Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis kicked off a meeting of the cabinet on Friday with a new message concerning the rising tension in relations between Greece and Turkey, addressing the first in-person meeting of the full cabinet held since February 2020.
The meeting follows the prime minister's highly significant trip to the United States and his attendance of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which he said had sent a message that Greece is strong on a diplomatic, defence and energy level.
"It is precisely this message that President Biden, the vice president and the American Congress applauded, and was agreed with soon afterwards in Switzerland by the president of the European Central Bank, the director of the International Monetary Fund but also global business giants that now see Greece as a dynamic destination for investments," Mitsotakis said.
However, the prime minister pointed out, not everyone welcomed a stronger Greece, so that it was now being subjected to displays of bravado on the part of its neighbours.
"The more they threaten us, though, the more they expose themselves and I believe that for as long as they provoke us, they become marginalised. We have said many times that geography wants us to be side by side but they choose to stand against us, against international law, Europe and NATO," he added.
"We, therefore, have no reason to begin dialogue with what is absurd, the historically unfounded and, finally, leads nowhere. On the contrary, we always remain open to every approach that is based on international legality and good neighbour relations. This does not mean, however, that we will not defend our rights or that we will not all the unacceptable things that have been happening in our region over the recent months public, at all international fora," Mitsotakis stressed.
The prime minister then turned to domestic issues, saying the meeting would discuss nine acts of legislation affecting many aspects of public life, while announcing that measures to reduce high energy prices would lead to "more balanced bills" in spite of the ongoing energy crisis.
He pledged the government will support all citizens that are struggling, while noting that Greece's proposal for a 90 pct tax on excess energy company profits was praised in Davos. Mitsotakis referred to the violent incidents during Thursday's student protest in Thessaloniki, saying: "...some people want to get back in with sledgehammers and smash everything to bits, and the state will not allow this."
He especially emphasised the importance of the bill to help the Elefsina Shipyards carry out reforms and avoid bankruptcy, noting that it was a choice that "serves employment and growth, while also covering the needs of our Navy." He also singled out a draft bill on secondary healthcare, saying it complemented earlier legislation on primary care, as well as the measures for the emerging sector of Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity.