Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ doorstep statement upon his arrival at the informal meeting of the European Council

We are here, in Versailles, for this meeting of the European Council, in the shadow of the largest war that the continent of Europe has witnessed, since the end of World War II.
First of all, I would like to express my repulsion for what happened in Mariupol yesterday: the tragic images that we witnessed, with the bombing of a maternity hospital. And let me plead once again for a ceasefire, as soon as possible, and also for humanitarian corridors so that people who wish to leave the war zones can do so safely.

We will have the opportunity to discuss the significant consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to reaffirm, obviously, the unity of the European Union and our determination to continue and intensify -if necessary- the sanctions’ framework, so that we can exert as much pressure as possible on Russia to come to the negotiating table.
We will also discuss the effect of the geopolitical developments on the energy market. I would like to remind you that the day before yesterday I sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, asking for Europe to intervene, to set a price cap in the wholesale gas market.

A European response is required, so that we can protect consumers, businesses, farmers from fluctuations in gas prices and, consequently, electricity prices, which are not dictated by the rules of supply and demand but are exclusively the outcome of speculation in the natural gas market.

We will discuss, of course, issues that concern the strategic autonomy of Europe. Greece is a country that has been at the forefront of this debate. We believe in the need for Europe to align its geopolitical power with its economic prowess.

I would say that developments in Ukraine, over the past 14 days, have in fact induced a violent “adulthood” of our continent. And there is currently the possibility, and I believe the consensus is being formed, to be able to move much faster, with far greater substance and effectiveness in this field; and, of course, to exempt part or possibly all defense spending from deficit calculations, so that countries like Greece, which have historically spent more on defense than other European countries, are not punished for their strategic choice.