Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrived in Brussels on Thursday afternoon to take part in the work of the extraordinary European Council on the 2021-2027 European Union Multiannual Financial Framework.
Speaking at the Extraordinary Summit, the Greek Prime Minister said: “Today’s negotiation is crucial for Europe’s future. We are here to discuss the size of the European budget for the next six years. One thing is for sure; we cannot do more with less. That is why, if we want to set ambitious goals, as we have, we must also have the corresponding resources to be able to achieve them”.
Regarding Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out that he was heading to this negotiation process with a clear national line: “We want to safeguard our farmers’ incomes as much as possible, but also to help them make the transition in a way that is more environmentally friendly”.
He further stressed that Greece was seeking more development funds, which meant a “larger NSRF, so that we can further support the strong growth we have already been witnessing in the Greek economy, create more and better-paid jobs, and especially in the rural areas”.
“We are claiming resources that will enable us to make a fair transition to a low-emissions economy. We also demand solidarity through actions, not just words, when it comes to addressing the refugee/migration issue and in guarding the border, since the Greek borders are also European borders”, he continued.
“It will be a complicated debate”, the Greek Prime Minister added. “My position has been clear from the very beginning. No one can expect us to do more with less. We need a larger file if we are to support all together traditional policies, such as Cohesion and the Common Agricultural Policy, while also being more ambitious about policies related to climate change and border management.
Therefore, I expect a complicated and difficult debate but at some point we all need to agree on the level of ambition. If we are to be very ambitious, we need more resources”.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his belief that it would be a difficult and lengthy negotiation, but said he was “cautiously optimistic that we could find a solution that is mutually acceptable”.
Asked if Greece receives more money for refugees, the Greek Prime Minister responded that “Unfortunately, the total resources available for refugee and border guarding in relation to the original proposals are scarce. This is a mistake. It is a mistake because we cannot at the same time claim that we have Europe which protects its citizens while not having the resources necessary to provide even more financial support for the countries that are at the forefront, and to support Frontex, which is the European border guard force. In any case, the resources that the country will receive for these issues will be increased compared to the previous programming period”.