PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron expressed regret he could not attend events celebrating Greece's bicentennial of the Greek Revolution (1821), in an interview to national Greek broadcaster ERT on Wednesday night.
Macron was among the leaders invited to Greece to the events celebrating the contributions of France, Britain, and Russia to the Greek War of Independence, but had to cancel a few days ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. He is being represented by French Defense Minister Florence Parly.
Macron spoke of the historical ties of the two countries, and of the joint efforts with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to open the two countries to young people, archaeologists, academics and tourists.
He also spoke of the common dream of Europe, with its 40-year history, and of the independence the EU must promote, including military independence to be able to protect itself. Greece has a unique position today, as a front-line country, as was evident through the migration issue, and Europe must be able to protect its external borders. Macron expressed his firm commitment to supporting European allies when they are being threatened, and said that is what France did in the summer of 2020. He also underlined the importance of the EU's collaboration with Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Libya.
Citing his own influnce by the ancient Greek culture, which has permeated Europe and linked it irrevocably to Greece, he also noted a stronger unifying factor today, the commtment to freedom and the European adventure.