Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic

Speech made to the Assembly

Tuesday, 23 April 1991

Mr President, I would like to express my deep gratitude for your invitation to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I realise that these words of thanks are so often pronounced on such occasions that they might seem a mere formality on my part. However, I really must assure you that my presence here is for me a profound personal satisfaction and an exceptional honour for my country, since this is the first time in the history of the Council of Europe that a Greek Prime Minister has delivered an address to the honourable members of this Assembly.

The Council of Europe supports the democratic principles and individual rights which are held so dear by the European people. It is therefore a very special privilege to be able to speak to you in my capacity as the elected Prime Minister of that small historic corner of Europe – Greece – where such values blossomed for the first time. The fact that they are reblossoming in eastern Europe, which had long been deprived of them, constitutes an additional source of satisfaction for me.

The expansion of democracy has particular significance for us Greeks because it represents the triumph of our political heritage. Our ancestors in Athens realised twenty-five centuries ago that individuals were much more creative if their bodies, spirits and souls were free, and that the state functioned much better if all its citizens could play an active role in it, all being equal before the law.

The Athenian democracy was unable to expand in space and time. However, the value of the individual incarnated in a democracy found its expression in the new religion which spread through the Roman Empire, Christianity, which was strongly influenced by Greek philosophical concepts.

After the fall of Rome these concepts survived in Byzantium, to whose role in maintaining, enriching and propagating the ideas which have formed our world we do not always do justice.

Those ideas spread and democracy took root in western Europe and North America. However, it has been no easy matter to safeguard democracy, even during our own century. Innumerable men and women have fought and died for democracy, particularly here in Europe. Why? Because we here know what democracy represents and that once an individual acquires such awareness he cannot accept living under any other political system.

Herodotus recounts that a Greek once said to a Persian, “You do not know what freedom is. If you did, even if you had no weapons you would fight for it with your bare hands”.

Many throughout Europe had little but their bare hands when, during the second world war, they fought fascism, with empty hands, to preserve freedom. East Europeans again lost their freedom to Stalinism, but they knew what freedom was and continued to fight, using their bare hands against tanks and machine guns in the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and even more recently, in Albania.

Democracy is now spreading throughout these countries, more swiftly in some than in others but irrevocably in all. I am in a position to know that the work of the Council of Europe, and more particularly its relentless defence of human rights, is one of the main causes of that evolution.

We are at the dawn of a new era, we are experiencing remarkable events and very rapid change, and this organisation must play a major role now that the business in hand is to fashion the new Europe as it emerges, a continent of free nations.

The need for political contact and close co-operation between the Council of Europe and east European countries was stressed at the ministerial session on 5 May 1989. Since then the Council has been making valuable contributions to restoring democratic principles and procedures in countries which had been deprived of them for almost half a century.

Greece is firmly backing such efforts and I would here like to pay tribute to the initiatives taken by the Secretary General, Mrs Catherine Lalumière, to promote the re-establishment of democracy in eastern Europe. In fact, we should pay tribute to the whole Assembly, since, under your leadership, Mr President, it has initiated, with wisdom and vigilance, east Europeans in the practices of parliamentary democracy by granting them guest status with the Council.

Hungary and Czechoslovakia have now become fully-fledged members and others are preparing to follow suit. The presence of east European representatives has a significance which far transcends mere parliamentary dialogue. It expresses our societies’ determination to witness the reintegration of all the peoples recently liberated within the European family of free nations.

The Council has encouraged east European countries to progress resolutely along the road to the market economy, the establishment of property rights, the creation of a banking sector capable of promoting investment, reduction of subsidising, and implementation of all the other requisite structural changes to enable their economic systems to be smoothly integrated into the new Europe.

For its part western Europe should be ready to help them by opening up its markets and transferring to them technological know-how and above all through close co-operation in the field of environmental conservation, for the sake of future generations of Europeans.

Integration of the east European countries will not be devoid of difficulty, either for us or for them. However, that integration will come about because everyone is fiercely determined to see it do so.

