Greece has been on front line of every EU crisis: German FM

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The German Foreign minister has acknowledged something that many Germans he claims have yet to grasp, namely that every recent European crisis has affected Greece.

Inaugurating the exhibition  “Divided Memories 1940-1950″ at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier acknowledged that Greece has been on the front line of every European crisis and threat.

“Threats gather here in your country. There is no European crisis in recent years that has not directly affected Greece. In my country, it often seems to me, they have not understood this yet,” he said.

Steinmeier listed the financial crisis, the refugee crisis and the EU’s relations with Turkey, while he criticised the “carelessness” of some German opinions concerning Greece, especially those talking about a Greek exit from the common currency or Schengen zone.

“On the contrary, I would hope that other European partners supported the European enterprise as steadfastly as you do here in Greece,” he noted.

“In Greece I see a partner that is prepared to take on responsibility. A specific and very timely example is the solution of the Cyprus issue. There appears to be an opportunity here for historic progress. Greece is, in our eyes, in Germany’s eyes, a necessary and undisputed partner in Europe and for Europe,” he said.

Kotzias, also referring to the Cyprus issue, underlined that Athens was not prepared to accept either occupation forces or guarantors in a European country.

“We do not want any country in Europe to have occupation forces or some third parties outside of Europe to guarantee anyone’s rights,” he said at the exhibition opening.

Kotzias said his talks with Steinmeier in Athens will focus on approving a common action plan for friendship between Greece and Germany.

“We say we want a country that is open to everyone, with all cultures open. We deeply believe in the rule of law. We are a stable force that believes in this enterprise that is called the European Union, which is a system of law. We are those that hope, along with our German friends, that this enterprise will progress and we will make every effort, even in the most difficult times, to keep open the road for a Europe that is socially just, democratic and a factor for peace and security in the world. A strong force in the 21st century,” he said.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.