The President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella arrived in Athens yesterday on an official two-day visit where he was welcomed by the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after earlier visiting the refugee centre at Eleonas.
Mattarella met with Alexis Tsipras at the Maximos Mansion where both men discussed the common challenges facing them with particular reference to the economy and the refugee crisis.
“Today we stand as EU countries, as Eurozone countries, as countries of the European South, before common challenges, the economic crisis and the refugee crisis. Therefore, our cooperation, similarly to the cooperation of all the European countries in the Mediterranean, is a critical factor for the creation of a better Europe,” Tsipras said.
Mattarella agreed on the common challenges facing the two countries.
“Another common problem that unites us is the huge issue of migration, the huge refugee issue. Greece and Italy, given their geographic position as borders of the EU, welcome many more refugees. Greece and Italy have respected the age-old duty to welcome and provide hospitality, as an indication of civilization, offering help to thousands of women, men and children,” said the Italian President.
“However Europe must commit more. It must increase the support it offers to Greece and Italy because the refugee issue is not just a problem for Italy and Greece, but of Europe as a whole,” he added.
Mattarella was officially welcomed at the presidential mansion by President Prokopis Pavlopoulos where both leaders discussed the state of affairs of their respective economies and the refugee crisis.
‘With the co-operation of all its political parties, Greece will overcome the financial crisis and will continue its growth within the core nucleus of the European Union and Eurozone, as is its rightful place’’ said Mattarella during his meeting with President Pavlopoulos who also held a dinner later in honour of the Italian President.
From his part the Greek President thanked the Italian President for his Italy’s honest and tangible support during the crisis and for the warm welcome and hospitality he encountered in Rome during an official visit in November 2015.