ATHENS – A special session in Parliament on Thursday afternoon celebrated Greece's 40th anniversary since joining the European Union, with the building's facade on Syntagma lit up and speeches by politicians including European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas.
Under the motto "Greece-EU: 40 years stronger together," speakers highlighted the role of the European Union as "a community of nations based on unforced consent, equal collaboration, mutual respect and solidarity," as Parliament President Constantine Tassoulas said.
Alternate Foreign Affairs Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis noted that "the stronger Europe is, that much more stronger will Greece's position be as well," while he mentioned the vision of Constantine Karamanlis for a United Europe and his role in ensuring Greece's membership in the union.
Schinas called Greece's membership a "major historic achievement of Greeks," which he said "may possibly account for the greatest achievement after Greece's Independence." Joining the EU, he pointed out, placed Greece firmly in the forefront of European integration.
In the 40 years of its membership, Greece he said "achieved more than it had achieved in the previous 160 years of its modern history," and in the present "it remains an example and an absolute institutional model for friends and enemies in the greater geographical neighborhood – a pillar of stability and a model of democracy."
Statements were also made by the presidium members and by party representatives.