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Monday, May 6, 2019

Highlights of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Sia Anagnostopoulou’s interview on the French informational website with journalist F. Perrier (05 May 2019)

In the context of an interview she granted to the French informational website, , referring to the relationship between austerity policies and a rise of the Far Right, the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that “the rise of the Far Right is the result of austerity policies and decisions that were made behind closed doors, without the peoples of Europe being able to intervene.” Furthermore, she added that the current “European system of democratic representation does not permit peoples to express themselves, for their voice to be heard in Brussels.” When questioned about SYRIZA's European elections ballot, she stated that “a progressive front must be created in the face of a rise of the Far Right,” and that “a battle must be waged against conservatism, austerity, and the Far Right.” Explaining this choice, she said that “throughout the history (of the Left) against Nazism and Fascism, we have a tradition of forming fronts every time we see the danger of the Far Right emerging.” With regard to the subject of coalitions on a European scale, she said that “a portion of European socialists have become aware of the danger and have changed,” while she added that “they must return to their socialist roots,” underscoring that “socialist parties on a European scale must form a front against conservatism, the Right, the Far Right” so that “the nations of Europe are able to face their future with hope.” “We can exercise Leftist policies on a European scale,” Sia Anagnostopoulou added. Referring to the country’s current position, she said that “Greece managed to exit isolation thanks to the resistance on the part of the Greek people that suffered greatly in recent years.” “The Greek government, when it was subject to the MoUs, decided to turn all its attention to the needs of the people. Unemployment was greatly increased as a result of the crisis. The government decided for all citizens who did not have social insurance due to being unemployed to gain access to free healthcare.” “The SYRIZA government conducted policy along two axes: social policy to maintain social cohesion and putting an end to the marginalisation of a large sector of the population and, at the same time, foreign policy, since the government realised that relationships of solidarity had to exist with neighbouring peoples, with neighbouring countries.” “Instead of building walls between countries, we must find ways to build bridges. This is what we are doing in our neighbourhood, this is what we did with the Prespa Agreement,” the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs stated. As regards the European prospects of the Western Balkans, Sia Anagnostopoulou noted that “the European Union must realise that the time has come to open up and expand towards the Balkans. The Balkans ought to be a region for resolving problems, even in Europe. Expansion of the European Union towards the Balkans is necessary. It is vital for peace to exist in the region.” In addition, when called upon to comment on the results of the recent elections in Spain, Sia Anagnostopoulou said that “a portion of the Spanish people showed its will to reject austerity policies which led Spain into a crisis a few years ago,” stressing that “the Spanish people voted for progressive forces, and this gives us hope: things can go better in Spain as well as in Europe more generally.” Finally, in response to a question about entry of the Far Right into the Spanish parliament, she stated that: “The rise of the Far Right is very dangerous. It is an issue that concerns all of Europe. It is time for us to mobilise against the phenomenon of the Far Right in Europe.”