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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Interview of The Alternate Minister of National Defence on the “Apeftheias” tv programme of Ert1 channel and to the journalists, Marion Michelidaki, Kostas Laskaratos and Nikos Mertzanis

The Alternate Minister of National Defence, Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on Friday, 15 February 2019, on the “APEFTHEIAS” TV programme of ERT1 channel and to the journalists, Marion Michelidaki, Kostas Laskaratos and Nikos Mertzanis, stated amongst others the following:

Regarding the arrangement of “red” loans:

It is an arrangement that protects a large number of “red” loans and primary residences. It involves people from the middle classes, who had got loans for a primary residence, as well as small business loans that have mortgaged a primary residence.

In previous years, recapitalizations took place at banks that were paid by the Greek people. We have supported the banking system throughout this period and I believe that now is the time for them to help the society as they ought. If the banking system does not make a contribution to society, then it may not operate. Apart from that, when the banks grant a loan, they should first assess its servicing prospects. There are also millions of loans that were granted to political parties, but no one says anything about it; they pretend as if they saw and know nothing.

Regarding private universities:

There are no private Universities in Europe; if there are any non-state non-profit ones, that is another matter. There is no way that a research is held at a private university for profit. New Democracy wants the establishment of fast-track universities. Knowledge is not in return for payment. There should not be confusion with the case of state universities, where an overseas student pays tuition fees. We have some of the best universities and we should support them. Knowledge does not constitute a product; as a matter of principle, I do not support payment. Our aim is to provide free access.

Regarding the election of the President of the Republic:

SYRIZA believes that the current President of the Republic should be also proposed for the following term of service. Prokopis Pavlopoulos honors with his presence our country and has helped a lot the Greek people at this difficult time with his term as President of the Republic.

Regarding the meeting between E. Apostolakis and H. Akar and the frequent Turkish exercises in the region:

Exercises have always been held; the issue is that there should be understanding and no problems are caused, either at rhetoric or practical level. We wish, with our stance, with our Armed Forces and their deterrent effect – and we achieved that in a critical period for our country – our country to be a pillar of stability and at the same time we contribute to the overall improvement of the relations between other countries. We defend peace, the harmonious co-existence and the co-development in the region.

Regarding the Cyprus EEZ:

We fully support the inalienable rights of the state of the Republic of Cyprus, as these result from International Treaties.

Regarding the amendment on F-16:

The decision on the upgrade of F-16 has been adopted and will go as planned; everything that has been provided for will be carried out under conditions of full transparency.

Regarding the progressive front:

The progressive front primarily involves the social basis, regardless of whether the political leaderships of all parties that form part of the framework will be judged based on this question at issue. All these people do not want to go through again the adventure of the previous period and this front to be presented both in Greece and at a European level to neoliberalism and the extreme-right wing. New Democracy, with its stance, serves very convincingly both.