Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a joint press conference in Berlin on Thursday following their meeting.
The two leaders discussed everything from bilateral issues on economic co-operation, refugees, immigration and Turkey’s provocative behaviour in the Aegean.
At the presser, Kyriakos Mitsotakis committed to deep structural reforms in Greece that will extend further than those implemented during the years of the economic crisis.
“Changes in the economy will be made by us because they concern us,” Mitsotakis said, adding however that “we want Germany’s help.” He announced an extensive and joint investment program between Greece and Germany, calling it “an ambitious investment plan related to energy, green technology, renewable energy sources and waste management” that addresses concerns over climate change.”
On her part, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the “new Greek government has worked very hard during the summer and has already moved forward on some things.”
“I want to change the framework of Greek-German relations,” Mitsotakis stressed, adding: “We are preparing with Germany a green development plan which we will present with the Chancellor in December.”
On the issue of refugees the Greek Prime Minister underlined that Greece will do everything in its power to return refugees to Turkey so that those who remain in Greece can enjoy good living conditions. He reiterated however that Greece’s borders are also Europe’s borders, and solidarity by EU countries is necessary.
“If we want free movement of people and the Schengen Treaty, Europe must show solidarity. There cannot be countries benefitted by Schengen that don’t participate in the distribution of refugees.” He also announced that the policies of granting asylum in Greece will change within the following months.
On the same issue, Merkel reiterated that both countries support the EU-Turkey agreement and she expressed her satisfaction for the fact that the new government was focusing on adding substance to this agreement. “We have already lost a lot of time, and the actual mechanism of this agreement has not been put in action,” she noted.
Concerning Turkey’s drilling activities in the Aegean, both Athens and Berlin agree that Turkey’s actions in the Cyprus EEZ are illegal,” noted Mitsotakis.
In addition, Mitsotakis reiterated his disagreement with the Prespes Agreement, which he said had serious flaws that could however be modified by North Macedonia’s EU accession process.
When asked to comment on German reparations for WWII Greece is requesting, he said the issue is difficult and sensitive. His government wants the issue to be resolved and that the previous government had filed a demarche with Germany inviting it to related negotiations. “We are awaiting a response and believe that the resolution will contribute to the further improvement of relations between the two countiries,” the PM said.