ATHENS — President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou hailed the agreement reached on the digital certificate for travel in a time of Covid as "very important", during her meeting on Friday with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. The European Council's president is visiting Greece to mark the 40-year anniversary since the accession of Greece to the European Communities – the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Atomic Energy Community – which would later become the European Union.
Sakellaropoulou said that Europe had shown good reflexes in dealing with the pandemic, both on the issue of the Recovery Fund and on the issue of vaccinations.
After stating that five million vaccinations have been held in Greece, she expressed the wish that a high a percentage of immunity will have been achieved by the summer.
On the 40th anniversary of Greece's accession to the European Communities, she stressed that it coincides with the start of the national dialogue in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe and added: "This dialogue is particularly important, a new project of the European Union, as it enables civil society to address concerns about the future of Europe."
She also expressed her confidence that in addition to the core values of the European Union, the rule of law, democracy, rights, the dialogue will also address a number of issues, such as social cohesion and economic recovery, especially after the recent crisis, climate change and migration. In fact, she pointed out that "it would be very interesting, and I think important, that this dialogue involve young people, to whom the future belongs, after all."
On his part, the President of the European Council, after thanking Sakellaropoulou for her warm hospitality at this very symbolic and important moment for Greece and Europe, stressed that "both Greece and Europe have to face very important challenges and it is exactly at these moments that we need courage and unity."
As he said, "there are three common goals in fact, which we share. The first goal is to defend freedom and democracy, issues that we discussed during yesterday's events. We must never, under any circumstances, forget that these principles of freedom and the rule of law must truly be our guide in our every move, because they prove that every human being, with the value he carries within himself, is at the heart of our every action and every policy we undertake in the European Union."
He also noted that Covid had served as a reminder "that the health and therefore the life and survival of our fellow citizens is our top priority," and added: "There is a second and very important common goal of ours, which has existed since we created the European Union, and it is nothing other than prosperity, our desire to improve the standard of living of all European citizens."
"Our generation today is facing a very important change, which is none other than the third industrial revolution, which is twofold. It is a revolution at the level of climate, the so-called climate change, and a digital revolution. Therefore, I believe that on a European level we should work together to achieve these common goals, always keeping in mind the need for economic growth," said Michel.
Referring to the third goal that unites those in the European Union, he spoke about the impact at a global level, "so that we can defend our principles and values."