Greece and Italy are united by the common challenges they face in economy and migration, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Tuesday, welcoming him at Maximos Mansion.
“Today we stand as EU countries, as Eurozone countries, as countries of the European South, before common challenges, the economic crisis and the refugee crisis. Therefore, our cooperation, similarly to the cooperation of all the European countries in the Mediterranean, is a critical factor for the creation of a better Europe,” Tsipras said.
Mattarella is on a two-day visit to Greece and earlier in the day he visited the refugee camp in Eleonas.
“We look forward to deepening our bilateral cooperation in a number of areas — the economy, investment, energy and culture, because, let us not forget, this is our powerful weapon,” he said.
On his side, Mattarella agreed on the common challenges facing the two countries. “Another common problem that unites us is the huge issue of migration, the huge refugee issue. Greece and Italy, given their geographic position as borders of the EU, welcome many more refugees. Greece and Italy have respected the age-old duty to welcome and provide hospitality, as an indication of civilization, offering help to thousands of women, men and children,” he said.
“However Europe must commit more. It must increase the support it offers to Greece and Italy because the refugee issue is not just a problem for Italy and Greece, but of Europe as a whole,” he added.