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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Minister Panagiotis Rigas’ Interview On “Alpha 989” Radio Station

The Alternate Minister of National Defence, Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on "ALPHA 989" radio station today, Wednesday October 3rd 2018, and to the journalists Dimos Verykios and Spyros Lambrou, stated amongst other things the following:

Regarding New Democracy’s stance:

A powerful and reliable opposition is essential in a democracy. New Democracy’s stance is not just non-serious, but it is sometimes antisocial too. For a very long time, it keeps on calling for new elections. They have gone as far as to beg Mrs. Merkel not to give in to the Greek government’s demands; demands in favor of the Greek society. They cannot take it any longer; they cannot accept that there is a government in the country – those odd left-wing people - that managed to get the country out of the memorandum and supervision. Today, the opposition allegedly remembered its social profile; Mr. Mitsotakis in fact visited yesterday the refugee relocation and identification camp in Samos. Let us remember that they are in line with Orbàn and the toughest of the Europeans with regard to the refugee issue. Let us remember their petty political stance on national issues and what they were saying when our two officers were in Turkey. New Democracy is acting adventurously towards the Greek society, showing no respect to the sacrifices of the Greek people all these years.

Regarding New Democracy’s representative, Ms. Maria Spyraki:

Ms Spyraki claims that she ran into Mr. Zaev and had a coffee. That is not bad; however, the question is why the opposition is stealthy, whilst it was accusing us, us who were always having open meetings. Why didn’t they inform us? Or why there was no concertation between us?

Regarding the refugee issue:

There has been an agreement between EU and Turkey that we are trying to abide by and implement it, despite its difficulties. In my opinion, the agreement has helped to some extent. There is Europe that keeps its borders closed and has thrown the matter exclusively to the initial countries of reception; that is its perception. If a meaningful solution is to be found at some point, it is absolutely necessary to have a different approach on all issues regarding the refugee question and the Prime Minister said it himself at the UN.

As regards the cost: First of all, the amount of 1.6 billion euro that has already been drawn, involves the meeting of needs up to 2021. In particular, the funds involving the Ministry of National Defence represent only a small percentage of the entire amount and their management is in compliance with all necessary actions. All required information is available online at “Diavgeia” («Transparency») website and all audits required by the European Commission, which are indeed very tough, have been performed. It is significant that in some cases, while the need for accelerating the procedures emerges, the strictness of the rules makes things difficult. Detailed information has been provided both by our Ministry and by the Ministry of Immigration Policy and the appropriate Authority of the Ministry of Finance that administers the NSRF is to do the same in the near future. All this fuss by the opposition is not grounded on real facts; absolutely not.

Regarding pensions:

So far, what we have already committed ourselves to, has been done in practice. It has been a tough agreement, with a gun at our back at that time. However, we have made a huge effort and we managed to usher the country in a new era. As regards the pensions, no cuts are required. More and more European officials acknowledge that it is a budgetary measure, rather than a structural measure. Everyone should be involved in the country’s way back to growth. People may have doubts and concerns and we shouldn’t blame them; however it accepts what we are doing at all times.