N. Panagiotopoulos: Developments in Ukraine highlight the need for substantial European strategic autonomy
Developments in Ukraine highlight the need for substantial European strategic autonomy. Autonomy in decision making, autonomy in choices, autonomy in action.
We must act as a strong and cohesive political player to uphold the values and principles that underpin our democracies, to take greater responsibility for our own security, and to uphold international peace with our partners. Now is the time to act together. This was stressed by the Minister of National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos in an interview with the newspaper “Kathimerini”.
“Greece,” he said, “has always been a pioneer for a Europe of defense.”
In the last two years, N. Panagiotopoulos stated that “Greece has been forced to spend billions of euros to improve the combat capability of the Armed Forces, as we are forced due to the strategic security challenges we face in our immediate neighborhood and beyond.”
He pointed out that “it is time for EU member states to spend more on collective EU defense. I think it is a positive development that several Member States, including Germany, have stated that their intention to increase their defense budgets “.
Referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he stressed that “it not only brought war to 21st century Europe in terms of blatant violations of international law and international legitimacy”, but “is also a key blow to the security architecture of Europe”.
“The international community must make it absolutely clear that in the case of Ukraine there will be no acceptance of accomplishments. The restoration of legitimacy is a unique and necessary condition for any solution to be reached,” he said.
Regarding the assistance to Ukraine, N. Panayotopoulos stated that “Ukraine has sent a formal request for assistance to all EU and NATO member states. After consultation with our partners and allies, and in accordance with the decision of the Council “Europe’s decision to send defense equipment, medical supplies and significant humanitarian aid through Poland was decided by KYSEA.”
“We are on the side of Ukraine, we are on the side of peace, legitimacy and democracy. Greece supports all Western capitals in imposing sanctions on Russia. We care about the protection of the Greek community, and we strengthen Ukraine diplomatically, humanitarianly and defensively “added N. Panagiotopoulos.
For the strengthening of the Armed Forces, he stressed that “it is a necessary condition for the shielding of the country”. As he characteristically said, “it is not complete with the Belharra frigates and Rafale aircraft” and added: “We continue our course and record tangible and measurable results”.
“Our effort is continuous and aims to strengthen the Armed Forces, which are already capable, combative and deterrent,” said the Minister of National Defense.
Regarding the Greek-Turkish and his recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, N. Panagiotopoulos pointed out that “it is always good to have an open channel of communication at the level of Defense Ministers”.
“There is,” he continued, “a commitment from both sides to activate this channel of direct communication immediately in order to defuse any tension that may arise in the future.”
“The de-escalation in our relations with Turkey requires respect for international law, the sovereignty and sovereign rights of each country, as well as the principle of good neighborliness. Only if these conditions are met can we discuss activities under the Confidence Building Measures.” “concluded the Minister of National Defense.