EU Likes Greek Prime Minister Who Enforces Borders and Permits Economic Growth

(p. 4) . . . with Greece holding national elections on Sunday [May 21, 2023], Brussels has . . . lauded Mr. Mitsotakis, a pro-Europe conservative, for bringing stability to the Greek economy, for sending military aid to Ukraine and for providing regional stability in a time of potential upheaval in Turkey.

Above all, European Union leaders appear to have cut Mr. Mitsotakis slack for doing the continent’s unpleasant work of keeping migrants at bay, a development that shows just how much Europe has shifted, with crackdowns formerly associated with the right wing drifting into the mainstream.

“I’m helping Europe on numerous fronts,” Mr. Mitsotakis said in a brief interview on Tuesday [May 16, 2023] in the port city of Piraeus, where, in his trademark blue dress shirt and slacks, the 55-year-old rallied adoring voters on crowded streets. “It’s bought us reasonable good will.”

. . .

“Right-wing or a central policy,” said Mr. Mitsotakis, the leader of the nominally center-right New Democracy party, “I don’t know what it is, but I have to protect my borders.”

. . .

His government has spurred growth at twice the eurozone average. Big multinational corporations and start-ups have invested. Tourism is skyrocketing.

The country is paying back creditors ahead of schedule, and Mr. Mitsotakis expects, if he wins, international rating agencies to lift Greece’s bonds out of junk status. The number of migrant arrivals has dropped off 90 percent since the crisis in 2015, but also significantly since Mr. Mitsotakis took office four years ago.

“A European success story,” The Economist called Greece under Mr. Mitsotakis.

. . .

As Mr. Mitsotakis walked the streets, a bus driver reached out the window and clasped his hand. “Supporters until the end,” chanted a group of men in front of a cafe. “We trust you,” a woman shouted from her jewelry shop.

For the full story, see:

Jason Horowitz. “A Migration Enforcer Europe Can Live With.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, May 21, 2023): 4.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed dates, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the same date as the print version, and has the title “As Greece Votes, Leader Says Blocking Migrants Built ‘Good Will’ With Europe.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *