In the face of the criticism received by Greece from Germany and France over its lax entry policy for arrivals from non-European countries where the new Delta variant is proliferating, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted on Friday that the assessment of experts is that, by the end of August, this mutation will be the predominant one across Europe and the answer to this is to speed up vaccinations.
“My personal assessment – which I believe is shared by the majority of the European Council – is that there is no need to impose additional restrictions on travel from countries where this mutation already exists and its spread is more pronounced,” he told journalists at the end of Friday’s EU Summit.
“There is an answer to the question of variants – and in particular the Delta variants – and that is to speed up the vaccination process,” he said.
Referring to reports in Greece of criticism by Chancellor Angela Merkel over the acceptance of the Sputnik V vaccine, Mitsotakis dismissed them as “journalistic exaggerations.” He nonetheless admitted that the issue was raised. At the same time, he insisted that “there is by no means a majority in the European Council that wants to impose additional restrictions in view of the summer to deal with the Delta variant neither in third countries, nor within the Union.”
Mitsotakis also stated that the summit conclusions fully satisfy the Greek positions on Turkey. With regard to cooperation with Ankara on refugees, Mitsotakis said this will be done on “two basic conditions” – firstly that they are not weaponized for political purposes and secondly on Turkish goodwill, including accepting the return of 1,450 migrants currently on Greek islands and whose applications have been rejected.
As for the Cyprus issue, he stated that Greece has reiterated that it does not accept a two-state solution.