Greek government sources on Monday expressed full satisfaction with the declaration adopted by the seven southern EU leaders meeting in Madrid, noting that this contained clear references to European social rights on the basis of the European social and labor acquis.
This was a goal steadily pursued by the Greek side, the sources said, while the declaration also included Greek positions on the refugee and migration crisis, especially in relation to revising the European asylum system on the basis of solidarity.
The sources also pointed to the positions in favor of giving new impetus to economic convergence between member-states, noting that this was a political priority for fighting unemployment.
As announced earlier, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had raised the issue of the Syrian crisis during the meeting and called for EU diplomatic initiatives, noting that a failure to do so would be an admission of weakness.
Included in the Madrid Declaration, they added, was a reference stating that the solution to the conflict in Syria cannot be military and that only a credible political solution, as outlined by UNSCR 2254 when the roadmap to the Syria peace process was unanimously accepted, could ensure peace and stability in Syria, and make possible the decisive defeat of ISIS and other terror groups in Syria.
The sources went on to highlight the significance acquired by the EU southern countries summit, which was becoming a permanent institution and improved the coordination of the EU’s south for both Europe’s present and Europe’s future. The same sources also responded to statements made by the German finance ministry, repeating the main points of the Malta agreement ‘roadmap’ in order to “avoid misinterpretations.”
This called firstly for the completion of the Staff-Level Agreement on the measures included in the current program and the positive measures and reforms for the years 2019 and 2020. Following this, the medium-term measures for easing Greek debt, which will be implemented after the end of the current programme (September 2018), will be made specific by a subsequent Eurogroup in order for the IMF to be able to draw up a positive sustainability report on Greece’s debt and thus be able to participate in the Greek programme. The third step after the implementation of the medium-term measures for the debt (in September 2018) will be the implementation of the reforms and positive measures in the Malta Agreement as of January 1, 2019. “This is the roadmap and it is not questioned by anyone: not even Mr. Wolfgang Schaeuble, who described exactly this agreement in his statements today,” the sources added.
Hollande: There must be a solution for Greece
French President Francois Hollande said during the joint statements that there must be a solution for Greece. “We want Greece to finally find the answers to its problems. Greece’s efforts are truly impressive and we must finally conclude and embark on a new phase,” the French president said. Europe must deepen monetary union, economic convergence and build policies for investment, Hollande noted, adding that this must be the priority of the 27 EU countries.