Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Undoubtedly the most important issue on the agenda of the European Council concerns European migration and asylum policy.
I would like to commend the progress that has been made, which our country has been seeking for a long time, as it is a European obligation to tackle a problem that ultimately affects our entire continent.
I would like to stress, once again, the great importance that our country attributes to the protection of the external borders of the European Union.
It is a mission that the Greek State, the Greek Coast Guard, the Police with the support of the Armed Forces, has fully accomplished, reducing by 90% the migratory flows to the Greek islands.
Thus proving that yes, there is a way to dismantle the networks of despicable traffickers who take advantage of human suffering to transport persecuted people in boats and ships that should never set sail from any shore.
And on the occasion of the recent tragic shipwreck in international waters -off the coast of Pylos- I want to reiterate once again that it is absolutely unfair that some European circles target the Greek Coast Guard, which has saved thousands of people at sea and which acted swiftly to offer its services, also in this shipwreck, in the best possible way.
All our energy should be directed towards the eradication and the absolute targeting of the despicable traffickers, those who are solely responsible for the fact that people board, as I said, vessels that should never sail in the Mediterranean.
Furthermore, we will also have the opportunity to discuss issues as regards the economy and the competitiveness of the European Union. I am delighted that as the re-elected Prime Minister of Greece I am participating in this debate, overseeing a national economy that is growing at a much faster pace than the European average.
We will continue to invest in this growth policy, which is also the only one that can not just improve the competitiveness of the Greek economy, but also create new jobs and above all increase wages for all workers, especially the low-wage earners, who still need our support today to deal with the persistent high prices that continue to put a strain on them, especially concerning food.
Journalist: Prime Minister, what is your comment on Alexis Tsipras’ decision to resign as President of Syriza and not to run again?
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: I think his decision was expected after three crushing defeats suffered by SYRIZA, and Alexis Tsipras personally, in national elections.
Beyond that, let me just make a broader point. I think that with Alexis Tsipras’ resignation, we have come full circle. Syriza has been a party that in recent years, both in government and in opposition, has been associated with toxicity, with divisive discourse, but also with deafening inefficiency when he was called upon to manage the fate of the country. Parties must unite citizens and they must, first and foremost, propose realistic, costed and enforceable solutions to the problems of citizens. Syriza has never taken this path. I hope they will find it. I sincerely hope so.
Journalist: Mr Mitsotakis, you seem to be having a very good week, starting already from the elections to today, I guess, but when do you get investment grade? When do you see the continuation of a good week for you? Are you having a good week?
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: I think we are having a good week, given the fact that we won again with an overwhelming majority. I’ve made the point frequently that the only obstacle towards obtaining investment grade was the political uncertainty surrounding the elections. We have a stable government with a four-year horizon, with a comfortable absolute majority in parliament and I am sure that we will get to investment grade sooner rather than later. Thank you.