They will be mitigated by the prospect of accession
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis fired shots at the previous government during his talk with Greek journalists after his meetings in Berlin.
“We have a great advantage: we don’t need to make a 180 degree turn. It is great to tell everyone you will implement your program, the one the citizens have chosen you for”. The prime minister, who once again publicly stated that he does not raise the issue of surplus reduction, told reporters that “his goal is to close the fourth evaluation very soon”. Although his discussions with Merkel were mainly focused on economic issues and the prospect of German investments in the energy sector -and in particular PPC-, shortly afterwards Mr. Mitsotakis added: “We do not limit our horizons in Germany and Europe. In early November I will be in Shanghai at the EXPO 2019 – in which Greece is an honored country – and I will also meet with the President of China”. While it remains plausible that the Chinese president will pay a visit to our country before that, Maximos Mansion executives are still after a meeting with President Trump as part of the annual UN summit. According to a diplomatic source, “although President Trump has many demands, meeting with the Greek Prime Minister is on the short list and the chances are increased”.
PPC an inducement to attract German businessmen
Describing the purpose of his visit, Mr. Mitsotakis stated: I am, therefore, here to change the context of Greek-German relations. I don’t just want to discuss our debt repayments, budget goals, but to mainly discuss our common development challenges”. The inducement Mr. Mitsotakis demands in order to attract investments is “a great investment program we wish to launch and which we will present – hopefully along with the Chancellor – at the beginning of the year, an ambitious investment plan around the “green economy”, renewable energy sources, waste management, electricity, environmentally friendly production activities”. Of course PPC is also included in this project, which he publicly said “finds itself in a very difficult phase and thus we are taking drastic steps to rehabilitate it”. Yet, in order to be consolidated, Mr. Mitsotakis said, investments must be made and the Germans hold both the know-how and the interest in the energy sector.
The Prespa Agreement has flaws
This time, and in order to avoid criticism, Mr. Mitsotakis mentioned the Macedonia issue, even extremely briefly: “The Chancellor is aware of my views that the Prespa Agreement is an agreement with serious flaws. Flaws, however, which can be mitigated through the overall European prospects for the Western Balkans”. Perhaps that is why Miss Merkel first mentioned the issue, referring to the accession perspective of the Western Balkan countries.
On the issue of German remedies, when asked by a German journalist, he commented: “This is a difficult and sensitive issue for both Greece and its people. Therefore, we would hope that this difficult chapter gets some kind of closure at some point. Following the Plenary of the Hellenic Parliament’s decision, Greece has sent a verbal reprimand towards Germany, with which we formally request to enter into negotiations to resolve this issue. We look forward to a positive response and I am convinced that a definitive settlement of this affair will be extremely useful in further strengthening the relations between our peoples”. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that the German side shows no willingness for discussion, and he himself does not want this issue to poison the relations of the two countries, the overall context of which he has stated he wants to change.
The surplus reduction issue off the pitch
Likewise, he does not wish for the issue of surpluses to poison the two countries’ relations either, a matter which leads to technical debates on institutions: “I do not want to discuss only debt repayment, budgetary goals… Institutional matters concern institutions, bilateral relations issues concern the two countries; and the first thing we are going to do is to gain political credibility as a reform government, that brings the issue of growth back to the forefront. These issues will, in due course and at the appropriate time, be discussed with the institutions and obviously, if necessary, on a bilateral level”.
Finally, keeping up with his tradition of showing off his bilingual ability, Mr. Mitsotakis closed his formal statements to the Chancellery in German – in Paris he had spoken with President Macron and had an interview with France 24 in French. /ibna