The German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland have hitherto been the focal point of integration efforts. That is understandable since those countries are at the very heart of Europe and have already gone most of the way towards democracy and the market economy. We obviously need to pay the utmost attention to their efforts.

However, it is crucial not to neglect those countries where democracy is most vulnerable, where the future is least certain – the Balkan countries, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia.

Some of them are still governed by convinced communists who will go some way towards democracy only if they feel forced to do so. Some are beset with considerable economic problems and nationalistic pressure. Others are paralysed by an ideological identity crisis and do not really know whether they would like to be communist or democratic.

The rest of Europe is duty-bound to guide, encourage and support them, and even at times to firmly goad them onward. It is certain that if Europe does not take an interest in the Balkans they will become as unstable at the end of this century as they were at its start.

The developments in those countries obviously have great importance for us in Greece because they are in our immediate vicinity. We have worked hard to establish good-neighbourly relations. Since 1976 we have been following what was a rather daring Balkan policy in the cold war context. It has been a policy of friendship and co-operation aiming at both economic development and reinforcement of peace and stability in the area.

Following the changes of the last two years, Greece, as the only member country of the European Community participating in intra-Balkan co-operation, has striven to shoulder its increasing responsibilities and do its utmost to reduce the sources of tension in the area.

We know very well that no Balkan country can benefit from the persistent instability and uncertainty created by the collapse of the former regimes based on centralised repression. We realise that it is no easy matter for a country automatically to evolve from a super-centralised economy to a market economy.

We ourselves have experienced similar problems and are in a position to know how difficult it is for a country to free itself from the bonds of an excessively state-controlled economy.

That is why we can understand the difficulties currently facing our neighbours in the Balkans. We believe that the process of radical change cannot be completed overnight and that the solutions to the problems can be found only by the peoples concerned. However, it is important for these countries to be able to rely on our encouragement, provided their strivings are in the right direction, that is to say towards democracy.

I am convinced that we shall all of us help the Balkan countries along the road to democratisation and integration into the new Europe, taking their place alongside those countries which have already taken the most intrepid steps towards attaining this aim.

However, we must not forget, ladies and gentlemen, that at a time when a spirit of close co-operation reigns in Europe, tension and conflict persist in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The most pressing danger is that of uncontrollable armament efforts which threaten to transform local crises into devastating wars. However, it should now be possible to exploit the experience and successes obtained in the CSCE process to reduce the causes of tension in that area.

In that connection the initiative for a conference on security and co-operation in the Mediterranean, which has full Greek backing, should be aimed mainly at the formulation and adoption of a “code of political conduct”. The code should set forth the general political principles to be respected by all countries in the area. The principles might include: mutual recognition of borders and the sovereignty of all countries in the area; acceptance of the principle of non-intervention; acceptance of the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes; and acceptance of the principle of balanced economic development.

The same principles were the basis of the resolution adopted by the Council of Europe during the Gulf crisis, which also contributed to international legality and solidarity.

I understand that discussion of the aftermath of the crisis is on the Assembly’s agenda. Allow me to express the hope that you will constantly bear in mind the concept of the indivisibility of international legality during your discussions.

We consider that the United Nations resolutions should never be applied selectively. Consequently, the United Nations resolutions on Cyprus should also be respected. A just and viable solution to the Cypriot problem is an imperative which today’s international situation makes more topical than ever. It is henceforth accepted that the Cypriot question should be included in the problems to be solved after the Gulf war.

Turkey, which enjoyed firm international support during the Gulf crisis, has an opportunity to show its goodwill by contributing to a solution to the Cypriot problem, beginning by withdrawing its occupying forces from the island.

Greece has the firm intention of opening serious and sincere dialogue with Turkey, based on observance of the Lausanne Treaty and more generally of international law.

Our aim is to use this process to install a climate of trust and understanding to guide our relations.

But we consider that only real progress towards a just, viable solution to the Cypriot problem can give the Greek-Turkish discussions the necessary impetus towards concrete results.

