ATHENS – In a turbulent neighborhood, “Greece remains an anchor of European stability, a factor of peace and regional collaboration,” President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Wednesday, inaugurating the 7th Delphi Economic Forum in central Greece.
The forum reopened at its physical premises after a break of two years; during the coronavirus pandemic it was held first online, and then in hybrid format out of Athens.
The Greek president referred to the difficult times following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which brought together Europe and its allies in a practical and unequivocal condemnation of the act and in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and international law. “The heroic resistance of the Ukrainians has deeply moved Greeks and rallied humanity against the violent attack of an independent state’s sovereignty, as well as the universal values the comprise our culture,” Sakellaropoulou said.
A united Europe has matured enough to understand the value of peace, yet remained young enough to continue to pursue multinational collaborations, she said. The barbarity of a war in its neighborhood is a reminder that Europe and Greece each remain an oasis of peaceful democracy, rights, and the rule of law, along with an open society, a regulated market economy and an active social state. “This is our modern European identity, and it contains the eons of our common culture, with Aeschylus, Goethe, Hugo, and Balzac. This is the Europe we are defending,” Sakellaropoulou noted.
The Delphi Forum provides an outstanding opportunity to showcase the dynamism and influence of a modern and extroverted Greece, the Greek president said, which remains in creative contact with its past and has survived several crises to become more powerful and optimistic.
In her taped message, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola spoke of “the criminal invasion of sovereign Ukraine” by Russian leader Vladimir Putin and of Europe that “remained united in condemning it” and in expressing solidarity to Ukrainian people.
Metsola spoke of the repercussion of the war on the Russian economy, on Ukraine, and on the displaced Ukrainians which numbered 4 million people, most of whom were women and children and were warmly received by EU states and citizens.
The Europarliament president also said that Europe should upgrade its status in the world with investments in defense and innovative technology, and continue to integrate its defense and security. It must also multiply its efforts to disengage from its dependence on Russian natural gas, and warned of guaranteeing the security of the food supply chain.