In a statement on Friday, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed decisions regarding the European budget and climate goals made at the the meeting of EU leaders held in Brussels on Thursday.
Mitsotakis praised the breakthrough made on the European budget that will now allow EU member states to access the staggering 1.7 trillion euros from the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund.
“Finally, after six months… we have resolved the last outstanding issues that existed and thus finally unlocked 72 billion euros for our country,” Prime Minister Mitsotakis stated.
The fund was blocked after Hungary and Poland objected to its rule-of-law condition, one that they claimed took aim at the countries’ policies on LGBT rights, press freedoms, and migration, policies that go against the stated values of the European Union.
Aided by negotiations with Germany, Poland and Hungary agreed to lift their objections to the rule-of-law at the European Commission meeting in Brussels, opening up the much-needed funds to other EU member states.
After twelve hours of what Prime Minister Mitsotakis called “grueling” negotiations, the EU leaders decided on an ambitious plan to fight climate change, agreeing to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by the year 2030.
The decision signaled that Europe “was once again dynamically taking a lead role in this global effort,” Mitsotakis said.
In reference to Greece’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing emissions, Mitsotakis highlighted the recently-announced, 3-billion-euro “Oikonomo-Autonomo” program, which he stated will enable “more than 150,000 households to upgrade their houses’ energy efficiency and have lower electricity bills.”
In Thursday’s meeting of European leaders, the issue of sanctions regarding Turkey’s repeated provocations in the eastern Mediterranean was also a major topic of discussion.
In the end, the EU decided to impose a limited list of sanctions against Turkish individuals and companies associated with Ankara’s illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, but failed to agree on tough sanctions, as had been demanded by Greece and Cyprus.
However, observers noted that the EU appeared to be waiting for the opportunity to discuss any possible further sanctions with the incoming Biden administration after the new year.