Greece will fully respect fully its commitments both concerning its economic adjustment program and the refugee crisis, but then the country’s partners must keep their promise and discuss debt relief, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Monday after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
“Greece will fully meet its obligations and our partners must also fulfill their own obligations. Following the [program] review, which should be finished as soon as possible to avoid a problem with the seemingly positive growth prospects of the Greek economy, it is necessary to immediately start talks on the Greek debt – not for a haircut, as it is not possible by European law, but other methods, which will lead to relief and have been accepted by our partners,” he said.
Regarding the refugee crisis, the President described it as an “existential matter” of Europe. “All the peoples of Europe have to fulfill their debt towards genuine refugees without phobias and of course will have to work to end the war in Syria, which is the root of this evil,” he noted.
Concerning the guarding of EU’s external borders, he recognized the need for collaboration with EU countries and Frontex, but ruled out joint Greek and Turkish patrols.
Focusing on Turkey, Pavlopoulos said the country needs to live up to its commitment to control the flow of refugees and especially economic migrants who leave from Turkey, “often with the cooperation of the Turkish authorities”. He also noted the need to reactivate the readmission agreements.
Regarding the threat of terrorism, he said that Europe must be ruthless with terrorists who commit war crimes and must not show any tolerance, but urged people to distinguish between terrorists and refugees.
Closing his speech, Pavlopoulos hailed Merkel’s role in the refugee crisis.
In an official luncheon hosted by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck earlier in the day, Pavlopoulos stressed the importance of Greece’s creditors proceeding with the necessary corrections, “especially as regards the sustainability of the public debt and the austerity policy.”
“The Greek people will meet their commitments in order to remain in the European family,” Pavlopoulos underlined and added: “Then it’s our partners turn to proceed to the necessary corrections. Especially as regards the sustainability of Greece’s public debt and the so far, extremely dubious, austerity policy.”
“Greece cannot even imagine its future without its European perspective, but the EE cannot either exist without Greece being an integral part of it,” Pavlopoulos stressed.
Referring to the “unprecedented” crisis that the Greek people are facing, he asked its European partners to take into account the unprecedented crisis that tests the Greek people and to try to establish some mutual understanding despite some initial mistakes, obsessions and misconceptions.