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 Full text 
Tuesday, 15 September 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

Preparation of the Special European Council, focusing on the dangerous escalation and the role of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean (debate)

  Sergey Lagodinsky, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I would like to start by expressing our unconditional solidarity with, and empathy for, our Greek colleagues and their citizens. It is hard to overestimate how it must feel to be threatened by a very aggressive and big, powerful neighbour. At the same time, let’s admit something: this conflict will not be solved by one-sided blaming or bilateral escalation.

The legal claims of neither side are solid enough to convince the world and this Union, nor are the nationalist shouting matches that we witnessed in the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) just last week, on both sides. What will solve the problem are four things. First, stop the escalation and return to the status quo ante. Second, start negotiating a comprehensive strategic deal on the Eastern Mediterranean, which will prevent similar conflicts in the future. Third, we should refuse to talk about empires – I refuse to do so. We’re not in Ottoman times and we’re not in the times of the Roman Empire. We should urge our Turkish colleagues to gain more credibility as a foreign power and as a democracy. Without credibility in terms of democracy in Ankara, we will not be able to avoid conflicts in the future. And fourth, and I will end with this, we should extend the Green Deal to the Mediterranean. Stop fighting over fossil fuels of the 19th century! Let’s invest jointly in new green technology in that region too.

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