The European Council meeting that will start shortly is called upon to take crucial decisions for the future of our European family.
The first issue on our agenda will be EU enlargement. Greece supports the European Commission’s proposals on enlargement, with particular emphasis on the need to open accession negotiations with Ukraine.
I hope and wish that we will be able to overcome any opposition so that the European Council unanimously sends a clear message that Ukraine’s future is within the European family.
At the same time, we will also discuss the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework, so that we can secure additional resources for crucial political priorities of the European Union.
I want to focus in particular on the need to increase resources for the management of the migration problem. It is a fact that when we took funding decisions under the previous Multiannual Financial Framework three years ago, we did not take into account the increase in migration pressures and the need to allocate more resources in order to protect the Union’s external borders.
So once the European Union, at the European Council level, has moved in this direction, it is absolutely necessary to add resources for the protection of the external borders of the European Union and I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to take steps in this direction.
It is also very important to add further resources to address the effects of the climate crisis. Greece has always been one of the pioneers in trying to convince all European countries that we need more resources, more money to deal with the effects of the climate crisis.
Finally, we will also have the opportunity to discuss developments in the Middle East. I would like to believe that we will be able to come to conclusions that reflect, on the one hand, the European Union’s firm position that Israel has the right to self-defence, but on the other hand, we also want to express our growing concern about the significant civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.
It is very important for the European Union to be able to formulate a unified position on an issue which, after all, concerns our immediate neighbourhood, concerns the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Finally, I would like to express my satisfaction regarding the successful outcome of the negotiations in Dubai, in the framework of COP28. The climate deal that has been reached on a transition away from fossil fuels is an important milestone in the global effort to reduce the effects of the climate crisis.
Greece will remain at the forefront of this battle by significantly increasing the penetration of Renewable Energy Sources, improving its performance in terms of the energy efficiency of buildings and we are glad that even at the last moment the global community managed to reach a very important agreement for the future of our entire planet.