PM Tsipras: There are no gray zones in the Aegean

There are no grey zones in the Aegean and Greece is determined to defend European law and its sovereign rights, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, on the sidelines of an informal EU summit in Malta.

“I want to be clear: there are no gray zones in the Aegean. What exists is Greece’s firm determination to defend European and international law and its sovereign rights, as well as its determination to deal collectedly with the problems that arise, always relying on dialogue and cooperation and not on sensational actions,” he said. “And let’s not forget that Greek borders are European borders.”

Tsipras also said Greece is observing an increased provocation and military activity in the Aegean on Turkey’s side. “This road doesn’t lead anywhere. Greece was, is and will continue to be determined to defend its sovereign rights in the context of European and international law which is being violated from the other side,” he added.

Commenting on the summit talks over the EU’s future, Tsipras said Europe must manage the shock brought about by the Brexit vote, the change of foreign policy in the U.S. and its possible change of stance regarding the NATO alliance, on top of the ongoing refugee, economic and security crisis.

“Europe must manage these challenges with determination. If it continues in the same course, it is certain it will face multiple problems. Europe cannot produce more crises that it can absorb. It cannot continue with austerity programs that destroy peoples and bring them into full emotional contrast to their leaders and to Europe, as a concept and a vision,” he said, adding that the summit in Rome on March 25 will be an opportunity to redefine Europe’s path and change course.

“However I’m not optimistic that this can happen quickly. We are facing crucial elections in Europe which will determine its course and I think these developments and the challenges I described could be either the occasion for a new course […] or could lead to very crucial dilemmas in the following period,” he said.