Greek PM on migration, energy crisis, Turkey at 86th TIF

THESSALONIKI – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed on Sunday that the government had done everything necessary to secure the supply of natural gas and LNG during a difficult winter ahead, while promising that support for households would not exceed the budget limits.

He said he was open to a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noting that the informal EU summit in Prague could be an opportunity, while noting that Erdogan’s presence would require the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. and would be a prime opportunity to point out that Turkey’s position leads nowhere.

Asked about his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Monday, Mitsotakis said it would focus on broader regional developments, the line of defense against Russia and international energy developments.

Read more: At the Thessaloniki Fair, Mitsotakis brings 5.5 billion euros worth of documents

Regarding migration and Turkey’s position on the Greek-Turkish border at Evros, the Prime Minister underlined that Greece “is ready to take up any challenge”.

“When we say that we are guarding the borders effectively and with respect for human rights, we are doing it and will continue to do so,” he added, saying that Greece will continue the current policy and accusing certain organizations non-governmental organizations to treat migration like a “Business”.

“The instrumentalization of refugees is behavior that is and must be politically condemned. For people arriving in Greece who are genuine refugees, we have accelerated asylum procedures and decongested the facilities,” he noted.

On the possibility of Turkey’s threats escalating into acts of war, Mitsotakis said he could not “imagine a conflict between Greece and Turkey in which Turkey would be the aggressor”, adding: “If that produced, Turkey would receive a response that would be decisive. ”

“More broadly, our position on Ukraine is not just about supporting a country that is fighting back. It is a position that creates a dividing line between countries that respect the inviolability of borders, the rules of international law and those who think they can change borders at will,” he said.

On other issues, the Prime Minister highlighted the progress made on LGBTQI issues in Greece, pointing out that this was done by a center-right government, while he also expressed his agreement with the establishment of a special term for “feminicide”, but not necessarily different in legal terms. penalties for the crime.

Mitsotakis said there were no plans for additional support measures at this time, stressing that the main goal of government policy will be to reduce unemployment, which he described as “the most great inequality in the country today”, with the highest poverty rates among the unemployed. in the middle Ages.

Regarding the phasing out of lignite, he said this remains a long-term policy, while the current reliance on lignite is a temporary measure that makes sense as long as natural gas prices remain exorbitant.

Responding to a question from the ANA regarding campus policing, he said it was important to “win the bet that we’re not talking about a mechanism of oppression.”

The prime minister also declined to reveal the exact time of the next election but repeated that the government would exhaust its four-year term, ruling out a snap election, any changes to the electoral law or a reshuffle.

On economic issues, Mitsotakis sounded confident that Greece would achieve investment grade by 2023 and that any delay would be due to the risk of political instability rather than economic policy, adding that a stable government after the elections would be a condition for achieving investment grade.

As for raising the minimum wage in May, he said the decision-making process will begin early in the year so businesses can plan accordingly.

He also clarified that any support sent to Ukraine “will not be [Greece’s] detriment”.