Mitsotakis: NATO unanimously supports Ukraine

NATO is “absolutely united” in supporting Ukraine, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters on the sidelines of the alliance’s summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Asked about sanctions against Russian gas exports, Mitsotakis said: “We have to be very careful to ensure that these measures do not cause more harm to European citizens than to Russia. I believe that now we should focus on ensuring that all members of the alliance join the sanctions.”

The Greek Prime Minister said that “it is very important that because of this crisis, many members of the European Union realize that Europe must expand its geopolitical presence and increase defense spending.”

“Greece is a country that has long spent more than 2% of its GDP on defense (2.8% in 2020 and almost 6% in 2021). European strategic autonomy is fully compatible with NATO. And I expect this strong relationship to take concrete shape at the Madrid summit in June,” Mitsotakis said. Regarding the sanctions, Mitsotakis said he thinks their package is strong:

“We must focus on all members of the alliance participating in the sanctions so that there are no exceptions. As far as Europe is concerned, we must act as soon as possible to reduce our dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. And, of course, to ensure that we use Europe’s collective weight in the markets to achieve lower natural gas prices. Because the real problem we’re facing right now is the combination of very high gas prices and very high electricity prices. Greece has made very specific proposals (on this matter) because we need to make sure that our citizens, our businesses, do not suffer disproportionate costs due to sanctions.”

When asked about the impact on the economy, Mitsotakis acknowledged that “growth will certainly be affected. And this is the price we will pay in resisting aggression. No, I don’t believe in a recession. But I repeat, we, mainly European countries, need to look for non-standard solutions to limit natural gas prices, which are currently hurting the whole of Europe.”

As we reported earlier, According to the forecasts of the National Bank of Greece war in Ukraine has already had an impact on reducing GDP growth by 1.4 basis points, to 3%, and accelerating inflation to an average of 5.8%, culminating in 8.5% between March and April. At the same time, bank analysts also point to a sadder forecast, according to which GDP growth in 2022 will be no more than 0.2%, and even then, provided that tourism is within 85% of the 2019 level, which is unlikely if the war in Ukraine will continue for several more months.

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