During a televised interview on ANT1 with journalist Nikos Chatzinikolaou, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis discussed the covid-19 vaccination program and the upcoming exploratory talks with Turkey.
“We knew that a second wave of the pandemic would come to Greece in the autumn, which would be more violent,” the PM said at the beginning of the interview, noting that since the summer the government has strengthened the healthcare system.
Greece has done relatively better than other European countries, Mitsotakis underlined.
He also rejected criticism from main opposition SYRIZA on the number of deaths from Covid-19, and limited his comments to saying that “what we see in Greece is not main opposition – it’s a disappointment.”
Regarding the EU’s purchase of vaccinations on behalf of its member states, Mitsotakis commented: “From the very start, Greece adapted and participated in Europe’s great effort to purchase the vaccine. It was Europe’s success that we all bought the vaccines together.”
By the end of March, nearly 2 million Greeks will be vaccinated, as four large vaccination centres will operate in Athens and Thessaloniki as of February.
“It will be possible to be able to welcome safely millions of visitors this summer,” he said, expressing optimism that the 2021 summer season will turn out much better for tourism that that of 2020.
“Millions of vaccinations have already taken place, and if there were serious side effects, we would know about them,” Mitsotakis added.
In terms of the repercussions of the pandemic, he said the government moved fast “with a strategy and a plan, instead of spending all its money from the start.”
The PM also revealed that the two-week shut down early in January was his decision, not the experts’ committee, to prevent more infections after the holiday season.
On the Greek-Turkish front, Mitsotakis clarified that on January 25, there will be no negotiations with Turkey, but talks.
He said the only topic is delimiting the maritime zones, and cited the success of agreements with Italy and Egypt.
The Greek PM expressed optimism “that we will find a framework for long-term agreement and resolving of the only difference we can talk about with Turkey.”
Commenting on reports he might trigger snap elections this year, Mitsotakis said “my intention is to exhaust the four-year term of this government. The year 2021 will not be an election year.”
In addition, he asserted, “We have a solid and effective parliamentary group, a reserve of trust, and our goal is to return the country to a development path.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is calling for the creation of an EU-wide Covid-19 vaccination certificate that will help restore safe travel that has been devastated by the pandemic.
According to Politico, the idea was addressed in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“While we are not going to make vaccination compulsory or a prerequisite for travel, persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel,” he said.
“It is urgent to adopt a common understanding on how a vaccination certificate should be structured so as to be accepted in all member states,” Mitsotakis continued.