The Gulf war has once again shown that it is of cardinal importance for world security that all countries respect the fundamental principles of international law and refrain from use of force in international relations. We consider this an important heritage of all those who suffered and fell during the Gulf conflict.

Right from the beginning of the crisis my country fully backed all the United Nations resolutions on the matter. We immediately condemned the invasion of Kuwait and joined in the common efforts to persuade Iraq to withdraw its forces. Also, by making our national air space and port facilities available, we actively helped supply the allied troops which liberated Kuwait.

Greece lies at a crossroads in historic and cultural trends, and has always maintained close links with all the Middle Eastern countries. In our pronouncements on the Kuwait problem we were careful to maintain intact our traditional relations with all the countries of the region, without exception. We did so because we feel that co-operation between all parties after the crises might be the sole key to solving existing problems and guaranteeing peaceful economic and social development for the region.

I would now like to stress a crucial humanitarian problem which has shocked the whole world’s conscience. An immediate end must be put to the repression by Iraq of the Kurdish people. All civilized nations have the duty and responsibility to safeguard the fundamental rights of those people.

The needs in terms of humanitarian aid must be met, without delay, and the problems resulting from this unprecedented wave of refugees solved. Together with our partners in the European Community we have backed the idea of creating a protected area in the northern part of Iraq.

We also immediately condemned the use by the Iraqi authorities of weapons of mass destruction against their Kurdish fellow citizens. And we are pleased that all European nations are reacting with the same steadfastness.

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, our response as Europeans to the tragedy of the Kurds, our solid opposition to the invasion of Kuwait, our determination to confront the long-term problems, and above all our steadfast commitment to political and economic union provide hope for the future of all of us on this continent.

However, our position in the world will be judged not only by the yardstick of our increasing economic power and the political influence we may exercise, but also that of our attachment to our shared European values – democracy, the rule of law, political pluralism and respect for human rights.

We shall never know what kind of Europe we would now be living in if this Assembly had not fought for over four decades to safeguard those values. However, we are sure that democracy would not have been the main source of inspiration in eastern Europe and the principle of respect for human rights would not have been the subject of so much concern throughout the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the financial assistance which the Council has granted my country to help it cope with the problems resulting from the establishment in Greece of large numbers of immigrants of Greek origin from the Soviet Union. I would also like to thank you for your positive attitude to the similar case of Greek immigrants and refugees from Albania.

And so I would like to conclude as I began, ladies and gentlemen, by paying tribute to this Assembly for all it has accomplished, for having been at the forefront of efforts towards European integration, for having remained faithful to the fundamental value of democracy, and for having enabled all to live lives inspired by hope and free of all fear.

You have given an authentic sense to the Greek word for “man” – anthropos – “the being who looks upwards”.

I would thank you for all your help, and particularly for your attention today. (Applause)


Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. You have touched upon some of the great issues of today and of Europe – the Kurdish refugee problem, co-operation between the Council of Europe and central and east European countries, and the Mediterranean region. I am sure that there will be many questions. Indeed, more than twenty members have already expressed their wish to put questions to you. Once again, thank you for a very interesting speech. In view of the large number of questions, I will insist – I stress the word “insist” – that questions be not longer than half a minute and I shall do my best to ensure that as many members as possible have the opportunity to put questions. According to our programme for the Prime Minister, we must stop at quarter to one. I call Mr Banks to ask the first question.

Mr BANKS (United Kingdom)

Thank you, Mr President. May I be the first member from the floor to congratulate the Prime Minister on an excellent speech that raised so many significant matters, and then apologise to him for asking him what he might consider to be an insignificant or perhaps a slightly impertinent question? I ask this question as someone who is a great lover of his country. Like many of our fellow citizens, my wife and I always go to Greece for our holiday. It is a beautiful place with wonderful friendly people and beautiful weather. The only thing that slightly spoils the experience is finding that as we go around some wonderful islands there are some awful piles of garbage at the sides of lovely roads.

