Spain, Greece aspire to be engine for strong Mediterranean in EU

Athens, May 10 (EFE).- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his Greek counterpart and host, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on Monday in Athens cemented an alliance based on their two countries’ common interests in the European Union and designed to transform them jointly into the “engine” that will achieve a strong Mediterranean region in the European community.

“Without a strong and united Mediterranean, there is no Europe,” said Sanchez at the meeting with Mitsotakis before the two leaders participated in the Delphi Economic Forum.

This was the first time the pair had met in the Greek capital although they already had gotten to know each other at numerous summits – the most recent of them last weekend in Oporto – and their aim was to strengthen the good relationship that they say exists between their governments despite the fact that the two men belong to different political groupings.

Also uniting them in a special way are the common causes that they defend within the EU such as those concerning migration policy and Digital Green Certificates (DGC).

The DGC will be accepted in all EU member states and will help to ensure that Covid-19 restrictions currently in place can be lifted in a coordinated manner. Every EU citizen or third-country national legally in the EU and in possession of a DGC, will be exempted from travel restrictions in member states in the same way as citizens of the member state he/she is visiting.

These were two of the main issues discussed by the two men at their meeting, as they said at a public appearance at which they promised to work together to defend their mutual interests.

That common cause, Sanchez said, is essential in the face of migration pressures that the two nations are facing and the Brussels negotiations leading toward a Migration and Asylum Pact.

Mitsotakis expressed his concern over elements of that pact such as the proposals affecting front-line migrant recipient nations and he called on Turkey to control that flow and on Europe to resettle migrants in a fairer manner among EU member states.

Regarding the DGC, Sanchez said that this is a “basic” document that will be approved next month not only for the impact it will have on tourism but also in facilitating general mobility among EU residents as coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Both leaders spent a significant amount of time on this matter during their later participation in the Delphi Economic Forum, where they called for restoring freedom of movement in the EU and facilitating travel without travelers having to undergo quarantines in member states during the summer.

In analyzing the evolution of the vaccination campaign, they expressed optimism despite the fact that they feel the EU must not let down its guard because the virus continues to circulate, and they linked the immunization of the public with economic recovery.

A key factor in achieving that, they agreed, is the funding allocated by the EU, which Sanchez at the Forum called a “landmark” in the process of community integration.

The new economic policy, fiscal policy, the conference on the future of Europe and the EU’s southern zone were elements that both leaders said were areas in which they could increase their cooperation.

Spain and Greece want this common stance on matters of mutual interest to spread throughout the countries of the Mediterranean basin, which they say must play an essential role in the future of Europe.

“We in Greece and Spain are decided upon not letting this opportunity go by, on promoting the needed change and transitions. Our countries are going to be the engine of that change. We’re already under way,” said Sanchez at the meeting with his Greek counterpart.

In the review they made of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, they discussed the circumstances in Libya and Sanchez expressed Spain’s intention to support the territorial integrity of Greece.

He also emphasized the need to resume the top-level dialogue between the EU and Turkey.

Despite verifying the good bilateral relationship, Mitsotakis and Sanchez believe that there is still quite a bit of potential to develop this further, particularly in the areas of trade and investment.

That is what Sanchez said before citing the sectors where he sees this potential, namely energy, tourism, air and maritime transportation management and maritime industry.


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