Kyriakos Mitsotakis – Greek PM: Reducing our dependence on Russian oil and gas

The hope that Russia will not use chemical weapons in Ukraine, was expressed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis when asked about it, upon his arrival at the NATO Summit in Brussels. He added: “But this does not mean that we should not be prepared for this eventuality. What is important is that we will send a very clear message today that our Alliance is fully united on the issue of supporting Ukraine in this struggle for its existence. And I also think it is very important that many Member States of the European Union have realized, as a result of this crisis, that Europe needs to increase its geopolitical footprint and its defense spending. Greece is a country that has been spending more than 2% of its GDP on defense for a long time. European strategic autonomy is fully complementary to the Alliance. And I expect that this strong relationship will take concrete form at the Madrid Summit in June.”

Beware of sanctions

Asked to comment on the gas sanctions, the prime minister stressed that we must be very careful to ensure that any measures we take do not end up being more painful for European citizens than for Russia. “I believe that the package of sanctions that we have imposed is strong. “I believe that now we need to focus on avoiding ‘leaks’ in the implementation of sanctions, that all countries that are members of this alliance are involved in sanctions.”

He added that when it comes to Europe, what we need to do is act as quickly as possible to reduce our dependence on Russian oil and gas.

Coordinated action

“This is the decision we made in Versailles. And, of course, we must ensure that we use Europe’s collective power in the markets to reduce gas prices.Because the real problem we are facing now in Europe is the link between very high gas prices and very high electricity prices.”

A blow to growth

He stressed that this issue will be discussed at the European Council this afternoon. The Prime Minister said that Greece has made very specific proposals regarding the use of the collective power we have in the market to lower gas prices, because we must ensure that our citizens, our businesses, will not face disproportionate costs from the application of these sanctions.

Finally, referring to the possibility of recession, Mr. Mitsotakis said that the war in Ukraine will definitely affect development. “And this is the price we will pay to resist aggressive behavior. No, I do not think a recession is possible. But – I repeat – it is up to us, especially in European countries, to be creative, to think of solutions outside the ordinary framework, in order to put a limit on the increase in gas prices, which is currently causing really great damage throughout Europe. ” concluded.