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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Minister Panagiotis Rigas’ Interview On Macedonia 102 Fm (Ert) Radio Station And To The Journalists D. Kougioumtzopoulos And N. Ladianos

Alternate Minister Panagiotis Rigas’ Interview On Macedonia 102 Fm (Ert) Radio Station And To The Journalists D. Kougioumtzopoulos And N. Ladianos

The Alternate Minister of National Defence, Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on Macedonia 102 FM (ERT) radio station on Tuesday October 9th 2018, and to the journalists D. Kougioumtzopoulos and N. Ladianos, stated amongst other things the following:

Regarding the refugee issue:

I would suggest primarily to the main opposition party to deal with the refugee issue with due seriousness. It is not right to include issues affecting national interests and national cohesion into the sphere of politicking.

During the previous period, the Greek society and the Greek government made an effort within the framework of solidarity, the coexistence of societies, but mainly respect towards affected people.

The agreement between Turkey and the EU is obviously not the best possible one. However, compliance with the same is required, so that we would be able to manage the flows of immigrants and stability would exist in the region. There is an understanding and I believe it is in a good spirit; however Turkey should also act within the framework of the agreement and should not contribute to the creation of difficult situations.

Regarding the Prespa agreement:

We are awaiting the completion of all procedures. The agreement that has been signed provides for specific commitments and FYROM on its part, should abide by them. Mr. Zaev and his government realize that the extremist nationalism that prevailed in the neighbouring country, did not facilitate the resolution of problems, development, economic prosperity, but also stability in the region. And Greece has suffered from extreme right-wing rhetoric. I am not talking about the expression of an opinion by citizens that often involves emotion; I refer to nationalist cries and extreme positions.

Regarding the EEZ arrangements with Albania:

There are always difficulties when trying to solve a problem. I believe that our persistence in settling such issues on a mutually advantageous basis is going to end well. The choice made by the Government and SYRIZA to exercise a multidimensional foreign policy in light of development and stability has yielded results. That is the reason why Greece, despite the crisis that it has been through, is now regarded internationally as a pillar of stability in the wider region. Everyone accepts that and that is what we want to achieve in this case. The Balkans have been through a lot all these years, as a result of nationalisms, but also some wrong choices of international players; however, tomorrow should be a new day. It is in the interest of all people in the region that the Balkans would be the pleasant surprise of development in Europe in the upcoming period. We are the ones stepping in front of this effort.

Regarding the possible support of G. Boutaris’ candidacy for the Municipality of Thessaloniki:

The issue of candidacies is not just a matter of names. It is a matter of perception, keynote speech and broad consensus. Mr. Boutaris symbolizes a progressive perception and has shown a good democratic moral character that Thessaloniki and Macedonia are worthy of. I believe that regardless of any differences, because you cannot agree about everything, his contribution is currently great. Therefore, it is important that good sense prevails, regardless of who will be the leader – I would like to hope that Mr. Boutaris will be the one – because we have to have a democratic presence in the city of Thessaloniki.