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Politics

Mitsotakis: EU to Consider Greece’s Proposal on Natural Gas Price Ceiling

PARIS – European Union member-state leaders will examine the Greek proposal for a ceiling on natural gas wholesale prices, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said following the second day of an EU leaders summit.

At a press conference following the meetings at Versailles, Mitsotakis said that “several member states expressed strong interest in my proposal for a European intervention in the wholesale market for natural gas,” which had been earlier presented as a six-point plan to the European Commission. He said it included proposals for electric power pricing, as state budgets have limited flexibility in dealing with price spikes. “Greece can play a significant role inthe future as an energy transfer hub,” he asserted, while it is committed to “speeding up its dependence on hydrocarbons, which means greater renewable energy sources penetration.”

In terms of defense issues, Mitsotakis noted that Greece had boosted its Armed Forces much earlier than the Ukraine crisis “for fully understandable reasons,” and suggested that EU countries work on “joint European projects, for example in cyberdefense.” He added, “Greece did the right thing, all European countries supported Ukraine with defense material also.” He also pointed out that “in Greece we need to balance between supporting the social state and our defense expenditures. Our defense expenditures were never to the detriment of our government plan, which includes reductions in tax and insurance contributions.”

Greece’s intervention ensured there is a reference by the EU to provisions for a joint defense subscription, the PM said, and reiterated his proposal that “excess defense expenditures should never count in the debt.”

Mitsotakis also expressed his abhorrence over the deaths of civilians in Ukraine and said that all efforts must focus on a ceasefire that will allow humanitarian corridors so that Ukrainians can leave the country safely. Over 2 million refugees have already arrived in Europe, the premier said, noting that “Greece is prepared to receive refugees from Ukraine and host them on a temporary basis.” In terms of the solidarity in Europe for the Ukrainian refugees, Mitsotakis noted that “Greece did not see the same when we had to face a similar refugee crisis in the East Mediterranean,” but the current situation should “be incentive for a new migration and asylum regulion” in the EU.

Referring to his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday, Mitsotakis said the meeting “is necessary, because we face common challenges.” As he added, “It makes sense to talk so that we do not add any more pockets of tension. I would like to believe that the talk will be held in a cordial climate, as we have detailed responses for every issue. But I do see the Turkish president’s invitation as something positive. Greece and Turkey should be speaking to each other. Our window is open to dialog and our door shut to threats.”

(ANA-MPA/Sp. Mourelatos)

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