Greece’s creditors need to meet their commitments in order to agree on specific measures for the Greek debt relief by the end of 2016, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday while addressing the Euromed Summit held in Vravrona, eastern Attica.
Referring to the three challenges (economic, refugee, security), he underlined that what is at stake right now is the cohesion of Europe itself.
On the debt issue, he said that it is not a Greek issue, but a European one, adding that Europe has a strong incentive to clear out immediately the situation over the Greek debt. He explained that 2017 is a critical political year for many European countries, where elections will be held, and noboby would like a discussion on the Greek debt to become a political argument and pre-election tool for the European far-right. Tsipras sounded the alarm bell saying that this is what will happen if the discussion on the debt is postponed to the second half of 2017.
He also expressed the certainty that nobody in Europe would like new turbulences, highlighting the role of Greece as a pole of stability in a fragile region.
Tsipras said that Greece has turned page and left behind the seven years of the recession adding that it is time for the turn to recovery and growth. “Our creditors need to meet their commitments in order to agree on specific measures for the debt relief by the end of 2016,” sending a strong message to investors to meet the criteria of the ECB so that Greece is included in the quantitative easing programme as soon as possible and returns to the markets.
The prime minister explained that this way the economy will gain further memontum to succeed and overcome the estimated high growth rates for 2017. Moreover, it will contribute to the success of the programme, he stated.
What is at stake right now is not only the outcome of a crisis, economic or refugee crisis, but the cohesion of Europe itself, he stressed.
He also said that Europe’s cohesion is judged by its ability to face all the parallel crises with solidarity and effectiveness; economic crisis, refugee crisis and the external and internal security crisis, with the upsurge of terrorism.
Tsipras sent the message that “Europe à la carte, that some of our partners unfortunately support, in reality means “‘non-Europe'”, and stressed that “the common house has also common obligations”, “and not à la carte obligations.”
The prime minister stated that the Euromed countries share common experiences and face common challenges:
a) we have suffered disproportionately from the economic crisis and the austerity policy options, the degradation of work and the deconstruction of the welfare state.
b) we are in the first line of Schengen and experiencing the pressure of migration and refugee flows.
c) we have borders with the destabilized wider region of North Africa and the Middle East. We have all the positive features and all the difficulties that have to do with the fact that we live in a blessed part of the world, which was always an area of tensions and conflicts.
Therefore, he stressed, “we have a common interest to work together in order to promote common initiatives and priorities at European level.”