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Deputy Foreign Minister I. Amanatidis' interview on Alpha Radio

Thursday, 11 May 2017

I. AMANATIDIS: "It isn't a virtual success story. It is a true recovery of the Greek economy."

In an interview with journalists Evangelia Tsikrika and Lora Ioannou, on Alpha 989 radio, Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis talked about the government's roadmap for exiting the crisis.

Mr. Amanatidis referred to the Eurogroup Working Group meeting of 15 May 2017, at which there is to be a discussion of the mid-term measures for the Greek debt, in the government's effort to get the country into the qualitative easing programme, as well as of the European Commission decision on ending the excessive deficit procedure against Greece, stressing that

"these are indications that we have entered real economic dimensions, another era. It isn't a virtual success story. It is a real picture of the recovery of the Greek economy."

Asked to comment on Prime Minister Tsipras' trip to China, Mr. Amanatidis stressed that "this trip the Prime Minister is taking is part of a vast effort the government is making so that the Greek economy can move on – and it is moving on – to the phase of growth. In other words, this trip will help the Greek economy's effort towards recovery as it enters into a period of growth in the way we want it to, so that we can use growth to heal the social wounds suffered over these past years.

He also made the reminder, following the Foreign Ministry's Ancient Civilizations Forum, that "2017 is a Year of Culture between Greece and China, and we are also expecting positive results at the Thessaloniki International Fair."

Asked about Greek-Turkish relations and referring to statements from top Turkish officials, Mr. Amanatidis noted that "yesterday there was a statement from the Turkish Prime Minister, that Turkey wants to continue our good relationship and move ahead with the European Union. There was a similar statement from the Turkish European Affairs Minister in Brussels. I see concern in Turkey, and, due to domestic considerations in Turkey, I don't think the aggressive scenarios can be realised all that much."

Responding to the same question, he added that "Rhetoric is another thing. In each case we respond. Nothing goes unanswered by our political leadership, whether the response comes from the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister. We want to strengthen Turkey's European course. But certain fundamental international rules, the European acquis – which exists – the rules of Democracy have to be satisfied. It is in Turkey's interest to move towards the EU."

The Deputy Foreign Minister announced that "at the next meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy (NCFP) – while we're on the subject of Turkey – we will be looking at Greek-Turkish and Turkish-EU relations," and he concluded by highlighting that "this is very important, because, beyond briefing the political parties, a national strategy is being charted, as was the case yesterday regarding the framework of our energy policy. There was agreement that this is very important, because it strengthens our country. I believe we will have the same approach at the next meeting of the NCFP, which will look at Greek-Turkish relations. Overall, it is good for our country that, on foreign policy issues – in spite of any internal differences of opinion – a national strategy has now been shaped on everything we are discussing, which greatly increase our country's strength."