Refugee issue and economic crisis discussed at ND leader’s meeting with Italian president

Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday met Italian President Sergio Mattarella, currently in Athens on a two-day visit. During the meeting, both sides noted their shared concerns over the handling of the refugee and economic crises, while highlighting the dangers from rising populist and eurosceptic trends in Europe.

They also reaffirmed the good relations between Greece and Italy and the excellent level of cooperation between them on a bilateral and multilateral level.

Mattarella and Mitsotakis both agreed that a broader political consensus was needed for a realistic and responsible handling of the major challenges now facing European unification, with emphasis on promoting the reforms needed to boost growth and employment.

They also noted the need to ensure implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement for the migration crisis and to keep channels of communication between the EU and Turkey open, in order to help Turkey follow the path that will bring it closer to European values and principles.

Mitsotakis expressed concern over developments relating to human rights and the rule of law in Turkey, saying that Ankara must respect international law and international treaties. Greece, he added, remains a pillar of stability in a region that is becoming increasing unstable.

He also briefed the Italian president on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue and Greece’s steadfast support for the prospect of a functional and viable solution, without occupation troops and outdated guarantee regimes.

Mattarella noted that a solution of the Cyprus issue would be a historic development in the region, which would globally broadcast a good and positive signal at an especially difficult time for the world.