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January 23, 2022

Papoulias continues Bucharest visit, voices concern for Greek situation

On the second day of his visit to Bucharest, Greek President Karolos Papoulias met with chamber of Deputies Speaker Roberta Anastase and voiced concern about what is happening in his country, where angry protests against a tough austerity package continued yesterday. “I cannot hide that my mind goes to Greece at the moment. A very critical vote for Greek economy is underway. I am concerned with this process in the Greek Parliament,” Papoulias told Anastase. The Deputies’ Speaker said after the meeting that she shared some of Romania’s experience in passing austerity measures with the Greek leader. In a meeting later on with Senate Speaker Mircea Geoana, Papoulias said both the Greek crisis and the Romanian one are in fact a crisis of European institutions. “This is a test for the EU, to see if one of its fundamental principles, that of solidarity, can help it go over difficult moments,” the Greek leader said.

In an interview to daily ‘Adevarul’ published yesterday, Papoulias spoke more about his country’s problems and the risks that the Greek crisis spreads throughout Europe. “The financial problems of an EU member states can quickly become a threat to the European Union. Greece is undergoing a deep economic reform process. It’s a difficult and painful task that requires care to protect the most vulnerable part of our crisis-hit society: the unemployed and retirees,” Papoulias said. As for his opinion about the European response to the Greek crisis, the president said this was “not the time for uncertainties or dilemmas” and that EU member states must go beyond narrow national interests and focus on wider common interests.

In the interview, Papoulias also spoke of ties with Romania, saying that the two countries have a similar vision on many issues and have strong economic relations. “Our wish is to increase this cooperation. Increasing EU fund absorption rate, improving the legal framework and encouraging the business environment will enhance economic ties between the two countries,” he said. The Greek leader also voiced support for Romania and Bulgaria’s Shengen accession and for EU enlargement into the West Balkans.

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