments with our neighbours that showed the same courage, determination and seriousness. We must claim that with our efforts our image in the Balkans and the southeastern Mediterranean has significantly improved”.
Tsipras characterized very pleasant the news from the research in Glafkos plot in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and praised the fact that the Foreign Minister of Cyprus held a low profile on the issue during his speech earlier on Friday at Delphi’s Forum
He defended Cyprus’ rights over the drilling in its EEZ saying that both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots should benefit from the exploitation of the energy resources and this can only be achieved after the resolution of the Cyprus issue.
Referring to the Prespes Agreement he characterised it a landmark not only for the two countries (Greece and North Macedonia) history but also for the Balkans because it is the first time that in a bilateral issue, the nationalism was defeated and was marginalised because the power of cooperation and the need for peaceful co-existence, the need for stability and co-growth gave the pace” said Tsipras.
“Today Greece and North Macedonia are no longer the two parts of a difficult to solve riddle for the international community. They are two neighbours that invest in friendship, in cooperation and solidarity and are an example not only for the Balkans and for Europe but for the whole world” he noted.
Tsipras announced that he will be the first Greek Prime Minister that will officially visit Skopje accompanied by a business mission adding that this visit will take place very soon.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his ambition to turn Greece into a success story in Europe, if the Greek people trust him to govern the country, speaking on Friday with the director of Financial Times Peter Spiegel in the framework of Delphi Economic Forum.
Mitsotakis announced that he will send a letter to the European People’s Party requesting the suspension of Hungarian extreme-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban membership and stated his certainty that if he wins the elections whenever they are held.
On a new economic agreement with Greece’s partners, Mitsotakis said that “the re-negotiation is restricted in Brussels. «Let’s forget the word re-negotiation. I will propose to our partners a different agreement, reforms instead of reducing the primary surpluses; it is a win-win agreement that will also benefit our partners”.
He criticised the government saying that it overtaxes the middle class to have excessive surpluses to be able to distribute them during the elections campaign. He said that his plan for the economy will start by reducing the taxes on enterprises. He said that instead of Christmas benefits he will reduce the taxation on the middle class.
Mitsotakis said that the answer to Greece’s economic problem is growth explaining that the country’s growth rate should be 3 to 4 pct.
The main opposition leader said that Europe that is currently having difficulties has every reason to wish for a success story for Greece adding that we must address the rise of the Left and Right populism.
Referring to the Prespes Agreement, Mitsotakis reiterated his positions “70 percent of the Greeks believe it is a bad agreement. I want an agreement but not an agreement that will destabilise Greece because there is the risk of destabilisation.
Asked on the elections, he said that the European elections are on May 26…”As for the national elections, the sooner the better” Mitsotakis underlined.
Katrougalos meets Christodoulides
Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos met with his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Christodoulides on Friday in Delphi on the sidelines of the Delphi Economic Forum. The two officials discussed issues of bilateral interest.
The Greek minister will also meet with the Vice Prime Minister of Romania Ana Birchall and the executive director of the Atlantic Council Frederick Kempe.
Katrougalos is scheduled to have dinner on Friday with his counterpart from North Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov, and Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba on Friday night, while a meeting between Katrougalos and Dimitrov has been scheduled for Saturday.
On Saturday, Katrougalos will be key speaker at a panel on the national strategy and the foreign policy and afterwards he will meet with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic.
Finally, on Sunday he will participate in a debate on the political landscape after the signing of the Prespes Agreement.
The need for “an alternative approach against Turkey, different to the current support for its EU accession course,” was raised by the main opposition party’s New Democracy shadow foreign minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos during his speech on the second day of the Delphi Economic Forum.
More specifically, Koumoutsakos said that “Ankara’s insistence on updating its customs union agreement with the EU against and away from current duties and quantitative barriers imposed on Turkey would not be beneficial to Greece if some conditionalities are not maintained.” Moreover, Koumoutsakos said that “Turkey’s EU integration course has been apparently halted, therefore the mechanism of incentives and fines is no longer operationally effective.”
Koumoutsakos emphasized how Turkey must ‘respect human rights and international laws like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea where Turkey still remains a non-member, if it wants to actively pursue and achieve an updated customs union with the EU, while also take a more involved stance in recognising Cyprus’ right to have access to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”