Addressing the EU General Affairs Council today, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Katrougalos stressed the need for social deepening of European integration as the only path to regaining citizens’ trust in the European endeavour. This requires not just effective implementation of the new European Pillar of Social Rights, but also social reorientation of economic governance through binding indexes for poverty, unemployment and inequalities in the EU Economic Semester.
Mr. Katrougalos highlighted the activation of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the defence sector as a very positive development, as it promotes the autonomy of European defence policy and the EU’s role as a global actor. He also stressed the need to enhance crisis management capability in non-military sectors such as hybrid threats, border control and maritime security.
On the subject of migration, Mr. Katrougalos pointed out that the increase in flows in the eastern Mediterranean is not seasonal in nature and must be confronted as a European problem rather than one to be dealt with by the member states directly impacted. This requires not only faithful implementation of any decisions already taken to promote European solidarity, but also a new asylum policy that fairly distributes the burdens of migration challenges.
Regarding the Brexit, he congratulated the negotiating team on the progress that has been made, stressing the need for similarly transparent and effective solutions in the effort toward the new UK-EU partnership. During the informal luncheon on enlargement issues, Mr. Katrougalos supported the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, depending on the progress they have shown in adoption of the acquis communautaire, on the self-evident condition of respect for European values, good neighbourly relations and international law, including minority rights.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hellenic Republic