The President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos received German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Presidential Mansion after the latter laid a wreath at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier on Friday.
The Greek President raised the matter of German war reparations by underlining that Greek claims were legally active and would be settled in international courts.
On her part, Mrs Merkel acknowledged Germany’s historic responsibility in relation to the crimes committed by the National Socialists (Nazis), adding that it was her country’s responsibility to continue to support Greece to the benefit of both nations.
“The European edifice is threatened by populist trends,” Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos said during his speech.
“By supporting Greece, you are supporting Europe,” Pavlopoulos stressed, highlighting the crucial role of the upcoming European elections.
Pavlopoulos said that some misunderstandings regarding Greece’s irreversible decision to remain in the EU have been cleared up since 2016. “Since then, we have followed the European course, making many sacrifices, even for mistakes that could not be attributed to us. Germany and you yourself have backed Greece and its effort to exit the memoranda. What you did was good for Germany and strengthened your own leading European profile.” Even now, by supporting Greece, Pavlopoulos said, “you are supporting EU cohesion.”
Pavlopoulos spoke of the need to counter populism by making changes in three pillars of the EU edifice, namely:
– Strengthening the pillar of foreign and security policy, where he highlighted the principle of solidarity
– Supporting the eurozone
– Strengthening the welfare state.
The German Chancellor said that Greek-German relations have developed and there is great interest in Greece not only remaining but also being a strong member of the EU.
“We are glad that Greece has completed the programmes and started a new phase that we will support at an economic level. We hope that economic growth will have an impact on all citizens. We will face the challenges of Europe together,” Merkel noted.