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The European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas, called for a focus away from Brussels and instead put it on EU citizens, during an interview with Greek news agency ANA.

Schinas said Europe is not Brussels hence his call to “de-Brusselize” Europe focus.

“Brussels is the geographic fusion point of Europe, but we must not ‘Brusselize’ Europe – this would be a great mistake.” What should happen instead, he said, is “we must bring Brussels closer to society, we must take it beyond the institutions, we must bring our histories and our successes closer to (EU) peoples: to listen more, to hold a dialogue with social forces – the active social forces -, the real economy, and with social partners.”

On another subject, Schinas referenced the recent visit to North Macedonia by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who headed a delegation of ministers and business owners, as a part of the idea of “a European normalisation in the western Balkans, where Greece maintains and should maintain a decisive role.”

The Greek economy itself, he noted, “is in a process of being reset – we are firmly in growth paths, with employment rates rising,” while “Greece, due to its partners’ solidarity, is currently the country with the best debt-servicing profile in the world.”

On the upcoming Euro parliament elections in May, the Commission spokesman said that “the greatest challenge is how pro-European and pro-stability forces may gain a majority voice in the next five-year term.” He also noted that the rise of populism and Euro-skepticism was not surprising, but attributed it to three factors: to the force and depth of the economic crisis, which is becoming part of the past; to the first phase of handling the migration crisis “which shook much of the European status quo and changed a lot in the domestic political dialogue of many European countries”; and to “a coordinated factor by external powers – well-known shadow (power) centers – which use technology and social media networks to exaggerate and blow such difficulties out of proportion.”

Schinas also issued a warning on the rise of the far right in Europe, noting that Europe cannot afford to let the extreme right win in the elections.

“In Europe we know how the story ended every time – twice in the past century – when these powers gained the upper hand: the first time at military cemeteries and the second at crematoria,” he added.

“Since we have lived through these tragic experiences and know what will happen when they gain the upper hand, we must put up a resistance,” he stressed.


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