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Press Office

Athens, 18 September 2023

1st Vice-President of Hellenic Parliament participates in Meeting of Chairpersons of Conference of Parliamentary Committees for EU Affairs

The Meeting of Chairpersons of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for EU Affairs, which took place in Madrid from 17 to 18 September 2023, launched the parliamentary dimension of the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council. Representing the Hellenic Parliament was its 1st Vice-President and Chair of the European Affairs Committee Ioannis Plakiotakis. 
Mr Plakiotakis intervened in all sessions of the Conference. First, however, he informed his counterparts about the tragic loss of the five Greeks, who lost their lives in the line of duty, participating in the Greek humanitarian aid mission in Libya.
In detail:
1. On the occasion of the recent unprecedented natural disasters: He expressed his concern about the management of these phenomena. What measures should have been taken and is there enough time to take these measures, in order to adapt to climate change. How can we provide relief as soon as possible to those affected, restore damaged infrastructure and address the unbearable burdens from the loss of agricultural capital and other businesses, and address the health impact? Where will we find the necessary funds and are the finite reserves of the European Solidarity Fund enough?
The Vice-President of the Hellenic Parliament emphasised that the floods, wildfires, drought, heatwaves, and all phenomena attributed to climate change, are just links in a chain of crises that feed off each other. 
Meaning: Geopolitical, health and migration crises that in turn threaten economic and social stability. Mr Plakiotakis said that we expect concrete legislative proposals and a potential revision of the Union’s multi-annual fiscal framework, to better protect our countries. 
Speaking about Greece in particular, he qualified as a positive development, the fact that according to Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, Greece’s extraordinary expenditures to tackle the impact of the recent natural disasters should not be taken into account when calculating the deficit. 
2. On the migrant issue: The Vice-President shared his experience as Minister for Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy in the last four years. He explained that addressing the migrant issue has been a costly task, a constant struggle against all criminal networks and everyone who supports them in any way. These networks put human lives at maximum risk, as they organise and execute crossings at the external sea borders of Greece and the EU in a completely unsafe way. 
He stressed that we can no longer justify countries that do not keep the agreements or resort to inhumane practices of instrumentalising human lives for the exchange of political influence, while emphasising that Greece and the other frontline Mediterranean Countries have shown flexibility and a constructive spirit to the acts of legislation that touch primarily on responsibility, recognising that compromise is necessary in a negotiation. And he called upon our partners to show a similar spirit when legislating on issues of solidarity. 
3. On Ukraine: Maintaining unity and the West’s support to Ukraine is “of crucial importance”, he said, and pointed out that Moscow is banking on the erosion of unity and cohesion in Europe, while also noting that Greece has taken a clear stance against Russia and the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the latter a means of dangerous revisionism and flagrant violation of international law.
4. On Cyprus: On the occasion of the Ukrainian issue, the Vice-President of the Parliament made special reference to the Cyprus issue, saying that Europe’s new wound cannot, however, erase or mitigate the ones that have remained open for a long time. On the contrary, it brings back memories and brings us face to face with our own responsibilities towards the Cypriot people who have been victims of an ongoing Turkish occupation in Cyprus. An occupation, which for 49 years has violated every rule of international legitimacy, including the UN Charter. The EU and the International Community must not repeat the mistakes of the past, he emphasised.



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