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Alternate FM G. Katrougalos participates in the EU General Affairs Council (Brussels, 7 March 2017)
Alternate Foreign Minister, George Katrougalos, participated today in the General Affairs Council in Brussels, at a crucial moment in the discussion on the future of Europe. Mr. Katrougalos, speaking ahead of the European Council of 9 March, emphasised the need to take into account the actual data pertaining to the EU legitimisation crisis, which is not due to bad public relations on the part of the EU, but rather to the deterioration of the daily life of the European citizen, as a result of the erosion of the European Social Model.
In order for this situation to be reversed, said Mr. Katrougalos, the failed policies must be re-examined. Austerity in the absence of growth leads to insurmountable impasses. Subsequently, he referred to the need for specific policy measures to be promoted, in order for European citizens’ trust in the EU to be regained, in a coordinated effort for social development and battling of unemployment and austerity. Supporting similar proposals on the part of France and Portugal, he stressed the need for strengthening the welfare state, the development of which must be in line with economic growth.
As regards immigration, the Alternate Foreign Minister referred to the critical nature of the situation in the Eastern Aegean and requested that an Agreement be drafted, pertaining to immigration, with countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, on the model of the Agreements that the EU has drawn up with African nations. Additionally, Mr. Katrougalos stressed the need for EU member states to adhere to the principle of solidarity, which must constitute a cornerstone of the new Dublin Regulation.
As regards the Eastern Balkans, he expressed Greece’s support for their European perspective, bearing in mind of the conditionality principle and the need for promoting reform, particularly in the areas of the rule of law and the protection of human rights.
Finally, referring to EU trade policy, he argued that there is a need to respect not only European values and the European social model, but also more specific issues of national importance, such as agricultural products with protected designation of origin.