Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his satisfaction with the fact that Greece’s reaction to the crisis “succeeded in changing the image of the country,” during his introductory speech at a web event hosted by the Brookings Institution and Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.
The Greek PM also referred to the European Commission’s proposal for the European economy. “The European Commission today announced a very ambitious program which we call the Rehabilitation Fund…Greece will be one of the countries that will benefit significantly from this,” he said.
“What the European Commission is proposing is not just positive for Greece, but for the Europe as a whole. You know, the EU has never moved forward in a completely linear way, there are periods of paralysis followed by big leaps, maybe this is an opportunity. I hope that it is an opportunity to do something really bold, which in a way rejuvenates the European project,” Mitsotakis added.
Brookings’ President General John R. Allen, also hailed the “heroic leadership” of Mitsotakis. Allen spoke of the “courageous and timely decisions” undertaken by the Greek PM during the coronavirus crisis. “Within 10 months of his election as Prime Minister, he has brought Greece to the forefront of effective and decisive leadership and governance, and has kept unknown how many thousands of people are safe and sound,” Allen said. “And really, as the United States and many other nations around the world continue to fight Covid-19, we are turning to Greece for best practices and inspiration,” he said.
Mitsotakis underlined that the government took care to communicate its message to the citizens by urging them to stay home and follow the social distancing rules, adding that it was a clear goal to regain the relationship of trust with the citizens.
The Prime Minister stressed that it is very good to enjoy international recognition for the management of the crisis, however they must remember that there are difficulties still ahead of them, including opening up to travellers from abroad. On this note, Mitsotakis added that the government was finalising the list of countries that will be allowed to resume flights to Athens on June 15 and regional airports on July 1.
“It is unlikely that the (U.S.) will be on our list, given the data that we currently have,” Mitsotakis stated.
“We will start with countries that have similar epidemiological data with Greece. And we expect to gradually ramp up direct flights to our islands.”
Yesterday, Greece announce that it will allow travellers from around two dozen countries including Germany, Cyprus and Israel to visit from mid-June without having to be quarantined.