EU must provide answers to people’s problems says German president


by Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, April 7 (Xinhua) — The European Union (EU) is facing a crisis which goes beyond Brexit and will not blow over in a few months or years. As such, it should start offering people solid answers to their problems to overcome a climate of political indifference, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said here Friday.

The German leader began a two-day visit on Friday to the Greek capital to discuss bilateral ties and regional issues, and to inaugurate the Greek-German international contemporary art exhibition Documenta 14 in Athens.

“It is important to provide real answers today on questions that have not been answered yet, such as migration, growth, and employment,” Steinmeier said during a joint press conference with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos after their meeting, according to the Greek presidency.

Regarding migration, the German president acknowledged the disproportional burden Greece was shouldering due to its geographical position at the frontline of the refugee-migrant route.

Responding to this, Pavlopoulos said, “it is the EU’s mission to face the refugee crisis with humanism.”

Concerning the economic crisis, Steinmeier said he supported a swift solution to the current issues so that Greece could return to growth and prosperity.

Steinmeier’s visit to Athens coincided with the latest Eurogroup meeting in Malta which ended with the positive news that Greece and its international creditors were closing the second review of the third Greek bailout.

“I believe that as soon as possible — and I mean that — there should be a comprehensive deal and conclusion of the assessment to bring an end to this uncertainty,” the German leader said.

“I am glad about the outcome of today’s Eurogroup. All sides should be certain that Greece will meet in full its obligations, provided that its partners do the same,” Pavlopoulos said, pointing to the pledge for debt relief.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said of the progress made on debt relief: “Greek people have been through a big adventure in the past seven years and I believe that the time has come for the feeling of anxiety and pain to be replaced by hope,” Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Commenting on developments in Syria, the Greek president urged for an immediate end to war.

“The EU must actively contribute to help end the war in the Middle East,” Pavlopoulos said.

Referring to the exhibit Steinmeier is to open on Saturday, Tsipras said art was a strong bridge which unites people.