Citing the emblematic phrase by the 20th century statesman Konstantinos Karamanlis that Greece “belongs to the West,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Tuesday defended Greece’s decision to stand by Ukraine along with its Western allies in the name of “democracy and freedom.”
“The attitude of our country in this crisis is a product of our own historical experiences, but it is also a product of our geopolitical choices. Because we have always been on the right side of history and we are doing the same now,” he told Parliament.
“For Greece there are no dilemmas: We are on the side of Ukraine, freedom and democracy,” he stressed.
“Konstantinos Karamanlis had said from this podium that ‘we belong to the West,’ and I would add, we are also the West and we belong to freedom, to democracy, to international legitimacy,” he said, while noting that Greece’s dispatch of military aid to Ukraine, as the whole West did, was also dictated by national interest. More specifically, he said that if Greece does not show practical solidarity to a country that is under armed attack from an enemy of democracy and freedom today, with what moral standing would it be able to ask for solidarity from the Western world if it needs it in the future? Main opposition SYRIZA has questioned Greece’s dispatch of defense aid to Ukraine given the “danger” this could entail.
The problem, he said, that arose with the war in Ukraine is primarily a European one, emphasizing that Europe “is dynamically returning” to the global geopolitical stage.
He also called for more defense cooperation among EU countries.
In the same context he again raised the issue of including in the discussion of the next Stability Pact Europe the exclusion of defense spending from the budgets of countries that are forced to do so.
Regarding energy, Mitsotakis called on the EU to support member-states and businesses against a further rise in energy costs. Greece imports 40% of its gas supplies from Russia.
Greece, he assured, has prepared for a “worst-case scenario where gas supplies from Russia are halted” as its liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility near Athens has been recently replenished.
“We cannot rule out attempts by Russia to blackmail. We all realize this… will disrupt global supplies and probably trigger a further rise in [energy] prices,” said Mitsotakis.