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Politics

Sakellaropoulou: Greece a Guarantor of Stability in the Balkans and SE Europe

January 20, 2023

BERLIN – Turkish aggression, war reparations, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European perspective of the Western Balkans, migration and Greece’s capacity to contribute to Europe’s energy autonomy were on the agenda of the meeting held on Thursday between the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as part of her official visit to Germany.

At the meeting, according to the Greek side, the “excellent level” of bilateral relations was confirmed and ways to strengthen them were explored, in all areas of mutual interest, with an emphasis on defence, energy efficiency, green energy, environmental protection and technologies, such as the “Smart & Sustainable Astypalea” project.

Sakellaropoulou told Steinmeier that Greece particularly appreciates Germany’s attitude towards the Turkish threats, while reiterating that “our country is in favour of dialogue, which, however, cannot be conducted in conditions of tension, revisionism and incendiary rhetoric.”

Referring to the war in Ukraine, the President of the Hellenic Republic reiterated the clear condemnation of the “illegal Russian invasion” and noted Greece’s “adherence to the fundamental principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, as well as the importance of preserving the unity of the European Union.”

Sakellaropoulou also described the acceleration of the Western Balkans’ accession process as “vital” for Europe’s security, stability and prosperity and, on the issue of energy security, she emphasised the contribution of Greece, in its capacity as a hub for natural gas and oil pipelines, based on the existing and under-construction energy infrastructure, as well as the decisive importance of its commercial fleet, the world’s largest, in energy transport.

Sakellaropoulou also underlined the “highest” importance of the issue of war reparations and the occupation loan, stressing that “the relevant dialogue will be to the benefit of both countries and the resolution of past disputes will help to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the future as well.”

In the meeting between the two presidents, the issue of migration was also raised, with Sakellaropoulou making it clear that, for Greece, it is particularly important to prevent and effectively manage migration and refugee flows, to avoid an instrumentalisation of the problem and to protect the borders of the EU, with respect for human rights.

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