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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-05-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Putin arrives in Athens, with 1.5-hour delay
  • [02] Joshka Fischer: Grexit is finished...a new spirit from Greece will spread to Europe

  • [01] Putin arrives in Athens, with 1.5-hour delay

    Russian President Vladimir Putin's plane landed at Athens' international airport just before 17:00 on Friday, with a delay of about 1.5 hours from the original arrival time announced.

    Emerging from the plane, Putin was met by National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos representing the Greek government and a welcoming committee, that included an military honor guard detachment, while the Russian president's plane also had an honorary escort of two Hellenic Air Force F-16s after it entered Athens air space.

    [02] Joshka Fischer: Grexit is finished...a new spirit from Greece will spread to Europe

    The world is changing and Europe was in danger of "missing the train" unless Europeans remain united, former German foreign minister and vice chancellor Joschka Fischer said on Friday, while addressing an Economist conference in Athens. With regard to Greece, he said that the refugee crisis had helped many European appreciate the country's strategic significance and expressed the opinion that the speculation on Greece's exit from the eurozone was now over, though the crisis had taught some valuable lessons.

    "The Greek crisis was not in vain: from Greece will come a spirit for a new start and this will spread throughout Europe. I believe this," he said.

    "The world is changing, not just on a political level but also on technological and economic level - the fundamental structures are changing, shifting. Europe, on its part, has its own crisis to face. Therefore, we Europeans must be very careful that we don't miss the train. No one in the 21st century will look after our interests. If Europeans do not stay united, if we don't correct our problems, if we are not a part of this change, then others will be and we will be the losers," Fischer said.

    Commenting on the agreement reached between Greece and the institutions earlier in the week, Fischer said it was a "good agreement" and another reason for optimism, with elements that will be combined in the framework of a long-term agreement after 2018. He also spoke of a "sea change" in attitudes to Greece within Germany, with many now realising the country's strategic significance.

    "Essentially, your borders coincide with the external borders of Europe. We cannot correct the problem of pressure from migration flows in every country. We will either do it together or we will all pay a very high price," he said.

    "I consider that the whole discussion on 'Grexit' or Greece's exit from the eurozone is over, forget it. Especially since the start of the refugee crisis, understanding of Greece's significance has been restored in the capitals of the major countries, especially in Berlin," he noted.

    On the economic front, he said that correcting the long-term fiscal crisis would be "useful" and noted that the lack of growth in Europe did not concern Greece alone.

    "We must overcome the problem of lack of growth. I think that without growth it will be very difficult to move forward."

    Referring to the upcoming UK referendum on whether to remain in the European Union, he said that June 23 will be a "critical moment for Britain and Europe" and predicted that a 'leave' vote would be a disaster for the United Kingdom and a serious crisis for the EU.

    "Whatever the British decide, we must reinvent Europe, find a new narrative together; we cannot continue in the way we have been doing in recent years. The status quo is not sustainable," Fischer added.

    Fischer said that current Europeans had lessons to learn from the founders of the European Union and needed to change the European system in the direction of a new start, in a world that was changing completely. For this, they needed to remain united, he stressed.

    "It was a great mistake on the part of my country to use the financial crisis in the Mediterranean in order to turn the residents of the Mediterranean into good Protestants. On the other hand, I think that the Mediterranean needs to understand the thinking of the northern Europeans," he added.

    "Greece is a wonderful country; I consider that it has huge potential that can be used. The specific crisis cannot continue forever. It will lead to the loss of an entire generation," he said.

    The Green party politician, who served as foreign minister under the government of Gerhard Schroeder, was a central speaker at the Economist conference "Intelligent Leaders Summit: Oxygenating the Future Through Digital Strategy" held in Athens on Friday.


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