Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met in The Hague with the caretaker Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte.
At the beginning of the meeting, the two leaders made the following statements:
Mark Rutte: I want to welcome my dear friends and colleague from Greece here in my office. It is the second time I think I host you here, and I was your guest in November 2021. We are close allies. We work together in NATO, in the EU. We have similar positions on many issues. Bilaterally, I think we have an almost flawless relationship. When I was checking the list, there was not a lot on it in terms of where we have problems and many points of cooperation.
I think it’s particularly important that we have this meeting because next week we have a quite crucial European Council coming up, debating, obviously, Ukraine, discussion on, of course, the budget of the EU, also connected to money for Ukraine, but obviously also the issue of enlargement. We hope to get a positive decision on the Commission proposals, but not yet there, but also many other issues.
I also, of course, want to hear from you later this evening, your successful talks yesterday, at least that was what the press reported, very successful talks with Turkey. All these issues will be on the agenda. But again, Kyriakos, really thank you for visiting. It’s a real honour. We will also have some fun tonight. Hard work, first of all, but also some fun.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Thank you very much, Mark, for hosting me. I remember the first time I came to this office. I was just elected Prime Minister back in 2019. I made it a point to come and visit you at one of my first international trips. I cannot fail to notice that Greece has made significant progress since my time here in terms of our economic performance.
Mark Rutte: You have since then, and I should have mentioned this, you have left your non-investments. Sorry, I should have mentioned that Greece at this moment is now at investment grade.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Greece is back to investment grade according to the rating agencies.
Mark Rutte: I remember the discussions in 2011 and 2012 and 2015 that this could never happen.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: We’re making the point because you have been present throughout the crisis and I think it is good, especially for the most experienced colleagues in the Council, to notice the progress that Greece has made. We’re back to normal and this for us, of course, is a very important achievement.
But as you pointed out, our bilateral relationship is excellent and we always coordinate very closely ahead of crucial European Councils. This one is going to be an important one. We have very difficult issues on the agenda: Ukraine, the revision of the MFF and the adjustment that needs to be made taking into consideration the fact that we have new needs. But of course also the issues of enlargement. We care a lot about enlargement when it comes to the Western Balkans, as do you.
The more we coordinate, the less chances we have to spend our Saturday in Brussels. But, for as long as it takes, we want to come out from this summit with concrete conclusions. And of course, this always requires a significant preparation and consultations like the ones we were talking about.
During the extended talks that followed, the two delegations exchanged views on issues of European interest, ahead of next week’s European Council (14-15 December) and the EU-Western Balkans Summit that will precede it (13 December).
Regarding the discussion on the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework, the Prime Minister reiterated the need to reinforce resources for migration and natural disasters.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Mark Rutte exchanged views on the Western Balkans as well as on developments in the Middle East.
They also discussed the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Prime Minister informed Mr Rutte about the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Athens yesterday and the signing of the Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good- Neighbourliness.