Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (1st L, front) and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2nd L, front) attend a welcoming ceremony in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 11, 2018. Frank-Walter Steinmeier started a two-day official visit to Greece aimed to strengthen bilateral ties in many sectors. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Greece and Germany share the same vision for the European Union Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Thursday, welcoming his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Athens.
"Both countries as well as ourselves share the same vision through our common concern for Europe in a critical period for Europe. It is a critical period ahead of the European elections and we must give a battle to ensure that forces which openly undermine Europe will not emerge strong from the ballot," Pavlopoulos said on the camera of Greek national broadcaster ERT.
"Regarding next year's European elections I cannot but underline also that there are just a few months still left to manage to eliminate any doubts and skepticism about the European Union," Steinmeier said on his part.
The German president started a two-day official visit to Greece aimed to strengthen bilateral ties in many sectors.
During his meeting with Pavlopoulos as well as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, they also discussed the future of the EU and common challenges such as the financial and refugee crises of recent years.
Steinmeier reiterated Germany's support to Greek people over the past eight years of the debt crisis and the efforts made to rebuild a healthy economy.
The German leader and Greek leaders also underlined the need of solidarity demonstrated by all EU member states to deal with the refugee migrant crisis.
The Greek prime minister welcomed the German president's visit as an opportunity for a new start in bilateral relations after eight years of bailout, and looked to a future of equal cooperation.
He also warned of the risks arising from the extremeists, saying "We must work hard to limit extremist voices and design and build a future through cooperation which will give hope and prospect to our peoples, and will support our common home, the European structure," he said, ERT reported.
"Our common European policies should not give ground to populist and extremist voices," Steinmeier added.
Pointing to the future the German president welcomed the agreement signed on Thursday for the establishment of a Greek-German Youth Foundation aimed to bring closer the younger generations of the two countries.