I realise that that is perhaps not the most pressing matter on the Prime Minister’s mind, but it slightly spoils our holiday. I come from a rather dirty city, so I am not trying to suggest that we know how to do it in Britain. However, has the Prime Minister anything to say about laws that should prevent people from despoiling his wonderful countryside and what attempts are being made to clear up the blot on the landscape?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

replied that Greece did face problems in its efforts to protect the environment. He recognised that it was impossible to solve the problems without financial input, and said Greece was determined to find solutions to the problem. The process would be gradual, but the protection of the environment and, especially, the enclosed Greek seas was a main point of the current programme.

Mr ZIERER (Germany) (translation)

Prime Minister, I should like to ask my question at this stage and be somewhat more precise. How, in your opinion, is it possible to limit and overcome the serious environmental damage to the Greek coastal and mountain regions, the growth centres and numerous ancient towns caused by tourism, industrialisation and the increasing number of cars? Do concrete plans already exist – including on a European scale – to rehabilitate severely affected areas?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

said that he had already made clear that his desire to protect the environment included a concern to protect the sea and coast. He hoped the results of those good intentions would soon be visible.

Mr KÖNIG (Austria) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, I should like to follow up these questions. Your country is a member of the European, Community. Every year millions of Europeans travel from the north to the south, to the Mediterranean. The problem of the Mediterranean is a European one and it also concerns the states of the southern, north African coast of the Mediterranean.

Do you intend to implement a concrete initiative in the context of the European Community states which we in the larger community of the Council of Europe can support?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

agreed that the protection of the Mediterranean was vital and had to be addressed by all Mediterranean countries. Greece had particular problems with its own enclosed seas, but had always been ready to assume its share of responsibility.

Mr EICHER (Belgium) (translation)

Like so many other colleagues, I have been contacted on a number of occasions by persons belonging to a Turkish minority described by the Greek authorities as the Muslim minority in Western Thrace. That community numbers 120 000. Citing as evidence photographs and newspaper reports whose authenticity I cannot vouch for, these people claim that the minority is discriminated against in several areas: justice, education, culture, the economy and religion, to name but a few.

I should like to know your views on this matter.

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

said that there was a Muslim minority in Greek Thrace, which had been identified in the Treaty of Lausanne. While there were some complaints of discrimination, the fundamental rights of the community were fully respected and the government was ready to enter into dialogue and improve the situation in any way necessary. He wished to make the point that at the time of the Treaty of Lausanne there had been a large Christian Orthodox minority in Turkey, which was now reduced to 3 500 people, a reduction far greater than the decline of the Turkish minority in Greece. The question of minority rights was crucial for the Balkans. There was need for an agreement to protect the status quo and maintain existing boundaries, and for an agreement on rules to protect all minorities in the area. Greece was the only Balkan country which had few minority problems and was ready to take a lead.

Mr BEIX (France) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, for the Council of Europe 1991 is the year of the relaunching of the European Social Charter. A moment ago you warmly welcomed the accession to our Organisation of a number of new member states which have recently regained their fundamental freedoms and acceded to the European Convention on Human Rights. However, we must not lose sight of all the social aspects that are also the basis for political and economic stability. Against that background, do you not think that accession to the European Convention on Human Rights should be accompanied by signature of the European Social Charter?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

acknowledged in reply that western Europe did indeed have those responsibilities.

Mr DEMIRALP (Turkey)

Noting that in his report on Cyprus to the Security Council, dated 20 March 1991, the Secretary General of the United Nations stated that, in his assessment, the current conditions are favourable for making progress on the problems of the island, I should like to ask the Prime Minister of Greece whether his government believes that a federal solution along the lines mentioned in Security Council Resolution 649 can be found and how, as an interested party in this long dispute, the Greek Government intends to contribute to finding an overall solution?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

replied that Greece would help to solve the Cyprus problem but only within the framework of all United Nations resolutions. Cyprus would have to be united, free and independent to ensure the equitable coexistence of both communities.

