France's president on Thursday said it would be a serious error by the European Union to not respond to provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean and said he wanted more sanctions on those who violated Greek and Cypriot maritime space.
"In this part of the Mediterranean, which is vital for our two countries, energy and security issues are essential. What's at stake is a power struggle in particular of Turkey and Russia which are asserting themselves more and more and in the face of which the EU is still doing too little," Emmanuel Macron told reporters alongside his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades.
"It would be a serious mistake to leave our security in the Mediterranean in the hands of other actors. This is not an option for Europe and it is not something that France will let happen," Macron added, stressing France’s absolute solidarity toward Cyprus and Greece.
“The past four days have been very difficult,” Anastasiades said on his part, but noted that thanks to the initiative taken by Macron, and with the cooperation of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “we, as Europeans, have managed to achieve moments of success, as we have succeeded, through initiatives and concessions, to satisfy all, or at least most.”
The President of the Republic of Cyprus lauded France’s stabilizing role in Eastern and Western Europe, and “in those places where unfortunately the EU is absent,” and stressed the importance of the initiatives taken by Macron, which aim toward ensuring that “the Mediterranean does not come under the control of Turkey or powers other than the EU.”
“These initiatives,” Anastasiades said, “highlight what the EU’s role should be - rather than limiting itself to declarations, it should take on a leading role through initiatives and support its member states.”
Anastasiades said that the events being recorded in the Cyprus EEZ, Varosha, Greece, Syria, Iraq, and Libya, “reveal that there is a gap on the part of the EU, while the initiatives of Mr. Macron constitute a beam of hope for European nations and the countries affected.”