Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis yesterday (23 April) called on the European Commission to come up with a plan to resume travel “as soon as possible”, according to Greek government sources.
Speaking at the EU Council, Mitsotakis reportedly said the EU single market is not there only to serve free movement of goods but also the movement of people.
“We need to reach common understanding as to movement of people,” he said, adding that backing tourism in Europe’s south is “demonstrable” support.
Contrary to her cautious approach in mid-April, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently told Portugal’s SIC TV channel that she was positive about having a vacation this summer – in a “smart” way. For Greece, tourism accounts for around a fifth of its economy and more than a quarter of jobs.
Mitsotakis also backed the idea of a strong EU budget funded with a form of joint debt instrument. “It needs to have very long, if not perpetual maturities, to be front loaded, and more crucially, it needs to focus more on grants not loans.”
ECB chief Christine Lagarde warned EU leaders yesterday that the worst-case scenario for the Eurozone is to lose up to 15% of its GDP due to the COVID-19 confinement measures.
In line with Europe’s south, Athens cannot afford to further increase its debt/GDP ratio with fresh loans. “If the markets see that, they will try to single out weaker links, and would be undermining the whole viability of single project”.
Last but not least, Mitsotakis also said Europe needed to explore possible ways on a “European approach” when it comes to patents, in order for all to have equal access to a vaccine when it’s produced.