President Prokopis Pavlopoulos noted the need to defend the welfare state by “raising a wall to intercept the extreme inequalities that directly threaten social cohesion”, during a speech at the state dinner he hosted to honour visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday evening.
Pavlopoulos said Greece respects representative Democracy and all its institutions which shield the sovereignty of the people, the democratic authority of Parliament and the independence of the judiciary “from any arbitrary interference by the executive power and any types of globalized economic institutions which are devoid of any democratic legitimacy”.
He noted that Greece continues its path within the European Union and its core, the Eurozone, despite the enormous difficulties suffered by austerity. “And we strive, together with all our partners who share a genuine and selfless European orientation, so that the European project rediscovers the principles and values on which it is founded,” he said.
In his third point, the Greek president said the country responded with dignity to the massive refugee flows which are caused primarily by the war in Syria and the wider region.
On his side, Obama thanked Pavlopoulos and the Greek people for the warm welcome and hospitality, noting: “You will always have the support and the friendship of the United States, as you work to move the country ahead.”
He said the United States are thankful for their alliance with the Greeks adding the two peoples have inspired each other in their respective wars for independence and have stood with solidarity “in times of war and peace, in good times and bad, including the last few years, which I know were extremely difficult for the Greek people.”
According to the protocol, the 130 Greek and American officials who attended the dinner included, apart from Obama and Pavlopoulos, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and several Greek foreign ministry officials.