Mitsotakis on Samothrace: Borderland Greece Our Top Priority


Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visits the island of Samothrace. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Dimitris Papamitsos)

SAMOTHRACE -- Caring for borderland Greece, especially border islands, is the government's top priority, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on the island of Samothrace, northern Greece, on Saturday.

Most of the island's outstanding issues have been resolved in the last 15 months, his government's term, he said. "We are a government of works, not words," he underlined. A major outstanding issue includes the restoration of damage incurred during the great floods of 2017, as he noted.

Responding to the issues raised by local officials, Mitsotakis said that the subsidy of the island's shipping link to the mainland is under review, but the issue of transportation itself has been resolved. The port itself saw improvement that had not been undertaken since 1998. However, he said, more needs to be done because the port is key to Samothrace's future and its current infrastructure cannot meet those demands.

Among other issues, he said he had not formed a personal opinion yet about building an airport on the island, and he also expressed great reservations about the installation of several and large wind turbines on small islands like Samothrace. In health issues, a children's doctor was appointed, but several permanent positions remain vacant because of lack of interest.

The Archaeological Museum of Samothrace will be ready in 2021, he said, while Culture Minister Lina Mendoni - who accompanied the PM - said it would be ready fully for the tourist season. In addition, on another issue, the government would examine the fair demand of fishermen about fuel procurement, as they are obliged to sail 70 miles to Alexandroupolis and return to acquire it.

Local officials also spoke about progress on other issues, including the City Hall that was too severely damaged to be used and will be housed in the old high school.

Mitsotakis and Mendoni had been given a tour of the Archaeological Museum under construction and the site of the excavations, which flooded in 2017 from a torrent cutting across it.

The PM called on island residents to observe the prevention measures for the coronavirus. As he told local representatives of agencies, "It is particularly important on small islands, which are by their nature protected by the dispersion of the novel coronavirus." Greece is doing much better than some other European countries, but it is not out of danger yet.