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Home arrow Current Affairs arrow Top Story arrow Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participates in a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council (Brussels, 16 September 2019)

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participates in a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council (Brussels, 16 September 2019)

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participates in a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council (Brussels, 16 September 2019)Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participated in today’s meeting of the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels. The main topic was preparation for the European Council on 17-18 October. There was extensive debate of the new Multiannual Financial Framework and strengthening of respect for the Rule of Law in the Union.

In his remarks, Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that Greece supports Cyprus’s request to include the issue of Turkey’s provocations and the escalation of its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean to the agenda for the next European Council meeting, so that the issues can be discussed on the level of heads of state.

Regarding the Union’s enlargement policy, the Alternate Minister underscored that Greece supports the accession perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans, providing there is compliance with the principles conditionality and of own performance. With regard to Albania, Greece supports its European perspective on the condition that the country fulfil the five key priorities set by the EU. At the same time, however, he stressed that Greece attaches great importance to the rights of the Greek national minority in Albania, and in particular their property rights. He made special reference to the Prespa Agreement, stressing that necessary conditions for Greece’s support for its northern neighbour’s accession perspective include direct fulfilment of the obligations deriving from the signing of the Agreement and concerning compliance with the constitutional amendments that have been passed, complete abandonment of any element of irredentism, and compliance with the principles of the Rule of Law.

Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that the new Multiannual Financial Framework will be discussed extensively at the upcoming European Council meeting and highlighted the important role the traditional European Cohesion policies and the Common Agricultural Policy have always played in Greece’s development. “In spite of the difficulties they experienced during the crisis, the citizens of Greece opted for their country to remain at the hard core of the EU. In this context, our country, which lost 25% of its GDP during the crisis, was treated unfairly with regard to the allotment of funds in the current MFF 2014-2020, and for this reason, today we are asking for a significant increase for the period 2021-2027,” he stressed. “The Common Agricultural Policy, apart from being a financing tool, is also a vehicle for getting the farming population of Europe – and of Greece – to continue to live in rural areas. As such, we are fighting to at least keep the CAP funds at the current levels,” he added. Finally, the Alternate Minister underscored that Greece is no longer asking the EU for financial assistance, but investments that will jump-start growth in our country.

Following the proceedings of the General Affairs Council, Mr. Varvitsiotis made the following statement:

“In the preparations for the next European Council meeting, a number of issues of great concern to Greece are on the agenda. The first is enlargement towards the countries of the Western Balkans, and on this we made it urgently clear that our neighbours must respect the Rule of Law, the rules of good neighbourly relations and, of course, honour the Agreements they have signed, such as the Prespa Agreement. We raised the issue of Turkey’s provocative conduct with regard to the violation of the sovereignty of Cyprus and the threats being made to our country concerning the refugee issue. And of course, we raised the framework within which Greece is pursuing a share of growth, of European growth, in the next Multiannual Financial Framework. Greece is no longer a country asking for help. What it is asking for is the right and the opportunity to develop so that it can achieve the growth rates and standard of living it had before the crisis.”

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