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Interview: Foreign Minister Droutsas on REAL FM with journalist N. Hatzinikolaou

Friday, 04 February 2011

Journalist: We have Foreign Minister Droutsas on the line. Good morning, Mr. Droutsas.

Mr. Droutsas: Good morning Mr. Hatzinikolaou. Good morning from Brussels.

Journalist: How is the Meeting going? What do you expect? What will the result be?

Mr. Droutsas:
Look, the Meeting just began. The heads of state and government have gathered. There are two major issues on the official agenda. I think a lot of people don’t know this – that the foremost reason for convening this European Council was for a discussion of EU energy policy. But, as always, events and developments are impacting the agenda, like economic developments. But as you can see, there will be a serious discussion among the leaders of critical issues, I would say, in Egypt and the Middle East region.

Journalist: Do you think there can be a unified EU line on Egypt?

Mr. Droutsas:
Look, there has already been a unified line since the last Council of Foreign Ministers, when there was a thorough discussion and the results were produced: the European Union’s common position. But that was this past Monday evening. There have been further developments since then, and we are expecting new developments today. The situation is still very fluid in Egypt, so we have to monitor all the developments very closely. And let me say that we – Greece – are monitoring developments with extreme interest because it’s our neighbourhood; it impacts us directly; it impact our country’s security, our economy. And it also impacts the very sensitive sector of migration. So, as Greece, we …

: We are extremely interested.

Mr. Droutsas: We have intense interest in seeing an immediate return, if you will, to stability and normalcy in Egypt – not just for Greece, but for the whole region, because Egypt is one of the most important countries in the Middle East, and developments in Egypt determine to a great extent developments throughout our region.

Journalist: Right. Regarding the economy, the Berlin doctrine? Is the Merkel doctrine coming? That is what all the Greek newspapers say today.

Mr. Droutsas:
It is well known that Berlin – Ms. Merkel – has expressed some views, certain proposals. We are now talking about a comprehensive package. That is the term used by Ms. Merkel, but I would like us also to see this from a positive angle. In what sense? That we need a credible mechanism for Europe. This credible mechanism for Europe is important to Greece. It will help us to emerge even faster from the difficult position we are in today. I think that if we look a little at the development of the debate in the European Union and, if you will, the development of the stance of the German Chancellor herself, of Ms. Merkel, we see what Greece said from the outset: that it is a crisis that bears directly on the whole of Europe, the euro; that Europe as a whole needs to come out with a credible solution, a credible mechanism that will convince international markets that this approach was the only correct approach. And we see that step by step we are moving in that direction.

Mr. Minister, might we have the first indications of this solution today, or will we wait till the March Council?

Mr. Droutsas
: I don’t think we will have any details today. That isn’t the purpose of today’s European Council.

Journalist: So we will have a picture in March.

Mr. Droutsas: The thinking is that which has already been discussed: that in March – you know that on 24 and 25 March we will have the scheduled European Council. The planning always goes in that direction: that we have the final decisions and the final package at that European Council. It is still premature, because, of course, many details still have to be discussed among the member states. But, Mr. Hatzinikolaou, I want to be serious and credible: one cannot, of course, rule out other kinds of developments as well by 24-25 March – even an Emergency European Council, if you will, if the conditions are ripe by then. But let me stress once again that the planning is for the final decisions, the final package, the final mechanism with all the details to be ready for the 24-25 March European Council.

Journalist: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. Good day.

Mr. Droutsas:
And I thank you, Mr. Hatzinikolaou. Greetings from Brussels.