Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke to CNBC’s Silvia Amaro about potential changes in the European natural gas wholesale market, and the impact of the Ukraine crisis on Europe’s defense architecture, on the sidelines of the EU leaders’ summit in Versailles, it was reported on Saturday.
The premier said that he believes “there is great consensus in the European Council about intervening in the wholesale natural gas market.” Moreover, he noted that natural gas wholesale prices dropped significantly over the last few days since this intervention drive was made public. “This reinforces,” he noted, “the hypothesis that in this case we do not see fundamental market rules in action, but rather we see profiteering at play.”
Mitsotakis stressed that the Russian invasion in Ukraine was a sharp wake-up call for the EU and for NATO.
“We have been talking, for a long time, about the need for strategic autonomy,” while Greece invested in its defense capabilities and signed a bilateral agreement with France, which includes a mutual assistance, he said.
Therefore, “we strongly support the idea of the EU being able to defend itself independently,” he said, and he added that this would be “a complementary ‘investment’ to NATO, because we must not forget that most EU member states are also NATO members, but there are some EU member states that are not in NATO.”
“So we have to send a clear message that we are willing to defend our continent, regardless of our relationship with NATO,” he underlined.
Asked about his thoughts on the Russian President’s intentions, Mitsotakis said Vladimir Putin’s recent actions “managed to [inadvertently] strengthen the [NATO] Alliance and also awakened the European Union from its geopolitical lethargy.”
In this context, he highlighted, “he [Putin] surely made us more united in the realization that defense and security are supreme obligations towards our citizens.”