Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ Doorstep Statement upon his arrival at the European Council in Brussels

The regular March European Council is taking place in a period of general geopolitical uncertainty, so it is quite obvious that the issues concerning Ukraine and Gaza will dominate the discussion.

On issues related to Ukraine, I want to reiterate once again that the European family remains united in its support for Ukraine to be able to defend itself against the blatant Russian invasion.

However, these issues have brought back to the table with even greater intensity the way in which Europe will be able to secure its strategic autonomy in practice. This effectively means more investment in armaments.

Greece is already a country that for many decades has been exceeding the defence spending target of 2% of national GDP. This is, unfortunately, not the case for other European countries.

Nevertheless, it is absolutely clear that if Europe really wants to remain shielded defensively, it will have to look at new ways of financing defense spending.

And I am specifically referring to the possibility for Europe to issue Eurobonds, which will be used exclusively for its defense security.

The time has come for us to be able to give substantial meaning to the very ambitious discussions we are having about the need for Europe, at the European level, to be able to ensure the defense and security of all European citizens. And I hope that today’s European Council will be an opportunity to start a meaningful discussion around these issues.

Regarding Gaza, I hope that this time we will be able to reach concrete conclusions, which will acknowledge that what is happening today in Gaza is a humanitarian disaster. Greece urgently calls for a ceasefire, which obviously must be accompanied by the full release of all hostages currently held by Hamas.

And I want to believe that we will be able, at the European level, to reach conclusions that will also discourage Israel from attacking Rafah, which will certainly cause an even greater humanitarian disaster.

And of course, Greece remains firmly committed to the logic of solving the Palestinian problem through the framework of a two-state solution. I believe that this issue will also be reflected in the conclusions of the European Council.

Finally, I want to express my satisfaction because we will discuss the issues that concern the primary sector and especially our farmers. The European People’s Party is the European political family that has the potential to put a brake on the possibly over-ambitious plans of some people for a green transition, which will ultimately hurt our farmers in the short term.

I am glad that this debate will take place and because I hope that the Council’s conclusions will reflect the need to support our farmers in the short term and help them make this ambitious green transition a reality, but at a pace which at the end of the day does not jeopardize their incomes and ultimately the sustainability of agricultural production itself.

Journalist: Will you discuss Turkey?

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: I believe that there will be a discussion on Turkey. There is a chapter on external relations and I think we could come to conclusions that reflect the current framework of EU-Turkish relations. We would look favourably on that.