Tsipras: A small nation can claim its rights when it stands united in challenging times

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The year 1821 was always a source of inspiration in struggles for freedom and justice, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said in his message for the Greek Independence Day on Wednesday, March 25.

Tsipras said Greece was facing difficult challenges, naming the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic on public health and the economy, upheavals in the EU which does not understand it was founded on the principle of solidarity, and the continuing Turkish aggression in the midst of the heightening of the refugee crisis.

Calling Turkey’s actions “an unacceptable escalation of tension,” he said that Greece has every right to exercise its rights, but it must be preceded by the EU’s stern warning that unilateral actions are subject to sanctions.

“Greeks will stand united in defense of our national rights and that of international law,” the main opposition leader said, adding that “it is fortunate we do not have similar aggression from our northern borders, thanks to the Prespes Agreements.” (Tsipras, whose government signed the agreement with North Macedonia, was referring to a decision by EU ministers on Tuesday to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.)

The Syriza leader also called for solidarity to face the coronavirus, and to ensure that socially vulnerable people are not left without help. In addition, he said, “the government should fight within Europe for more courageous decisions against neoliberal recipes. It should take the side of countries that call for a new Europe, of growth and social care, while those in Brussels and Berlin should comprehend that we ought to change much if we wish Europe to remain unified and powerful.”

Returning to the anniversary, Tsipras said that 1821 “teaches us that a small nation, when it is united and unpredictable and non-submissive always wins what it deserves. Greece is not our homeland alone, it is our values – one cannot exist without the other.”

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