Main opposition New Democracy (ND) president Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday spelled out his center-right party’s reasons for opposing the provisional Prespa agreement, during a meeting with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The influential German politician, in what’s expected to be her last term as chancellor, arrived in Athens on Thursday for a working visit and talks with Greek leadership, including with her one-time virulent detractor, leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
“Not just because this is the volition of a large majority of Greeks, but because it is a bad agreement, which instead of solving old problems in the Balkans can ignite new ones. And this position in non-negotiable,” Mitsotakis said after his meeting with Merkel at the German ambassador’s official residence in Athens.
Moreover, Mitsotakis, whose center-right ND party is leading Tsipras’ SYRIZA in all mainstream opinion polls by high single-digit or double-digit percentage point leads, added that he and Merkel were had a “sincere” conversation, “as forces of the European Peoples Party, who are traditionally in favor of the EU and don’t treat it as a flag of opportunity, know who to talk to each other.”
Beyond the Prespa agreement, he said discussions turned to fiscal issues, and pro-business ND’s plan to cut taxes, attract investment and push through reforms.
Moreover, Mitsotakis said he emphasized that he and his party are in favor of greater protection for Greece’s external borders, in touching on the migrant/refugee crisis. As such, he cited the need for immediate reforms to the national legislation regarding the asylum framework, in order for a handful of eastern Aegean islands to reduce the number of asylum seekers that landed there from the opposite Turkish coast.
“The (political forces) that are consistently in favor of Europe know how to honesty put forth their positions… Such a sincere discussion occurred today, that’s why I am thanking the chancellor for her visit, and I look forward to a substantive cooperation with her in the future,” the ND leader said.