Greece defends international law and is entitled to the solidarity of the European Union (EU), said the former President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering, answering a question about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the policy pursued by the Turkey in the region causing tensions.
Speaking at an online event organized by the Jean Monnet Center for Excellence “Visualizing, Analyzing and Learning about EU Studies”, based at the University of Peloponnese, the Center for International & European Political Economy & Governance and the Wilfried Martens Center for European Studies, on “The The future of Europe “, the former President of the European Parliament characteristically stated that” the most important thing is for the northern countries in the EU to understand that the problems you have in the Eastern Mediterranean are also our problems. “And the problems we have in the east, with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, are also problems of Greece.”
“Greece, as an EU member state, deserves all solidarity when it has problems with neighboring countries, such as Turkey. Turkey is a member of NATO but it is not a member of the EU and we must insist on our relationship with your neighbor that we must act in accordance with international law. “Greece is also defending international law and you deserve our solidarity,” said Hans-Gert Petering.
“If there is a violation of international law, we must say so and we must make it clear to all those who violate international law. There must be an answer. “Greece deserves the solidarity of the whole EU and if there is a breach of its territory or an air breach, we must make it clear to anyone that this will not be accepted by the EU and that we as the EU will always be on the side of our Greek partners.” stressed, however, noting that he is in favor of a clean dialogue to resolve the problems.
The solution for immigration based on European solidarity
With regard to refugee-immigration, the former President of the European Parliament stressed that this is an issue “that we must resolve together on the basis of our European solidarity” and in this context stressed that “the issue of immigration in Greece is not “It is an issue that concerns only Greece but an issue that concerns all EU countries. And I think that is a matter of solidarity, not to leave you alone, nor the Poles or anyone else.”
“We have to make sure that we give asylum to those people who are threatened by dictatorships in their countries and want to defend themselves, to people who are leaving the war,” Hans-Gert Petering said. “We can solve Africa’s problems in the EU, so we need to differentiate and make our external borders more secure, and Greece belongs to those countries where we have external borders.”
“In 2015, about one million people came to Germany and were more or less welcomed. I think we need to realize that this can not happen again. What we need to do is secure our external borders but at the same time work with those countries where these people come from. We need close cooperation with North Africa and, of course, with Turkey on the issue of immigration, in order to stop traffickers. “And we can only do that together,” he said, noting that although a combination of measures and an integrated management system is needed, progress has been made.
Regarding Afghanistan and the situation in the region on the occasion of the return of the Taliban to power, Mr. Petering commented: “I would give aid to Afghanistan only if this aid reached the people and if the Taliban followed certain principles. It is very difficult to find balance but I would only do it on the basis of conditions “.
The economic measures for the pandemic are in the right direction, but the money must be returned
Regarding the pandemic and its impact management, Mr. Petering, after pointing out that while at the beginning there was an attempt to solve the problem at the national level, “very soon we fortunately realized that we should solve these problems together.” and finally “if we compare the EU (in how it handled the crisis) with other parts of the world, such as the US, Russia, China and elsewhere, we were quite successful and we should be proud of that.” .
Regarding the European mechanism of recovery and resilience, the former President of the European Parliament noted that “it was in the right direction but the money should be returned (then)”, expressing the view that the EU should have its own resources.
Useful dialogue on the future of Europe – It should be ongoing
The former President of the European Parliament expressed his admiration for Greece, the country where, as he underlined, all the great philosophers come from and described as very important the principle of solidarity “that unites us and we hope to give us strength, ability and the courage to solve the problems and challenges we face together. “
He described it as very useful for the dialogue to be developed through the Conference on the Future of Europe, but emphasized that we must always discuss within the EU the common values of our countries – the dignity of every human being, democracy , freedom, the rule of law and peace, which also mark our common path.