Attica fires and EU Commission solidarity dominate Pavlopoulos-Barnier meeting
The devastating fires in eastern Attica and the European Commission’s solidarity dominated the meeting on Friday between President Prokopios Pavlopoulos and Commissioner Michel Barnier, who is responsible for the Brexit negotiations.
Pavlopoulos spoke of an extremely difficult time for Greece, which is unfortunately living through moments of mourning and suffering and expressed his warm thanks to Barnier – calling him agreat a friend of Greece – and to the European Commission for its practical support for Greece.
“The European Commission and its President, Jean-Claude Juncker, have shown that humanity and solidarity remain the fundamental principles and values of the European edifice, in accordance with the requirements of European civilisation,” said Pavlopoulos.
Referring to the main subject of Barnier’s visit to Greece, Pavlopoulos congratulated him on the great success and effectiveness of his mission, namely the preparation and conduct of the negotiations on Brexit.
“The position of Greece has been known from the very beginning: we hope the people of the United Kingdom will reconsider their decision on Brexit. Of course, the decision is entirely their own and is fully respected. However, if they stick to their decision, negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom will have to be concluded in time, and a Withdrawal Agreement will be drawn up. In this case, our UK friends must be well aware that the relevant Agreement will fully respect European Law and the European acquis and will also fully protect the legitimate interests of the European Union and the Member States, its members. Discounts will not be made acceptable,” the president underlined.
Concluding, he recalled that a state cannot choose to leave the EU and expect to have, even in part, the privileges of an EU member, depending on its interests.
On his part, Barnier emphasised that “we fully share in the mourning of the Greek people, the tragedy affecting all of Greece”.
“And we share it in the European Union, and I personally in my own family. I saw how much pain this incident has caused. The message from President Juncker and the whole Commission and my personal message is that we are very moved, we take part in this mourning, share it, we are next to you as always. We draw lessons in such situations,” he noted.
At the same time, he pointed out that in this tragedy, which has really moved the whole world, we see the real values on which all the countries of the European Union are based.
As he said, “solidarity among other things is the fact that we share the policies and the feelings that are caused by such situations. We are 28 states, which are making a policy, not only social and economic, but also humanitarian. And we know there are problems, but there is always solidarity between us.”