During their meeting in Rome yesterday, Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis and his Italian counterpart, the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister for European Affairs, Sandro Gozi, ascertained that “citizens look upon the European Union with skepticism. This is not the fault of citizens, but of the policies implemented by the Union. And we have to try to change this.”
During the meeting, which took place in the context of Xydakis visit to Italy, the Alternate Minister briefed his counterpart on the review of and developments regarding the Greek reforms. Moreover, the two men discussed the current situation in the refugee crisis and the EU’s negotiations with Turkey. The two Ministers welcomed the views of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to which the European countries unwilling to share responsibility should not enjoy the privileges deriving from their participation in the European Union.
The discussion extended to the need for creation of a European Asylum System, for implementation of the relocation plan by all of the European countries, without exception, and for safeguarding the sovereign rights of the member states in view of the creation of the European coast- and border-guard, the setting up of which is supported by both countries.
Xydakis noted the pivotal role that Turkey can play in resolving the refugee crisis. He also made mention of the unstable and turbulent geopolitical state of affairs in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, focusing on the need to stabilize the situation and bring peace to Syria and Libya.
“Athens and Rome can emerge as pillars of European culture and ideas,” Mr. Gozi noted, briefing Mr. Xydakis on the initiatives the Italian government intends to take ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for the European Union.
Xydakis’ subsequent meeting with the Undersecretary of Interior, Filippo Bubbico, took place in the same climate of cooperation. The collocutors agreed that Greece and Italy cannot bear the whole cost of the refugee crisis, and that the support of the European partners must be considered a given. Moreover, they jointly expressed the two countries’ desire – as agents of policy and ideas – to undertake initiatives, within the Union, in a new political direction.
Xydakis’ scheduled meetings in Rome concluded yesterday afternoon, with his meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister competent for European countries and Turkey, Vincenzo Amendola. The discussion, which took place in a very friendly atmosphere, reaffirmed the common stance of the two sides on issues concerning both the refugee crisis and the broader political and economic situation in Europe. They noted the need for Greece and Italy to move together to point up problems and the best solutions. The two men agreed that policy cannot be just numbers, but needs a new approach based on jobs, growth and creativity.
Amendola conferred to Xydakis Italy’s understanding on the issue of management of refugee flows, making the reminder that, two years ago, his country was in the same position Greece is in now, and noting that European Union assistance was late in coming at that time, too.
With his meetings in Rome, the Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs completed his tour, which was aimed at apprising the European partners of Greece’s positions on matters of common European interest, including the refugee crisis.