The Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on Tuesday, 22 January 2019 on Alpha 98,9 Radio to the journalists Dimos Verykios and Spyros Lambrou, stated, among others, the following:
On the Prespes Agreement:
The ratification of the Prespes Agreement will be achieved with increased majority. Unfortunately, Mr. Mitsotakis covers unacceptable violent and intimidating practices and he places himself on the extreme-right line, which is set by someone else than himself. We witness the prevalence of Samaras’ logic; the very person who had “murdered” the political presence of Kon. Mitsotakis is the one actually guiding his son at the moment. This is not right, especially since no arguments exist.
Remember that at the beginning, the ND party asked for a clause with a geographical specification, and the geographical specification exists. Afterwards, they raised the issue of nationality and ethnicity; anyone understands what the meaning of nationality and what the meaning of ethnicity is, as well as that of self-definition. This issue was explicitly addressed by our neighbouring country’s parliament, and by Mr. Zaev himself; their language and history are not related to the Greek history and language. What we do is resolve a serious issue, linked to a turbulent area. Our goal is to establish calmness on our northern border. There is no need for nationalisms to be shaped. We want to set this issue straight, promote financial growth in the region, and establish friendly relations. Greek citizens should understand that we managed to resolve the issue, defending our national interests and our history, since it was our neighbours who changed their Constitution.
On how the relations with ANEL and P. Kammenos have been shaped:
We had excellent relations with Panos Kammenos when I was the secretary of SYRIZA, but also at the Ministry. Our differences were vast, as are our ideological origins, however we both persisted on a common goal, to lead the country out of the memoranda. SYRIZA’s positions on the Macedonian issue are well known, since 1992, and they are given. The risks we take are in favour of our country. Being still is not a good thing.
On Greece-FYROM defence cooperation:
Defence cooperation is not independent of financial cooperation. We create a safety net in the neighbourhood, which is reinforced by growth. Financial growth in the region, the improvement of the peoples’ standard of living and cooperation shape the security conditions.
On the developments in the centre-left:
I insist on the view I had expressed in the past; there are two different worlds. On one hand we have the progressive world, the world of labour, which defends the social state and national interests, free from nationalism. The world which defends the increase of the standard of living and supports those social classes which were more affected in the past period. On the other hand, we have extreme neo-liberalism, extreme nationalism, and far-right rhetoric expressed by the ND party. These two worlds will clash at political level. The country’s progressive powers have to adopt a stance and this circumstance will lead to rearrangements. This progressive pole should not be guided by narrow-minded party perceptions. It is vital to achieve this osmosis and I believe that this will be to the benefit of Greek society and the progressive, radical party, which defends the social state and is against extreme neo-liberalism and nationalism.