The Erasmus programme "created the first generation of true Europeans," said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Zappion Hall on Monday, during an event celebrating the European Union programme's 35th anniversary.
The Greek PM praised the catalytic role of the Erasmus programme in bringing young people together to exchange their local experiences and shape a common European identity, resisting the tide of "demagogy and anti-Europeanism that has been developing in the continent over recent years".
"Participating in Erasmus comprises a key career benefit, certifying several skills that a demanding employer will find hard to ignore," Mitsotakis said. The program has become a steady communication channel with many European foundations, helping the Greek institutions upgrade, he said, revealing that Greece will establish a domestic model of the program to allow young people to try different disciplines and learn valuable experience at home.
The Prime Minister also said that the previous generation of Erasmus has left a strong imprint on the political, economic and cultural life of Europe. "The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, still declares his love for Thessaloniki and its law school. No other EU action has such an impact" Mitsotakis said.
Mitsotakis: "The unity of the European peoples is more important now than ever"
He added that Erasmus is a programme that also supports teachers and educators in learning new things, and broadens their subject matter. He also noted that Erasmus was and remains the strongest link among young Europeans, fostering the feeling that we belong to a European family in a united Europe.
"During times like these, the unity of the European people is more important than ever, and so is our respect for the founding principles of our union. Freedom, national independence, democracy, open societies, tolerance of diversity," Mitsotakis said.
"Erasmus created the first generation of true Europeans, because it brought together young people from all over Europe", concluded Mitsotakis by referring to a quote by Umberto Echo.