Receiving visiting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Maximos Mansion in Athens on Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras greeted him as a politician that is fighting for Europe’s unity and a good friend of Greece.
He noted that art and culture were a bridge that could help unite the Greek and German people, overcoming the recent years’ disruption in Greek-German relations.
“The Greek people has been through a big, seven-year trial and I believe the time has come for the feeling of anxiety to be replaced by feelings of hope,” the Greek prime minister said, referring to the Greek people, noting that the unity of Europe and of the European peoples must be preserved.
Steinmeier, on his part, noted a need to once again ‘start talking positively about Europe and not consider that Europe is responsible for everything,” especially in the wake of Brexit.
“In the last 70 years, Europe offered peace and stability. Perhaps the departure of the United Kingdom makes it clear that something must be done so that Europe does not allow itself to become a plaything in the hands of others,” he said. This encompassed a number of issues, Steinmeier added, including the migration and refugee crisis, internal and external security, economic growth and jobs.
“I have great respect for the efforts made by Greece and its courage in carrying out this work. I hope that the news we received this morning concerning the negotiations in Malta are true because this would be very good,” he added.
“My presence here is a message that Greek-German relations are broader than the public discussion indicates. The documenta 14 exhibition will give us an opportunity to see things from a different angle, from a fresh and different perspective,” he said.
Steinmeier was in Greece on Friday to inaugurate the documenta 14 art exhibition that this year is taking place in both Athens and Kassel, Germany.
Tsipras condemns attack in Stockholm
The prime minister condemned the terror attack in Stockholm on Friday, in a tweet on his official account. “We condemned unequivocally the terror attack in Stockholm. I express the Greek people’s deep condolences to the families of the victims,” he said.