ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday received Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger in Athens. The strategic partnership agreement with France and bilateral relations with Slovakia were among the issues discussed during the meeting, he said.
"As a European and an Atlantic ally, I briefed Mr. Heger on the strategic partnership relationship we decided two days ago with President Macron. A step toward strengthening Europe's autonomous path but also for reinforcing its NATO pillar," Mitsotakis said during joint statements with Heger after their meeting.
This was naturally of interest to Slovakia as well, he added, since the more the operational capability of EU member-states increases, the more this increases the strength and influence of the Atlantic alliance.
"I consider that by moving in the same directions, Greece and Slovakia can significantly upgrade their defence and diplomatic ties," the Greek prime minister added.
He also noted the great promise of Greek-Slovakian economic relations, saying that the strategic location of the two states facilitates their development, especially in transport and energy.
"We had the opportunity to have a detailed discussion on the plans of the two countries for the energy transition. Slovakia and Greece are among the first European countries that have decided to restrict and essentially eliminate our dependence on lignite coal for the production of electricity and to move quickly toward a green transition," Mitsotakis said.
The two sides also discuss cooperation in tourism, as Greece is a popular tourist destination for Slovaks while Slovakia can also become an attractive destination for Greeks, as well as closer cooperation in civil protection.
Mitsotakis referred to an exchange of knowhow in reforestation, where Slovakia has extensive experience, while he thanked Heger for Slovakia's swift response to Greece's call for assistance during the summer fires.
The Greek prime minister stressed that as the pandemic was drawing towards an end, European economies could not withstand further restrictions and that the Recovery and Resilience Fund will be a springboard for kickstarting European economies once again.
"Greece and Slovakia will continue to cooperation with the European Commission for the best possible use of the funds, with the shared goal of a green and digital transition but also social protection and social cohesion," he said.
Heger, on his part, referred to the devastating summer fires, noting that Slovakia had sent 75 fire fighters and 35 vehicles to assist Greece, and said his visit "confirms my determination to strengthen our bilateral relations."
"The specific situation underlines the need to implement policies to fight climate change. We want to offer our help and knowhow with respect to reforestation," he said, while also emphasising the importance of the bicentennial anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821.
He said that Slovakia supported the protection of Europe's borders and said that Greece served as an example on how migration can be handled.
Heger also confirmed his country's decision to gradually end its dependence on coal and spoke about plans to build infrastructure that will make Slovakia an attractive tourist destination, as well as referring to the common solutions that can be found in the energy sector.