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Greek Tourism Minister Theoharis grilled at BBC’s HardTalk

Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis was grilled at BBC and HardTalk when it came to vacations and vaccinations in Greece, the course of the pandemic and UK’s decision to not include the country in the “green list for safe travel.”

In the following indicative excerpt, journalist Stephen Sackur criticized the Greek government, wondering whether May 15th is not the right date for the opening of tourism, given that the USA placed Greece at risk level 4,which means “do not travel ”

Among others, the journalist asked the minister if he considers the UK’s decision was wrong. Theoharis said that during his meetings with British officials in London, he proposed the separation of the Greek regions, so that the islands that are in a relative better position regarding the vaccination roll out be included on the “green list.”

The journalist insisted, saying that since the decision of Britain means that those who return from Greece are obliged to be quarantined, it is not realistic for many British tourists to choose the country. Theoharis agreed adding, however, that he is in London in an attempt to get the British government to review its decision.

“Are you putting the economy ahead of public health?” the journalist asks. “No,” the minister replied, noting that the government’s goal is to find a balance between the economy and public health, with the journalist pointing out that in his opinion there can be no balance when the economy is so dependent on tourism.

Sackur referred to the opening of Greek tourism in 2020, saying that “according to research, the Greek people associate the rise of the second wave with the decision to open the borders for tourists. Aren’t you afraid that the same thing will happen?

Asking about the vaccination roll out, Sackur said that Greece has one of the slowest vaccination roll outm. “You are vaccinating citizens with the slowest pace in Europe. Everyone in the world will see it and wonder,” he noted.

Theocharis: We are not.
Sakur: You are in the 5 worst countries.
Theocharis: No, we are not.
Sakur: I am afraid that is what the numbers say.

The Minister merely commented that the system is complicated and vaccinations do not proceed if there are no vaccines.

The full interview here.

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13 comments

  1. Savvas Andreas

    Check the viral load in the sewerage

  2. Oh dear!!
    Sounds like the cat’s out the bag

  3. It’s becoming more and more obvious that the UK government is hitting back at EU countries after getting a bad brexit deal. Especially the countries where most Brits go for holidays are not on the UK’s “green list”. Surely that’s no coinsidence but a way to hit the economy of these countries and the EU as a whole.

    • Are you still not over that decision of the UK the leave the EU? Please stop whining and blaming things that go wrong, on Brexit.

    • The EU is in a far stronger position to hit the UK back. On that Jersey fishing dispute, France is threatening to torpedo an agreement that would give British financial firms more access to financial services on the continent.

  4. A few words immediately pop up while reading Theoharis’ answers: opportunist, hypocrite, liar and not fit for purpose…

  5. Sandra Fawcett

    The UK government is not so childish as to try to punish EU countries for what you call a “bad Brexit deal”! It wasn’t such a bad deal; at least we are free and doing very nicely, thank you. The decision about whether countries (anywhere not just in the EU) should be in the green zone, the amber zone or the red zone is based purely on the science, the numbers. Greece is still reporting a substantial number of cases every day (between 2,500 to 3,000+) and the vaccination programme is progressing very slowly with a poor take-up. What is unfortunate is that the islands have been grouped with the mainland where the majority of cases are emanating from. I do agree that islands should be assessed on their own statistics and not by those of Attica, Thessaloniki, etc which are alarming. Same applies to Spain where there are still too many new cases being reported on the mainland, whereas the Balearic and Canary islands are relatively safe.
    It has been mooted that this will be addressed in the next review of the “traffic light system”. However, if the islands start to generate serious numbers of new cases, then they will remain in the amber zone.
    Please don’t insult the intelligence of the UK government and people by suggesting that we are hitting out at Brussels by “punishing” EU countries – we are not that small-minded and far too busy making Britain Great again!

    • Great great Britain? Greater Britain? Great² Britain? Giant Britain?

    • Well put Sandra! If they put as much effort into vaccinations as they do promoting tourism we would all be safe FIRST! Then enjoy a tourist season ……..priorities are not for the safety of the people living here (including foreign nationals)! We just want a jab not a number!!!!!!

    • “Make Britain great again”. LOL. The days of Brittannia rules the waves are long gone. In fact some centuries. But a lot of the “stiff upper lips” are still living in the Magna Carta era.

  6. the green list is a well considered political decision by the government to keep people in britain to spend their holiday pounds and boost the british economy after the billions they have wasted on track and trace and unproductive cronyism !!!!