The Prespes Agreement was an important European success, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, during leader statements at the fifth Southern EU Countries (MED7) Summit taking place in Nicosia. The summit, which is happening in Cyprus for the first time, is attended by the presidents and prime ministers of Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus.
Tsipras said that the meeting of the seven leaders is of great significance, as it sends the message that the countries of the south remain united and determined to defend Europe’s fundamental values and international law, as well as the prospect of European integration, and shows their willingness to play a crucial part in developments in Europe and the periphery.
Talking about migration, he said that “it is necessary for Europe to establish a robust common asylum system, on the basis of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, in order to deal effectively with immigration and the refugee crisis,” and added that, in that sense, revising the Dublin Regulation is a high priority.
He then referred to his upcoming meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Tuesday, saying that he intends to convey to him that all 7 leaders present at the Summit agreed on the fact that Turkey’s relations with each individual country and with the EU as whole need to be anchored on mutual respect as well as respect of the international law.
In this context, he continued, “we support a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, based on UN decisions and the European acquis.”
Furthermore, he stressed that any profits from the exploitation of natural resources within Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be to the “benefit of all the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike”.
Finally, Tsipras stated that “the message we send here today is one of joining forces in the direction of finding common European solutions,” and concluded by envisaging a “Europe that is more efficient, democratic, and social and which will be able to play a key role in the international arena, as a pillar of peace and stability.”