Greece responded with "calmness, determination and national confidence against the illegal Turkish Navtex for unlawful exploratory drilling in areas of the Greek continental shelf," government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Thursday during a press briefing. "We cited international law, which is on our side, and we mobilised our allies, who were on our side," he added.
As Petsas noted, "we have demonstrated both our ability and our willingness to do whatever is necessary to defend our sovereign rights."
"The EU Foreign Affairs Council has instructed the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to draw up a list of measures, in other words sanctions, against the neighbouring country in the event that it continues its provocative actions. On the instructions of the prime minister, a demarche was filed and the United Nations, the European Union and NATO were informed," he said.
The prime minister also had contacts with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as the presidents of France, Russia, Egypt and Cyprus, the spokesperson pointed out. "We have made it clear in every direction that we will not tolerate a violation of our sovereign rights. We have also said that we want open channels of communication with the neighbouring country, especially in times of tension. We said - and it is a firm national position - that we want a dialogue to settle the only Greek-Turkish outstanding issue, which concerns the delimitation of the maritime zones between the two countries," he added.
Petsas noted that "Ankara took a positive step with the de-escalation it announced in relation to the illegal Navtex of July 21. But continuity and consistency, adherence to the principles of good neighbourliness and respect for international law and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea are required. Unfortunately, at the same time, Turkey issued Navtex for exploratory drilling in the Cypriot EEZ and the Barbaros is already in Cyprus. And that is unacceptable. It actively continues [Turkey's] unlawful behavior. Greece will continue to unwaveringly support the Republic of Cyprus, both in its efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue and in its efforts to tackle Turkish illegality. The prime minister has already spoken on the phone with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades."
Regarding the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy and developments in this field in general, the government spokesperson noted that "the unprecedented health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic cost the lives of more than 100,000 our European fellow citizens and plunged Europe into the deepest economic recession in its history. As the prime minister stressed, the Recovery Fund is not a simple reaction by Europe to the crisis. It breaks a political taboo. Because after so many months of negotiations a Fund of 750 billion euros was set up, guaranteed by the common budget of the member states of the European Union. That is, it gave birth to new European tools. And Greece can make use of these tools. To overcome the crisis faster. To achieve a dynamic recovery of the economy and the upliftment of society. To transform Greece in the coming years."
"The economic firepower provided by the Recovery Fund and the Financial Framework of the new Programming Period amounts to approximately 72 billion euros. About 19 billion in grants, 13 billion in loans and almost 40 billion euros will come from the Multiannual Financial Framework, through actions of the medium-term development programme (NSRF) and the Common Agricultural Policy for the period 2021-2027. And of course, the disbursement terms are the same for all 27 Member States of the European Union. We will not waste these resources, we will invest them to transform Greece," he added.
Petsas also pointed out that "it is a major challenge, and at the same time a historic opportunity, to formulate a coherent national plan in this direction. To establish strong and sustainable growth for all Greeks. To adapt the productive fabric of the country to the needs of the time to come and to support the labour sector. To complete the reforms we promised the Greeks with our government programme. To reduce taxes and insurance contributions, which put a brake on the real economy and fueled the informal economy. Bring new investments, new businesses and new and better paid jobs. An important role in the plan, which we will present, will be played by the flagship initiatives on tackling climate change, the fair transition to the post-coronavirus era, the green economy, digital modernisation and digital skills, which are also flagship initiatives of the European Commission. We already have the proposals and strategic directions of the Pissarides Commission. We are ready to listen to the scientific personnel of our country, the productive bodies, the world of work, the political forces that will want to submit structured proposals and, of course, the guiding recommendations of the European Commission."