Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday called for an end to austerity and for policies that focus on supporting social institutions, warning that “inequalities give rise to entities and bodies that seek to destroy the European Union,” during a meeting in Athens with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steimeier.
Welcoming Steinmeier to the Presidential Mansion after the German official had laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Pavlopoulos went on to hail the “excellent bilateral relations” between Greece and Germany, saying that the visit comes as “Greece is making a new start.”
Pavlopoulos also thanked Steinmeier for his “important contribution” in negotiations with creditors during the bailout years, saying that the mistakes of the memorandum policies cannot be attributed to the Greek people.
On the issue of Turkish relations, Pavlopoulos said that Greece does not want to stand in the way of Turkey's European aspirations, but stressed that the neighboring country needs to respect international laws and agreements like the Treaty of Lausanne, which “leave no gray areas or room for review.”
Steinmeier for his part admitted that there is room for improvement in Greek-German relations following tensions over bailout negotiations, while also expressing his “joy that Greece has taken so many steps towards economic stability.”
“I would be extremely happy if others shared Greece's determination for reforms,” the German president said, adding on the issue of the upcoming European parliamentary elections this spring that many of Europe's problems can be overcome by “persuasion.”
Steimeier also expressed his condolences over the deadly wildfires in eastern Attica in July.