CORFU -- Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on official tour at the island of Corfu on Saturday, said that Europe needs to "send out a message of solidarity and financial support," so that EU member states can overcome the economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic "as painlessly as possible."
The Greek premier was referring to the upcoming EU summit on July 17-18, when EU leaders are expected to reach consensus on the particulars of the European Commission's proposed EU Recovery Fund for the bloc's post-pandemic economic recovery.
On this, he stressed that the negotiation "is going to be hard," as a broad agreement is required to finalize the recovery fund and the EU's next National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), he added.
"It is funds that will help us modernize our tourism product and make investments that are compatible with our philosophy of environmental protection, and also make other investments funded by Europe," he pointed out.
Accompanied by key ministers and speaking after a meeting with Ionian islands' regional officials, he added that Greece "will salvage what it can from this year's tourism season, with the safety of both visitors and residents a top priority," and added that preventive measures at Ionian islands will intensify as they are nearing the opening of tourism from Great Britain on July 15.
"We have strengthened Corfu general hospital and we will also install a new molecular analyzer there, which will be able to go through some 500 Covid-19 diagnostic tests per day," he said.
Addressing regional producers and business owners, he appealed to them to take advantage of the support measures provided by the government for the support of their employees after the recent pandemic, and noted that Greece is in a better position than other major tourism markets because it succeeded in tackling the pandemic's first wave.
"We must preserve this acquis because we know that when we further open the country to foreign visitors we will have some imported cases of coronavirus. I will ask for the support of all professionals to observe all measures. We must return to vigilance. The state has done what it needs to do to organize health services," he noted.
"Let's keep tourism afloat with as few losses as possible so we can recover dynamically," the Greek Premier concluded.