Mr ROKOFYLLOS (Greece) (translation)

It is undeniable, Mr Prime Minister, that at your personal instance the Greek Government has shown unfailing loyalty in its commitment, alongside the United States, to that enormous enterprise, the embargo, the blockade, and finally the war in the Gulf, an enterprise whose main objective was the creation of a new world order dominated by the rule of law, itself guaranteed by the effective and non-selective implementation of all the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

Now that the war has ended with the overwhelming military successes with which we are all familiar, it would be interesting, Mr Prime Minister, to hear to what extent you are satisfied with subsequent developments, particularly in the attitude of the United States towards the distressing problem of Cyprus, with which you are only too well acquainted.

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

replied that Greece took the United Nations’ point of view, not that of the United States.

Mr HARDY (United Kingdom)

There is continuing anxiety among international organisations interested in human rights about the provision of rights in Greece for conscientious objectors to military service. Given that the tradition of liberty under the law and the concept of modern civilisation springs from Greece, and the admiration for that country which is shared by everyone in the Assembly, can the Prime Minister offer any responses that can end those anxieties?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

said that the Greek Government was concerned about the matter and was re-examining its policy.

Mr MARTÏNEZ (Spain) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, do you envisage any initiative on the part of Greece in favour of a conference on security and co-operation in the Mediterranean?

Does Greece not feel somewhat uneasy at the tendency towards fragmentation becoming apparent among several of its neighbours, in parallel with the development of a sense of democracy and freedom? This is certainly a cause for concern for us.

Since this is the first time that it has been our honour to receive a prime minister of Greece here in this Chamber, I should like to greet him with great friendship and solidarity, on behalf of my own people, who, alongside our Greek friends learned – and I wish here to quote Lady Amalia Fleming – to say: “Zito i lefteria kai i demokratia!” [“Long live freedom and democracy!”].

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

replied that he was concerned about those matters and that the Greek Government would insist on being fully involved in the CSCM. He also stressed the need for careful handling of the Balkan problem.

Mr ESER (Turkey)

I should like to ask my question in Turkish. (Interpretation) Continuing in Turkish he asked Mr Mitsotakis about his remark that the Aegean was a closed Greek sea.

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (translation)

I would not wish to suggest that Mr Eser misunderstood me, but I never said that the Aegean Sea is a closed Greek sea. I consider that it is a closed sea which Greece must safeguard, for it has a growing responsibility with regard to protection of the environment. That is my position, and I would not wish my words to be misconstrued.

Mr ROMÀN (Spain) (interpretation)

pointed out that Greece was the only Balkan country which was a member of the European Community and the Council of Europe so that its role was vital. He asked whether there were any plans to relaunch formal Balkan co-operation.

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

replied that Balkan co-operation had been continuing even under the old regimes and would so continue. As a close neighbour of the other Balkan states, Greece was keen to maintain the spirit of co-operation.

Mr JESSEL (United Kingdom)

In view of the Council of Europe’s concern for the welfare of refugees, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he is willing to comment on press reports that, earlier this year, some 5 000 refugees of Greek family or ethnic origin fled from Albania into Greece, and were then sent back again into Albania?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

replied that no refugee who left Albania had been forced to return – a contention borne out by a United Nations examination. He had had useful discussions with the Albanian Government concerning the opening of Albanian frontiers.

Mr ESPERSEN (Denmark)

Mr Prime Minister, we all admire your democracy and respect for human rights. However, it seems that you are not in harmony with most other European countries on conscientious objection to military service, which was mentioned by Mr Hardy. I understand that someone who refuses to do military service must carry out another service that is not purely civilian for twice as long as military service and that someone who refuses to do that is sent to gaol for several years. In this period of lower tension and disarmament, when many countries are reducing conscripts, it should be possible for you, Mr Prime Minister, to consider changing those conditions in order to be in harmony with most other European countries. Your answer to Mr Hardy was short, but I hope that you will elaborate and, if possible, announce to the Assembly that changes are on the way.

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

explained that the length of military service had already been reduced from twenty-four months. He was ready to reexamine the issue of non-military service.

