BRUSSELS – After an initial timid response of support for Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vow not to talk to him again, the European Commission has taken a stronger stance.
The change in tone, said Kathimerini, came after Greece’s permanent representation to the EU was upset that the bloc’s leaders didn’t step up more firmly to back Mitsotakis and Greece.
“The EU is facing a war, a geopolitical crisis and a major economic strain, so the last thing we need is inflammatory rhetoric and unprovoked attacks and characterizations,” said Commission Vice President for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas – from Greece’s ruling New Democracy.
He finally spoke up when asked at a press conference about the Turkish President’s comments and Erdogan’s pledge to veto any hopes that Finland and Sweden have of joining NATO.
“We demand and expect respect for all our leaders and all our member-states,” said Schinas – whose party leader is Mitsotakis – adding that neither Finland and Sweden, nor the Greek prime minister “need to prove their democratic credentials.”
The EU’s Secretary-General of European External Action Service Stefano Sannino “transmitted to Amb. Bozay (Turkey’s EU envoy) our serious concern about Turkey’s military aircraft’s flights near the Greek city of Alexandroupolis.”
“Respecting international law and refraining from actions undermining cohesion between allies is at this critical juncture more important than ever,” added Sannino, an associate of European Commission foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.