Outgoing Alternate Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis welcomed his successor George Katrougalos at the ministry on Saturday, with a brief overview of his work at the ministry, particularly on the issues of migration, the simplification of visa-issuing and efforts to rally Europe’s progressive forces.
Concerning migration, Xydakis said important work was made through diplomacy to regain the country’s credibility during the refugee crisis. “We did a lot of work, traveling, held many bilateral meetings, gave many battles in all European councils to regain our diplomatic capital. It has been regained. We’re in a different position,” Xydakis said, adding that the new minister will be able to see it and built on it.
On simplifying procedures for a visa, Xydakis said much progress has been made especially with Russian tourists. “We’re champions in Russia and we have the infrastructure and the preparation for our consulates to be declared champions in other countries, which will have an immediate impact on tourism and parallel benefits for the national economy and the extroversion which Greece must show,” he added.
On forming European alliances, the outgoing minister stressed the need to continue work on widening cooperation, noting that Europe is becoming “increasingly hostile and dark” and that he’s not very optimistic about its path. He said the rise of the extreme-right in Europe makes the importance of forging alliances even more urgent.
On his side, Katrougalos said he’s very pleased to be taking over from Xydakis and vowed to continue “his very good work” and intensify efforts to achieve national priorities in foreign policy.