The process of voting for the next European Commission president and the planning of the new multi-annual financial framework for the years following 2020, both discussed today at the informal EU summit meeting in Brussels on Friday, are very important for the future of Europe, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said following the meeting.
During a press conference, Tsipras said member states need to think of the kind of Europe they want, and of the participation of the peoples of Europe in its governance.
The discussion about the next multiannual European financial network post-2020 relates to the strength of the European Union itself, and to its social extent, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, following the EU leaders summit in Brussels.
There cannot be a strong EU and social cohesion with a budget that is constantly shrinking, he said, calling for the use of the bloc’s future budget as a tool of redistribution. With Brexit, he pointed out, lost revenues should be replaced by taxing wealth rather than tax payers.
In terms of Turkey, the Greek PM said he and Cyprus Republic President Nicos Anastasiades had briefed European partners on Turkey’s provocative actions in the Cyprus EEZ and the Aegean, including “the recent unacceptable and extremely dangerous incident at (the) Imia (islet), and the overall rising transgressive behaviour by air and sea during the past year.”
The EU, he said, should send Turkey a clear message that “EU-Turkish relations cannot move forward when member-states’ sovereign rights are violated.” Turkey and Greece can collaborate on several sectors in the future only if Turkey respects international law in the Aegean and the East Mediterranean, Tsipras stressed.
The Greek PM also noted he and Anastasiades had received substantial support from the EU, and referred to the European Council President Donald Tusk’s expression of solidarity to both countries, during a press conference following the summit.
“In the near future, Ankara must take into serious account the fact that Greece is a member state of the EU, and of NATO – of which Turkey is also a member – therefore the policy of provocation leads nowhere, and undermines Turkey itself,” Tsipras said.
Greece will continue to “keep the doors of dialogue open, but it must be clearly understood there are also limits to that.”
FYROM name issue
Greece “is in no hurry” to resolve the issue, Tsipras said following the informal EU summit meeting, adding that was “a Greek initiative to resolve an issue that burdens Greece’s foreign policy, especially when the country has to deal with real threats.”
A viable solution must be found that is based on solid foundations, the premier said, and this is the reason he initiated contact with FYROM prime minister Zoran Zaev at the World Economic Forum in Davos recently, to initiate that dialogue.
Resolving the name issue is a lot more urgent for FYROM and its European future, Tsipras noted. “For us it would be a positive development, but for FYROM (becoming an EU member) would be of vital importance,” and its European prospects “do not go through Ankara, they go through Athens; our neighbours must understand that,” he stressed.
When a solution to the name issue nears, he said to a question by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), the government will decided how to brief Greek political leaders and “allow the expression of views in all institutionally provided ways, which, at the end of the day, will be set on record in Parliament.”