Petsas: Greece Has Sent Letters to EU on Turkish Provocations

ATHENS – Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas on Thursday began the press briefing by referring to Turkey's provocations and the actions taken by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

"It is becoming clear that a potential escalation on Turkey's part will not lead to a Greek-Turkish crisis but to acrisis in EU-Turkey relations overall," he noted.

He also said that "following the provocative and illegal Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, culminating in the publication in the Turkish government gazette of applications for exploratory drilling and extraction of hydrocarbons by the Turkish state oil company, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent letters on Wednesday to the President of European Council Charles Michel and to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen".

Petsas then talked about the new phase of the easing of restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, stating that "in the last weeks we have been walking across the bridge that leads to the new normality. We will continue our course with five more interim stops. On the 6th, 8th, 15th and 29th of June and on July 1."

Petsas announced that, as of next Saturday, the operation of indoor catering services and hotel restaurants will be permitted, as will the operation of canteens and provision of food and drinks at events held in the open and "support activities" for shows.

On Monday, June 8, there will be a reopening of night clubs, internet cafes and cafeterias.

The following Monday, June 15, will see the start of flights from abroad to Thessaloniki's Makedonia airport and the opening of seasonal hotels and rooms, museums and archaeological sites, theme parks, saunas, spas and therapeutic springs.

This will be followed on June 29 by the opening of summer camps for children and, on July 1, the resumption of flights from abroad to all airports in the country, as well as of activities related to the organisation of congresses and trade fairs, performances in front of an audience, concerts and art events.

"It is underlined that all the economic entities will operate on the basis of specific rules regarding the allowed number of customers allowed, the minimum distance between tables and the distance between those served and measures tailored to each activity," he said.

'Individual responsibility the compass that will lead us to the new normality'

Petsas said that the restart of the economy, apart from a few exceptions, will be effectively concluded by July 1, but stressed that "we must not be complacent. We must follow the rules and the health safety protocols that were designed in line with the advice of the experts. Let the individual responsibility and collective maturity we have shown since the start of the health crisis be the compass that will guide us safely to the new normality."

The government spokesman announced that the prime minister will speak on Thursday at 20:00 at the presentation of the campaign for the promotion of Greek tourism that will be held at Aigli, Zappeion Mansion.

"Greece is opening its gates to the world in conditions of safety for the employees of the toursim sector, of the residents in tourist destinations and, of course, for the visitors. We claim a large part of a smaller pie, [enjoying] enhanced trust and credibility in the eyes of the international community".

He also said that Mitsotakis will deliver a speech on June 5, on World Environment Day, on electromobility, adding that this was another programme that will become state law in the framework of Greece's National Plan for Energy and Climate that is being steadily unveiled, which sets ambitious targets.

Finally, he referred to the Independent Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announcement on Thursday on first quarter GDP in 2020, which showed a 0.9 pct drop from the first quarter of 2019.

He explained that this figure shows that Greece had significantly lower recession than expected, indicating that the Greek economy entered the first two months of 2020 dynamically due to restoration of confidence after the political change in July and also because March, the month of the pandemic outbreak, "was not as bad for the economy as we had predicted".



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