Vice-President Katainen engaged with a diverse audience, including students and young entrepreneurs, at the Athens Concert Hall.
He called upon them to vote in the European elections and to share their views on the future of Europe with the politicians who represent them.
The Vice-President emphasised the key role of the values of freedom, family, trust and rule-of-law hold for him. He said that for him the freedom to live, work and study across the EU was fundamental to the European model.
He then went on to link freedom with the success of the ERASMUS+ programme and to the opportunities that the EU provides to entrepreneurs.
By contrast, while he is optimistic of Greece’s economic future, he said that it is important to re-establish trust within the country and between Greece and the other Member States by implementing structural reforms to the benefit of Greek businesses and citizens, its most important capital.
The questions from the audience covered a broad range of topics. Citizens were mostly concerned with Greece’s economic future and with the advantages, which the EU could bring (e.g. European Fund for Strategic Investments; European Innovation Council; InvestEU; Cohesion Policy).
In addition to funding, the VicePresident emphasised the enabling role the EU has in creating new markets (e.g. through the circular economy and artificial intelligence), which would provide many business opportunities.
The moderator and stage partner were acquiescent to the overall message the Vice-President was sending, and acted as supporting elements in the discussion.