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Foreign Minister Kotzias’ statements following his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn (Athens, 15 May 2015)

Friday, 15 May 2015

N. KOTZIAS: Good morning. I welcome the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg. I am pleased that we have here with us a friend, first of all, of mine and of Greece, the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, with whom we talk frequently in the European Union, when we meet, and he was the person who welcomed me with a heartfelt embrace at my first meeting of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers.

The Minister and I have had long and important discussions in the past, but especially today, during the one-on-one meeting and the meeting we had with our delegations, and we will continue at our working luncheon. These talks are very important because, as you know, Luxembourg is the heart of Europe. We are the history of Europe, as we abducted her from Libya, once upon a time, through the god Zeus.

And these talks are important because this friendly country is assuming the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union. And the Minister was kind enough to brief us on the priorities of Luxembourg’s Presidency.

Europe is facing a major crisis at this time. It has to look at new issues, like the surge of migrants, the destabilization of our region, and I believe Europe will be in very good hands during the next semester. And I say this because Luxembourg has always been, throughout our presence in the European Union, a firm friend and supporter of Greece’s needs and positions.

As you know, Luxembourg’s priorities, like the priorities of the President of the Commission, Mr. Juncker, who was the prime minister of Luxembourg, include the plans for major investments aimed at helping to resolve the employment problem.

We share a common outlook with Luxembourg: That Europe, if it is to survive, needs to have cohesiveness and strong social mechanisms for protection and development of identity, people and society. We agree with the plans of the Luxembourg Presidency for strengthening the social state, for a proper system for receiving and allotting refugees and illegal immigrants.

Finally, I briefed my friend the Minister on my recent meetings in Turkey – in Istanbul and Ankara, because we were together in Antalya.

I briefed him regarding the Cyprus issue, under the new conditions in which the talks are reopening. Regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. And also regarding a number of initiatives we are taking as the Foreign Ministry – and I, personally, as the Foreign Minister – on the international stage.

Both countries support the Euroatlantic perspectives of the Western Balkans, provided these countries meet the requirements of democracy and the Copenhagen criteria.

The Minister and I discussed Ukraine, Syria and Libya, but above all we support the friendship of our two states and our personal relationship through our common interests, common concerns.

Once again, Jean, welcome.