Greek PM instrumentalizes “Evros fence” and “migration” for election purposes

Mar 31, 2023

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis rushed to Evros at the border with Turkey on Friday to participate in the signing ceremony between the state and a private company to extend the border fence by 35 km.

“The Evros border fence sign-off constitutes the first part of the full 140-kilometer length,” the PM said and attacked main opposition SYRIZA claiming that the main opposition party opposes the fence wanting to open borders for migrants.

“Security is a prerequisite for development. The government does not make any concessions on issues of national security and if it fails to secure European funds it will complete the fence along the entire length of the Greek-Turkish border in Evros with national funds,” Mitsotakis told residents of Orestiada on Friday afternoon

“I want to express my regret for the fact that today there are political forces in Greece that oppose this project and submit an amendment and resolutions to the European Parliament so that this technical barrier, the fence, is not financed by European funds,” he added.

It should be recalled that the European Parliament including the majority of  conservative flank EPP of which New Democracy is a member rejected the financing of the Evros fence in a voting on Thursday. As the rapporteur was EP Vice president and SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis the Prime Minister and the whole ND claimed that it was a “Syriza/Papadimoulis amendment.” the amendment to the Budget Committee of the EP was in fact an initiative by by four political groups, the Socialists, the Left, the Greens and Renew Europe.

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But this fact did not bother the Greek Premier who is looking to gain voters from the far-right.

During he speech in Orestiada, he recalled the Turkish hybrid attack against Greece at the Evros border three years earlier and emphasized that the government dealt with it successfully.

He added Evros border fence and migration on the ND elections dilemmas saying “stability and progress or adventures.”

By the way: public opinion polls asking what’s top concern on voters’ agenda “migration” gets below 5%, while top is “inflation and constant price hikes.”

Evros, security and migration are off the public’s agenda but as PM Mitsotakis does not want to do anything in this direction, he prefers to hit the “populist way” targeting far-right audience within and outside ND – especially in conservative northern Greece that still mourns the 57 victims of the deadly train collision .

Spicy detail: The cost of the 35-km fence extension is 80 million euros and the company to materialize it belongs to the father-in-law of one of the cabinet ministers.

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