Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in an address to his New Democracy MPs stressed the need to bolster «national self confidence» which he said has characterised the country’s response to severe challenges from the COVID-19 epidemic to foreign affairs.
Mitsotakis offered his views on Greek-Turkish relations and stressed the need for the exploratory talks.
He reiterate that Greece welcomes «this resumption of talks after many years because of the security [guararntees] provided by international law and the safety provided by our defence, well versed in our arguments on the sole issue that essentially causes great tensions in our relationship with the neighbouring country, the delimitation of the maritime zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, but also with hopes that are grounded in reality and without delusions that will fall into the void,» he said.
There are widespread reservations about the prospect o progress in Greek-Turkish talks as Ankara is stressing that the agenda must include a number of claims that Athens has steadfastly rejection including sovreignty over rock islands in the Aegean and demilitarisastion of many Greek islands.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavisoglu has threatened that if Athens continues to reject Ankara’s agenda Ankara has other ways to pursue its agenda, a thinly veiled reference to military force.
In a bid to rally his ministers, MPs and party behind difficult reform programme the PM said that he is pleased with the productivity of the government and the parliamentary group in 2020 «not only becasue of the number of the bills passed but also with the way that parliament and especiallyhis parliamentary group functioned.
In the run-up to the recent cabinet reshuffle pundits and the media criticised government foot dragging in implementing necessary reforms that are an integral part of New Democracy’s platform.
They have also stressed the need for planning and organisation for using critical EU Pandemic recovery funds to effect a sweepin reform programme that can restructure the economy to meet new challenges.
The prime minister described hisgovernment’s efforts to address the pandemic as a success story.
Amidst widespread concerns and reservations about the lossening of restrictive public health measures as of tomorrow, Mitsotakis argue that the good epidemiological data of the last weeks allowed the reopening of retail stores on Monday.
Mitsotakis also expressed optimism over the pace of the vaccination rollout, noting that over 80,000 Greeks have been already vaccinated against COVID-19 and that second round of the vaccination with the second dose of the vaccine, started today.
The PM and President Katerina Sakellaropoulou received their second jab today and the vaccination of many high-profile individuals including bishops is intended to dispel reservation among a significant minority of the citizenry.
«I want to repeat that Greece is ready to significantly increase the number of vaccinations but we are still depending on the number of vaccine doses we receive from the companies via negotiation we have done with the European Union and obviously the more vaccines we receive the faster we can proceed with the vaccinations,» he underlined.
Finally, he announced that Yannis Bougas was unanimously elected as the new secretary of ND’s parliamentary group.