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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate minister Panagiotis Rigas’ interview on “NEWS 24/7 88.6” radio station

The Alternate Minister of National Defence, Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on “NEWS 24/7 88.6” radio station on Sunday October 14th 2018, and to the journalist Nicole Leivadari, stated amongst other things the following:

Regarding what New Democracy party claims about the Government’s cohesion:

For three and a half years now, New Democracy party questions the cohesion of the Government and the ability of the latter to govern. The whole issue has become a joke; the claims of misgovernment are contradicted by reality itself. The memorandum and supervision era has come to an end; tomorrow will be a new day and that will be reflected in the State budget for the following year. The Government will complete its term and whatever the Prime Minister announced at the Thessaloniki International Fair will be implemented. We will only have countermeasures now; there will be no measures.

Regarding the Minister of National Defence, P. Kammenos’ stance:

Panos Kammenos’ opinion about the name issue is well-known, since SYRIZA and the Independent Hellenes (ANEL) first established a framework of cooperation for the Country’s exit from the crisis. Well, we are moving forward. We insist on the implementation of the Prespa agreement and we are expecting from the neighbouring country to complete whatever has been agreed. As regards the Greek side, I have already said that everything will be decided on the Parliament. Members of the Parliament will be required to take a clear position, without being able to hide behind pretexts on co-governance. It is a national issue; this agreement will prove positive for the security and development of the Balkans.

Regarding the Member of the Parliament, Spyros Danellis’ proposal about governmental cooperation between SYRIZA – The River – Movement for Change (KINAL) at the current government term:

Mr. Danelis is a politician with a mind of his own and forward-looking concepts. He is a man, who gives thoughts to chew upon. However, in order for this specific proposal to be able to have a realistic content at the moment, there should be a programme agreement. It is entirely possible that other majorities are made up; however, as long as KINAL and its leadership persist for instance in this approach and this programme framework, I do not believe that there are chances that this proposal will be implemented.

Regarding the rise of the Extreme Right in Europe in view of the European elections:

First of all, New Democracy should have already asked for the dismissal of Mr. Orbàn and his party from the European Popular Party. Mr. Orbàn has gone so far as to send a letter of thanks to Golden Dawn political party, because it endorsed his positions in the vote in the European Parliament about the violations of the rule of law and European values by Hungary. Any differentiation is no longer enough; we are talking about coexistence with extreme right ideas in the same European family here; New Democracy and the entire EPP find themselves exposed.

A big responsibility for the rise of the Extreme Right rests with the European Right, which – aiming at petty political benefits – often adopts the extreme right agenda and rhetoric on a number of issues, such as the labour and social rights and the refugee issue. It is well known though that people prefer real over fake and this method has helped or gives rights to the Extreme Right. In Greece, SYRIZA – but also the Greek society itself – has stood in the way of the Extreme Right and of such practices in the previous years.

Regarding the prospect for setting up a wider progressive front:

SYRIZA is currently working on this. We have played a key role in the formation and we participate in the Progressive Alliance within the European Parliament, as well as in the proceedings of the European progressive forum. These are initiatives, where wider progressive political forces from the European Left, the Greens and the Social Democrats meet. In Greece, there is a strong mismatch, since the Movement for Change (KINAL) has opted for a strategy and the expression of a word, consisting in its participation in an anti-SYRIZA front. The choice made by Ms. Gennimata and her staff is not in line with what is happening in Europe. The president of the Social-Democrats himself, Mr. Bullmann, has also commented on this in the European parliament.