ATHENS – Repeating US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt’s mantra, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakis Mitsotakis said “Greece remains a pillar of stability in an incredibly destabilized region,” as it faces Turkish provocations and a newly-flared refugee and migrant crisis overwhelming islands.
Speaking Oct. 17 as he headed he headed into a meeting of the center-right European People’s Party in Brussels, he said that, “We are here to reiterate our commitment to regional stability,” as he was in the EU’s capital for a meeting of heads of state.
Mitsotakis said that his party’s crushing victory in July 7 snap elections, ousting the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that reneged on anti-austerity promises for 4 ½ years was a victory over populism and a “victory for democracy in Europe.” New Democracy, he added, “managed to eliminate the far-right and Golden Dawn from Greek Parliament,” said Kathimerini.
He said his government’s first propriety is to restore growth in the sluggish Greek economy, attract investments and “ensure that the country has broken out of the vicious cycle that kept us back for more than a decade.”
His government has already moved to accelerate construction of the long-stalled 8-billion-euro ($8.9 billion) development of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport that was stymied for 4 ½ years under SYRIZA rule.
Mitsotakis was expected to use the EU meeting to push for more aggressive action against Turkey for drilling for energy in Cypriot waters and allowing more refugees and migrants to be sent to Greek islands during an essentially-suspended swap deal with the bloc begun in 2016.