Sxoinas: Greece benefitted greatly from its accession to a united Europe 40 yrs ago,

The coronavirus crisis, the massive vaccination plan in Europe and the Recovery Fund prove the wisdom of Greece’s joining United Europe 40 years ago, European Commission Vice-President for Promoting Our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas said at the European Commission Representation in Athens on Thursday.

Schinas addressed an event at the National Museum of Contemporary Art to present a Hellenic Post stamp for Greece’s 40th anniversary since joining the union in 1979 under Constantine Karamanlis, who had “a lonely path believing in, organizing and achieving essentially by himself the feat of Greece’s accession.”

Reflecting on the country’s progress in the EU, Schinas said the bloc’s “colossal funding” to Greece allowed it to “upgrade infrastructure, health and education, and rural Greece to rise to new heights.”

Greece has embraced the initiative of the Conference on the Future of Europe, a citizen-led series of debates and discussions, slated to open on May 9, the commissioner said, stressing the value of public participation. He also did not hesitate to point out chronic faults that Greek leaders should learn from, including “the syndrome of ‘Leave it for later’ and the nationalistic adoption of European successes along with blaming the EU for any mistakes.”

The country remains an important participant in Europe, the largest internal market in the world, he stressed, while he appealed to the younger generation in particular “to love, care for and take care of our joint home” of Europe for a better future.

Schinas is visiting Greece from May 6 (Thursday) to May 11 (Tuesday).