Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of the east Mediterranean country’s accession to the then European Economic Community (EEC), today’s European Union.
Mitsotakis, the son of late prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, cited the New Year’s proclamation of 1981 by Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis – then the president of the republic – ushering in Greece’s membership into the core of Europe.
“With the accession into the European family, Greece becomes equal with the other great European countries, as it will have the same vote with them … we will, therefore, emerge from our eternal isolation, and we will be relieved of the need to seek protectors and guardians,” Karamanlis proclaimed at the time.
The younger Mitsotakis, whose center-right government has been in power since July 2019 and throughout the entire Covid-19 pandemic, emphasized that Karamanlis’ straight-forward words on New Year’s Day in 1981 encompassed the strategic benefits of Greece’s membership in a united Europe as the 10th state of the EEC.
Mitsotakis added that Constantine Karamanlis’ vision was not only met with difficulties, but with outright objections. Nevertheless, practically the entire spectrum of Greece’s political world eventually embraced the European vision of the liberal political formation, as he said, referring to the New Democracy (ND) party, which the latter founded in 1974.
“And it’s true that the country’s European course was served by all the subsequent governments; sometimes with greater responsibility, and other times with less responsibility. However, always with stability and consistency… The one and only exception, unfortunately, was when for a brief moment our future in a strong and united Europe was threatened, dangerously so: in 2015, when vile populism and political inadequacy brought us one step before an exit from the European alliance. But even during that disastrous junction, ND was first among the patriotic and progressive forces that kept Greece standing and on the side of its partners.”