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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas’ Interview to the “Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Channel 1”

On Wednesday, 26 September 2018, the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave to the “Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Channel 1” and to the journalist Kostas Arvanitis, stated the following:

Regarding the refugees issue and the funds’ audit:

A discussion has begun regarding the funds’ audit, on the occasion of Mr Kostarakos’ statements, who talked about 1,6 billion Euros. These funds are sufficient until 2021. Answers have been given by Mr Vitsas as well, explaining the amount of funds absorbed until today, the procedures used and the type of the conducted audits. Regarding the funds that were administered by the Ministry of National Defence, there are specific contracts and a specific way, through which they were implemented. From the time I assumed my duties, we managed very quickly, with the cooperation of the administrative authority, to proceed with the contracts concerning Moria’s RIC. The same applies to food supply and the restoration of problems, which exist in some RICs, as a whole. The information we have is that there is nothing to concern the administration, as a whole. If a mistake has been made in any procedure, then that is a different matter. In any case, we talk about procedures that are extremely strict. There is constant and systematic audit, both on behalf of the European Commission and the European Commissioner for Competition.

Regarding the NGOs:

In no way do I wish to belittle NGOs contribution, since they offered their services under very hard conditions, when the flows were really intense. However, there are exploitation cases as well. Games are often played, in the name of humanism. Regarding the funds allotted by the EU, this is done through the UNHCR and then they are forwarded to the NGOs. In other words, we did not administer money included in these funds, but we can conduct audits. There are cases in which we conducted audits of NGOs and these cases have been referred to the public prosecutor.

Regarding the situation in Moria and the refugees issue:

Regarding the refugees issue, SYRIZA managed to keep the Greek citizens away from the Golden Dawn party’s views. We must acknowledge that we had the support of the majority of the people. It is an answer to the far right agenda rising in Europe, which also adopts the dangerous notion of promoting the far right views. This answer aims to put a stop to the reinforcement of the far right parties.

We believe it is important to strike a blow at the traffickers, to Europeanise the asylum procedures and most important, to deal with the original causes that give rise to the migration flows, that is, to put an end to conflicts and wars.

Regarding patriotism and the Armed Forces:

Patriotism differs from nationalism and national exploitation. The Armed Forces have a very specific goal and we, as a political body, have contributed to that. Their doctrine is to preserve peace, reinforcing at the same time their deterrent capability. It is an honour for all Armed Forces that during a difficult, financially speaking, period, they kept the well-trained spirit and ensured stability, without permitting anyone to threaten our sovereign rights. At the same time, they demonstrate an enormous social work all over Greece.

Retroactive pay will be conducted by the end of the year. Obviously, the Armed Forces members must be further supported, as well as all the Greek working people, taking the existing particularities into consideration.