The Europeans need to find the solutions to their biggest problems themselves or the American and Chinese will, the European Commission’s newly appointed Greek vice president told an event in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday.
Speaking at the 60th anniversary event of the German School of Thessaloniki’s Alumni Society, of which he is a member, Schinas stressed that no European Union member state, regardless of how big or small it is, can deal with the major challenges of our times alone, saying that they require “comprehensive and cohesive” solutions.
Schinas, who prior to his appointment as vice-president was chief spokesman of the Commission, described the signing of Greece’s accession treaty to the European Communities in 1979 as a watershed moment that determined the course of his life.
“I watched the signing ceremony on the black-and-white television of my home at the age of 17 and turned to the people around me said that this is what I was going to do; I was going to work for Europe. I felt it like a calling for my generation. And this is bigger than the aims of any professional career,” he told students and fellow graduates at the school.
Addressing the younger members of the audience, Schinas said that the challenge for school pupils today is to lead Greece’s transition to a greener economy and a more digital, open-minded society.