ATHENS — Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas on Monday began the regular press briefing by referring to the three-day parliamentary debate on the motion of censure tabled by main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance against Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, over the draft law for a new bankruptcy code.
"A motion of censure that became a boomerang for Staikouras' predecessor, as the prime minister said. The unity of New Democracy's parliamentary group was reaffirmed and also the support for the finance minister. At the same time, we had the opportunity to promote the government's work and to highlight its fundamental differences with SYRIZA's policies.
Turkey has proved it is a troublemaker in the region
On national issues, Petsas said that Turkey has in recent days been engaged in a persistent effort to prove that, not only is it a troublemaker in the wider region but also an entirely unreliable interlocutor. By issuing a new illegal Navtex for an area of the sea that encroaches on the Greek continental shelf south of Rhodes, Turkey has shown for the umpteenth time that it insists on a provocative and illegal behaviour that completely disregards international law, shows contempt for the pleas of the international community and the European Council and aims to destabilise the region, he added.
"We informed our allies and we lodged a demarche with Ankara. Greece's greatest success is that, in a short space of time, it has turned a Greek-Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot difference into a Euro-Turkish difference. The United States, which had hitherto maintained a neutral stance, is strongly supporting Greek rights for the first time," he pointed out.
Alongside diplomacy, Greece also has the deterrent force required to defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights from all designs against it, he noted. "The Greek Armed Forces are on full alert and have proved this in the field," Petsas said.
Greece still doing better than many as regards the pandemic
Turning to the latest developments concerning the pandemic, Petsas noted that the second wave was well underway all over Europe and that, according to the latest assessment by the ECDC, most European countries are classed as high-risk for epidemiological danger.
"Greece continues to be among the best countries. Along with the Scandinavian countries, [it is among] the best countries in EU in terms of the number of cases," he said.
Petsas said Greece was close to the EU average for the number of tests per population, among the best-ranked 'green' countries, with a rate of 3.6 for those testing positive, and best for mortality among the countries where this measure was reported.
In spite of this, he added, it was clear that the epidemic in Greece was spiking, with the number of daily cases "presenting a significant increase in the last few days". In response to this new situation and in order to avert the worst, the government has already applied two new measures, he said: "The curfew from 12:30 to 05:00 in all epidemiologically burdened regions (level 3 and 4) and mandatory use of face masks everywhere. It is obvious that we have a difficult three months ahead of us and we have an obligation to strictly follow the measures, first of all to save lives and secondly to avoid putting excessive pressure on the health system and, finally, to avoid imposing even stricter measures. Besides, for the first time since the start of this adventure, the prospect of a safe and effective vaccine at the end of the year or in early 2021 is visible on the horizon and the government has ensured that we will have it on time and can distribute it as fast as possible".