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Press Office

Athens, 30 January 2023

Launch of parliamentary dimension of Swedish EU Council Presidency

The COSAC Chairpersons meeting (29-30 January 2023) which was held in Stockholm, marked the opening of the parliamentary dimension of the Swedish Presidency of the EU Council. The Deputy Chair of the Committee of European Affairs Dimitris Kairidis represented the Hellenic Parliament.

Mr Kairidis in his interventions, in the first session concerning the security challenges of the EU, and in the second session relating to the priorities of the Swedish Presidency -in light of the incidents of the public burning of the Muslim holy book by far-right activists in Stockholm- raised the issue of the link between external and internal threats to the EU. He also reminded the participants that the Russian President Vladimir Putin has generously funded far-right and anti-European organisations within the EU, as well as the election campaign of Mr Erdogan, whose re-election he eagerly wishes.

"The burning of the Koran in this particular instance," Mr Kairidis noted, "on the one hand gives Erdogan an excuse to blame Sweden, blocking its accession to NATO, while on the other hand it puts Europe in confrontation with its Muslim citizens and the Islamic world, thus undermining public order and the European democracies themselves, which tend to confuse the right of free expression with the desecration of sacred symbols."

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, in her second intervention, commenting only on the Greek MP's statement, agreed that Mr Putin is trying to undermine the European democracies by various means. Quite important were also the condemnatory statements against Turkey by the Spanish, Portuguese and German delegations.

In the sidelines of the Conference, Mr Kairidis met with the representatives of the parliaments of the Esouthern countries of the EU (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Malta). The main topic of discussion was the strengthening of the cooperation of the southern European front. He also met with Mrs Ivanna Klympush – Tsinntsadze, President of the Commission for European Integration of the Parliament of Ukraine.


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