ATHENS — In joint statements with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after their meeting at the Maximos Mansion on Friday, President of the European Council Charles Michel highlighted the Greek premier's valuable contribution to the efforts to deal with the Covid crisis.
He also referred to the digital Covid certificate, noting said that he had been among the first to see this a few months earlier and that "since then we have discussed how we can get back the thing that is fundamental to the European acquis, namely free movement."
He also underlined its special importance for countries that rely on tourism, such as Greece.
The second big issue was how to support the economy, he said, and how to achieve greater prosperity and greater social cohesion. He referred to what he called a "historic decision" for the Community last July to allocate 540 billion euros for the recovery after Covid.
"All countries decided at the summit on the legal tools that will enable this new recovery and new prosperity," he said, adding that "we will work to make these new reforms a reality, which are necessary so that we are able to have a greater economic recovery but also a digital recovery, which is truly a very important agenda."
Charles Michel, emphasising the importance of Greece but also the EU as a whole in terms of the rule of law, democracy and freedoms, said that the rest of the world is inspired by Europe and that this was the way that the EU defended its interests and values.
"Regarding our relations with Turkey, it is something that we have discussed at the European Council and we will work on it even more," said Michel, noting that "our relations will be stable, strong and will certainly respect our values."
He particularly referred to the EU's transatlantic relations and the forthcoming NATO summit, but also to the "challenge", as he said, of the southeastern Mediterranean, as well as "the challenge of new authoritarian states that unfortunately do not respect human rights."
Michel also stressed the importance of joint action and the need to develop strategies to prevent and not just respond to such challenges.