Sir Dudley SMITH (United Kingdom)

I understand that the Greek Cypriot Government has not approved United Nations Resolution 649, which calls for a bi-zonal, federal Cyprus. Will the Prime Minister encourage the Greek Cypriot Government to approve that resolution? He assured us that he wishes a speedy and fair end to this thorny problem.

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

said that any solution to the Cypriot question must be bi-zonal.

Resolution 649 referred to earlier United Nations resolutions and the issue could only be settled on the basis of all relevant resolutions. Greece sought to assist the dialogue, but Turkish influence was greater because they had to decide whether to withdraw their troops.

Mr PANGALOS (Greece) (translation)

Allow me, Mr Prime Minister, to congratulate you on the positions you have expressed on international problems, which, moreover, are shared by all the Greek political forces.

The problem I wish to refer to is a more specific one.

The trade unions of Greece, and in particular the General Confederation of Labour, accuse your government of having recently violated Article 22, paragraph 2, of the Greek Constitution, together with two international conventions, Convention No. 98 of 1949 and Convention No. 87 of 1948, which Greece has incorporated into its domestic legal system, and in the application of which the Council of Europe takes a great interest. That violation is the result of the passing by the government majority in parliament of an amendment to a tax law proposed without discussion or preparation and passed in the absence of the opposition, which is abstaining from participating in the work of parliament in protest against restrictions on members’ freedom of expression.

The adoption of this legislative measure means the abolition of the provisions of the collective labour agreement for workers covered by private law. Those workers would no longer have a guaranteed minimum wage, which is contrary to the position in almost all member states of our Organisation.

What do you intend to do, Mr Prime Minister, to rectify this state of affairs?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

said that the law had been passed by the Greek Parliament with the support of the government. He did not believe that the law infringed either the Constitution or international conventions.

Sir Russell JOHNSTON (United Kingdom)

The seemingly insoluble enmity between Greece and Turkey is a recurrent sadness to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which otherwise is a friendly and constructive place. As we heard today, it hears regular rehearsal of the Cyprus problem, but it is deeper and much older than that. I have Greek and Turkish friends who are warm and civilised people, but the gap between them seems unbridgeable. Is it not time for a more dramatic and determined initiative than you sketched, going way beyond Lausanne? Is it not time for the two countries to sit down, earnestly and with good will, and to make a fresh start?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

saw no enmity between Greece and Turkey. He believed that the two countries could solve their differences and live as good neighbours. In his talks with Turkish statesmen it had become evident that they accepted that the Treaty of Lausanne had to be the basis for talks.

Mr ELMAS (Turkey)

Under the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne, Greece recognises an official Muslim minority in Western Thrace of more than 100 000. The United States Department of State report on human rights for 1990 draws attention to a pattern of economic and social discrimination against minorities in Greece, especially in Western Thrace. Would the Prime Minister like to comment on the allegations of discrimination against ethnic minorities in Greece?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

stated that the Greek Government fully respected the rights of the Muslim minority and said he was ready to implement policies which reflected their needs.

Mr MORRIS (United Kingdom)

Is the Prime Minister aware that I am the member of parliament representing Paul Ashwell, a United Kingdom citizen who was imprisoned in Greece for innocently transporting a part of the Iraqi supergun? Is he further aware of how grateful I am to the Greek delegation to the Council of Europe and to him for intervening to ensure the release of my innocent constituent? Arising from that case, does the Prime Minister think that work should now commence on preparing a simplified procedure for releasing a citizen from one member country to another where the country testifies that that person is totally innocent?

Mr Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (interpretation)

replied that justice was as independent in Greece as in the United Kingdom. He was not aware of the specific case but would look further into the matter were Mr Morris to give him a note.


We must now bring to an end the questions to the Prime Minister of Greece. We are grateful to you, Mr Prime Minister, for being prepared to answer all the questions. There were even more questions than we expected and you have answered them in an open-minded way. You and your country have shown your openness and your true European conviction. We are grateful to you for accepting our invitation to address our Parliamentary Assembly and to answer our questions. On behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe I extend to you our warmest thanks.