Petsas: Opposition Should Take more Care with Its Foreign Policy Criticism


government spokesperson Stelios Petsas. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ ANA Pool/ Orestis Panagiotou Stelios)

ATHENS - Greece "does whatever it can to defend its sovereign rights," government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Saturday, speaking on Antena TV, and called on the opposition to be "careful in the choice of various expressions on foreign policy," to prevent reproducing Turkish propaganda.

Greece has a strong standing abroad, "developing bilateral and multilateral relations" and voicing its stance in international fora, while Turkey's provocative actions in the East Mediterranean and Cyprus' EEZ have been deplored, he pointed out.

Commenting on the reading of the Quran in Hagia Sophia on Friday, Petsas called it "provocative" and said it was "an issue beyond Greeks and Christians in general - it's an issue of disrespecting a (UN) World Heritage monument that stands for a lot more than a propaganda-based fiesta."

The government spokesman referred to the European Commission's proposed allocation of funds to Greece as part of an EU-wide recovery plan following the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and said that "for the next period, 2021 and beyond, we are talking about an amount of over 50 billion euros, or over a quarter of Greece's GDP. That's a massive number." He added that "the government's responsibility is massive, in preparing a cohesive plan that will take Greece forward and truly transform it."

The committee working on such a development plan, he said, included renowned economists headed by Nobel prize winner Christopher Pissarides and is expected to complete the plan around September.

Petsas also criticized main opposition SYRIZA for its first economic support plan, a front-loaded proposal to fight the coronavirus-related economic crisis that "called for an immediate spending of 26 billion euros, without taking into account whether this money would go to the appropriate places or whether there will be any reserves left to deal with the crisis during the summer months."