The Greeks are faithful to the European course and they are determined to contribute to the creation of a strong European Union, because they are real Europeans, Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos said on Monday in a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

Pavlopoulos underlined that their meeting is taking place at an extremely critical time for the future and the prospects of the European Union and added: «We Greeks, who with so many sacrifices – for which we are not entirely responsible – remain faithful to our European course, are determined to contribute to the creation of a strong European Union. A European Union with a federal structure based on the foundations of democratic principle and representative democracy.»

More specifically, Pavlopoulos referred to the role that the EU must play in defending and consolidating the fundamental principles of peace, solidarity, democracy and justice, in particular social justice, and expressed his reassurance that Poland and its president are committed to the same European vision and ideals.

He stressed that the main task in fulfilling this historic European mission is to respect the European values of solidarity and democracy at all crucial levels, such as coping with the deep and prolonged economic crisis, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the refugee issue.

Regarding the Cyprus problem – which he stressed was primarily an international and European issue – Pavlopoulos noted that «it must be resolved as soon as possible in a way suitable for a full member of the EU and its inner core, the Eurozone. International law, and especially European law, he added, does not tolerate the existence of a member-state with reduced sovereignty, and thus cannot tolerate occupying troops and third-party guarantees on Cyprus.

Regarding Turkey, Pavlopoulos said: «We support Turkey’s European perspective. But it should also respect respect international and European law, and therefore the Law of the Sea, as well as the Treaty of Lausanne.

Pavlopoulos also referred to the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), expressing Greece’s support for its European perspective, barring «its persistence in the use of a name that not only flagrantly falsifies history but also manifests irredentism – and is an indirect dispute of the status quo regarding the borders». This directly contravened both European law and the European acquis and undermined FYROM’s European perspective, he added.

Finally, on Albania, he underlined: «We support the European perspective of Albania. However, its systematic violation of international and European law – namely, fundamental rights, with key examples being minority rights and the right to property – also undermines its European perspective.»

On his part, the Polish President referred to the challenges that the EU is currently facing and was particularly concerned with the Brexit issue, underlining the need to keep doors open. On the enlargement to the Balkan region, he argued that the prospect of a European vision for both FYROM and Albania should be kept alive, stressing that the doors should remain open, motivating them to fulfill the accession conditions.

He also spoke about combating corruption, crime, law reforms and respect for human rights, and added that we must convince them that these changes will lead to a European perspective.

Pavlopoulos also thanked the President of the Republic for Greece’s contribution to Poland’s efforts to become a permanent member of the Security Council for the years 2018-2019 and noted that from this position, his country would contribute wisely to issues such as the Cyprus problem, the issue of FYROM and the Middle East.

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