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

At the Special European Council that is about to start, we will be dealing primarily with foreign policy issues, but also with issues concerning the competitiveness of the European economy. With regard to foreign policy issues, I would like to make three points about the issues that will be discussed.

First of all, as regards developments in the Middle East, the unequivocal condemnation of Iran’s attack against Israel will be accompanied by the encouragement of all members of the European Council to do everything in our power to ensure that this crisis is defused, does not spread and does not turn into a regional conflict.

Secondly, I express my satisfaction that the situation in Lebanon, a country which is also at the centre of great turmoil and facing serious problems, will be discussed. Obviously the situation in Lebanon has a direct impact on Cyprus, as we have seen significant refugee flows from Lebanon to Cyprus. We support the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus to stop these flows, but at the same time we also want to be able to provide Lebanon with the support that it needs so much, so that this country, which has been through a lot, can finally achieve stability.

Thirdly, the European Council will discuss the issues concerning the EU-Turkey relationship, the progress report which the European Commission has prepared. For the moment, I am satisfied with the conclusions we have reached, which recognise the fact that relations between the European Union and Turkey may progress, but always within the framework of the decisions taken by the European Council in recent years.

Finally, in full agreement with the Republic of Cyprus, I welcome the fact that there is an explicit reference linking the progress of EU-Turkey relations with the progress that can be made on the Cyprus issue. With explicit references to the Security Council resolutions that define the only framework within which the Cyprus issue can be resolved. And, of course, on our part, we express our expectation that this new effort, which is being made under the new UN envoy, will finally be able to bear fruit.

Finally, on the issues concerning the competitiveness of the European economy – we will discuss them tomorrow – Enrico Letta has prepared a very interesting study on how we must change the functioning of the single market.

Indeed, the issues of competitiveness are also at the heart of our interests, because we believe that these issues are absolutely crucial for the next five years, the next European cycle which will open after the elections.

And, of course, I want to stress that the competitiveness of Europe is not an abstract concept, it is a concept that must ultimately be linked to the improvement of the living standards of all European citizens, something to which our country attaches great importance.