Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held talks in Athens today with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi focusing on bilateral ties, challenges in the Mediterranean region, and the issue of climate change and environmental protection, on the sidelines of the EUMED summit.

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen also attended the summit, an indication of the importance Brussels attaches to issues concerning the Mediterranean region.

Draghi and Mitsotakis confirmed the exceptionally good relations between the two countries and the prospect of deepening cooperation on both the bilateral and regional levels, with an emphasis on economic ties.

Draghi is a former president of the European Central Bank, a post he held from 2011-2019, when Greece’s economic crisis was in full swing.

The two leaders discussed challenges in the Mediterranean, and the issue of migration in particular.

The talks also focused on the issue of the environment and climate change, its repercussions in the Mediterranean, and the need for bilateral cooperation on these issues.

Mitsotakis and Draghi also discussed the course of the COVID-18 pandemic and vaccine rollouts.

Although the EUMED summit will focused on climate change, environmental protection, and the need for cooperation between the Mediterranean countries in confronting common challenges, another major issue on the agenda was the prospect of a refugee crisis after recent developments in Afghanistan, and how to manage such an eventuality.

The participation of  Von Der Leyen is indicative of the importance that both the government and Brussels attach to regional problems and challenges.

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