Greece’s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos spoke in an interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, on Thursday regarding many predominant issues facing Greece and Europe and what he feels needs to be done to better society.
“Europe will exist with one face, one speed, or it won’t exist at all. Europe cannot be like Janus – to remind you the ancient tradition of the Romans. If Europe becomes a Janus, it will just be a loose union of states but then it will have failed to defend the reasons for which it was created. I remind you why Europe was created: So that we don’t relive the nightmares of the Second World War. And this presupposes a Europe where there’s solidarity and equality,” Pavlopoulos said.
When asked about the threats to Democracy from populist and extreme parties, the President commented: “I anxiously watch the rise of extremist parties reminiscent of the nightmares of Fascism and Nazism and we must seek the causes. It is not enough to observe the phenomenon.”
Amanpour asked Pavlopoulos what he believed are the biggest threats to modern-day democracies, and he said that “The biggest challenge of our times in my view, not just for Greece, but for Europe and the world, is to combat inequality. We are experiencing an economic policy that widens inequality, weakens the welfare state and creates conditions for the rupture of the social fabric. This is what facilitates the forces of populism, and even more so, allows the forces of fascism and Nazism that are hostile to Democracy to survive.”
He also spoke about the refugee crisis impacting Greece and the EU. “Of course,” he added, “we must take all possible measures to combat terrorism. But we have to make a key distinction: Terrorism and the reasons that give birth to it is one thing; the man-refugee who must be protected is quite another. Because if we do not protect him, then I’m afraid we’re playing the game of all these extreme forces that conspire against Democracy.”
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