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

The first task of today’s European Council is to validate the choices for the top positions for the next European cycle.

As you know, the three political families, the European People’s Party, the European Socialists and the European Liberals, have agreed to nominate for these positions, for the Presidency of the European Commission, Mrs von der Leyen, for the Presidency of the Council for 2.5 years, as the Treaties stipulate, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, and for the position of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Prime Minister of Estonia, Mrs Kaja Kallas.

I hope that the European Council will accept these choices, so that the vote in the European Parliament for the confirmation of the President of the European Commission, Ms von der Leyen, can follow. It is, I think, very important that all these procedures are completed within the month of July, so that there are no delays in the next European cycle.

The next important issue that we will be dealing with will be the Strategic Agenda for the next five years, regarding the important policy issues that the European Union should address.

I am glad, because all the important Greek priorities are reflected in this text. A great deal of emphasis is placed on migration and external border protection issues, on the need for more defence cooperation, with the possibility of seeking funding opportunities from the European budget. Issues that have to do with competitiveness, but also issues that have to do with supporting the primary sector, our farmers, our livestock breeders and our fishermen.

A text which will also serve as a guide for the European Commission for the next five years.

We will also discuss in more detail the issues of common defence cooperation, where I will have the opportunity to reiterate the joint proposal that I have made with the Polish Prime Minister for the creation of a European air defence shield as a flagship project, I would say, which could mark a new step in European defence cooperation, at a time when we all recognise that Europe needs to do more to shield its common defence.

Inaudible question from journalist

I’m reasonably optimistic that this discussion will be completed during this European Council. As you know, the three main political families have come up with their proposals. I guess I need to stress that these are proposals and they need to be approved by the European Council. I’m sure we’ll have a fruitful and interesting discussion. I think it is recognised that we will benefit as Europe if we reach an early agreement.

I think it is equally important to discuss the Strategic Agenda for the next five years. This discussion is not just about the jobs and about who will occupy them, but it’s primarily about policies. This is what our European citizens care about. Issues such as migration, and in particular, the external dimension of migration, the cooperation when it comes to defence, issues related to European competitiveness. All these are issues which are raised in the Strategic Agenda, important priorities which will be reflected in the next European cycle.

Inaudible question from journalist

Three political families discussed between ourselves and are coming up with a proposal. At the end of the day, it is up to the European Council to make the decision. This proposal is a proposal that reflects the overriding majority of the Council members. Again, I need to stress that this is not an exclusive process. It was never our intention to exclude anyone or to offend anyone. I have a lot of respect personally for Giorgia Meloni, the Prime Minister of Italy. Italy is a very important country in the European Union. I’m sure we’ll address all these issues and concerns in the discussions that we will have. Thank you.