The President of the European Parliament attended a ceremony during which one of the meeting rooms in Strasbourg was named after former Prime Minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou. She said that under Prime Minister Papandreou’s mandate, Greece took important steps to mend one of its deepest scars: the civil war.
© European Union | European Parliament President Roberta Metsola at the ceremony of the naming of the Andreas Papandreou meeting room
Dear Iratxe García Pérez,
Dear Nikos Androulakis,
Distinguished guests and colleagues,
It is a pleasure to be here to honour the legacy of the late Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.
Many remember Prime Minister Papandreou’s premiership as a time where social reforms were ushered into Greece. Allow me to highlight three: the establishment of the National Health System, the enhancement of women’s legal status and Prime Minister Papandreou’s role in the national reconciliation process following the Greek Civil War. We know that in many ways, these reforms transformed the country. But 25 years later, they continue to touch upon issues which are still so relevant for our Union today.
In the last two years, National Health Systems were needed more than ever. One of the lessons learned from the pandemic is the importance of resilient public health systems with strong and solid infrastructures. Here, innovation and investment, both on a national and European level, are key.
Let us also not forget that the pandemic had disproportionate impacts on women's lives. It exposed the real nature and true extent of the inequalities that women are facing on a daily basis. As Prime Minister Papandreou knew well - it is our responsibility to tackle them.
Dear guests, dear colleagues,
Under Prime Minister Papandreou’s mandate, Greece took important steps to mend one of its deepest scars: the civil war. His contribution enabled refugees from the Civil War living in exile to return to their homeland and as a result, the country was able to reconcile and move forward. Greece is the cradle of a democracy that today governs our politics. But a democracy that as we learned, cannot ever be taken for granted. It must be nurtured. Our institutions, safeguarded. As Ukraine is defending its land, its people and our common values from Putin’s illegal invasion, this rings true more than ever before. This is why the European Union stands with Ukraine. This is a dark time for European democracy. One that we did not choose or expect, but one that we have no choice but to meet.
As Prime Minister Papandreou knew, during times like these, remaining together is always the right decision. On this note, it is fitting that this meeting room here, in the House of European Democracy, is named in his honour. Thank you.
The President's speech in Greek can be found here.