ATHENS – The new President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, sent a series of messages while speaking at the ceremony for the assumption of her new duties on Friday at the Presidential Mansion.
Sakellaropoulou thanked outgoing President Prokopios Pavlopoulos for his warm welcome and stressed that, in difficult times for the country, he had achieved national unity and understanding among the political forces, in an environment that was a “minefield” of tension, negativity and suspicion. As she noted, through his initiatives, Pavlopoulos kept the channels of communication with Greece’s partners in Europe open and contributed decisively to the country remaining in the eurozone.
Referring to the current situation, she stressed that Greece is called upon to face new challenges. “To ward off new dangers, to prevent new threats. Without stopping the struggle for its social and economic reconstruction. Without discounts in democratic government and the rule of law, which are the foundations of our social existence and the guide to our common way of life.”
At the same time, she pointed out that on the basis of these values, united and creative, “we will make our way to a future of prosperity that has room for us all, a future that, inspired by the European vision, is linked to a new patriotism, which does not oppose cosmopolitanism but is a condition for it.” She also expressed her conviction that all the democratic political forces of the country, the institutions and the citizens will defend themselves “creatively, decisively and in a spirit of national understanding.”
The new president of the Republic noted that Greece is now called upon to repel the aggression of those who, by instrumentalising human suffering, are threatening its national sovereignty. She also made a special reference to the recent escalation of the migrant-refugee issue, which – as she said – requires us to protect the integrity of Greece’s borders “while fulfilling our humanitarian duty towards defenceless and desperate people.”
“It is a difficult but not insoluble equation, which requires dedication, thoughtfulness, determination, prudent management and a rigorous mindset,” she added.
Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, she said: “We are also urged, first and foremost, to respond promptly and effectively to the recent coronavirus pandemic, so that a real danger, especially for our older fellow citizens, does not spread panic and threaten the collapse of our health system or to rend the social fabric, while also dealing a major blow to the country’s economy.”
Sakellaropoulou underlined that “the compliance of the general population to the recommendations of the competent health authorities and strict adherence to preventative measures are an essential requirement for preventing the further transmission of the virus.”
She also expressed hope that the election, for the first time, of a woman to the highest office in the country will serve to improve the position of all women, both in the family and in society.