Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ interview with Reuters news agency

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had an interview with Reuters news agency, during his visit in Astypalea

Asked to comment on the project “Astypalea: smart & sustainable island”, which is now in the second year of its materialization, and its significance as one of the government’s actions on clean energy and the climate, the Prime Minister said: “What you see here is a glimpse into the future. What we’re trying to do here in Astypalea -we will try to repeat it in all our islands- is to prove that the transition to green energy can actually take place at an even faster pace than many people had anticipated”.

Asked to comment on Europe’s transition into a zero emissions economy, while the EU is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian exports of fossil fuels, Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out: “Meeting our green transition targets is becoming a priority not only for environmental reasons, not only to meet our goal towards being the first continent in the world to become neutral, but it is also important to enhance our strategic autonomy. The wind and the sun that we have here produces currently the cheapest possible electricity; and it is abundant and it’s ours. We don’t need to rely on anybody else”.

Asked whether there is a possibility that Greece will face problems with energy sufficiency during the summer, the Prime Minister said: “Greece has been moving away from coal for quite some time, but we still have coal plants in case we need them, able to generate backup power, we have sufficient gas supplies to produce our electricity from gas and of course, during the summer renewables work at their peak, be it wind turbines or solar panels. There is no reason whatsoever to be concerned about energy availability during the summer”.

Regarding the management of the energy crisis and the cost of electricity at a European level, Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out: “We’ve been making the case, I’ve been making the case at the European Council -now more colleagues have been joining my argument- that we need to fundamentally rethink the way that the European electricity market is functioning and we need to be able to also use more drastic measures, such as a temporary cap on the price of gas, in order to make sure that we have a properly functioning market.

The truth is that now in Europe, we purchase our gas at the highest possible price compared to other regions or other continents in the world. So this is a short-term problem that we need to address”.

Asked to comment on the seizure of two Greek oil tankers in the Gulf the Prime Minister said: “What happened was an unacceptable act, essentially of international piracy. The issue needs to be resolved as quickly as possible”.

Regarding the prospect of transferring natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe through Greece, the Prime Minister said: “Now when it comes to gas from the Eastern Mediterranean, I think we need to look at all options and we need to find the most cost-effective way of transferring the gas that exists in Cyprus, in Israel to the European market. Whatever solution one can envision, it will certainly have to involve Greece”.

Asked to comment on the Greek – Turkish relations, the message that he wanted to send to the neighbor country on the occasion of his visit to the remote islands of the Dodecanese and whether he wishes to improve the relations with Turkey, the Prime Minister stressed:

“Greece will not tolerate aggressive behavior, revisionist rhetoric and actions which amount to violations of Greek sovereign rights and Greek sovereignty. I think it is up to Turkey to change its behavior. We’ve never been the ones pushing the boundary in terms of aggressiveness, but we are very confident that we have the ability to defend ourselves should the need arise. And we’re also very confident that we have allies that support us: the European Union, the United States.

I see no reason why Turkey should complain every time we argue that we are right, when we make the case that our differences need to be resolved based on International Law and that we simply cannot accept preposterous allegations pertaining to the sovereignty of Greek islands. Turkey should not be surprised when our allies, also within NATO, state the obvious: that we are right when it comes to this issue and that there’s no other way to look at it except for what we’re saying”.