Interview with Ioannis Kefalogiannis of YFETHA at and Journalist Chronis Diamantopoulos

You have made many visits to uninhabited islands. Apart from the important symbolism of your presence in these areas what do the citizens say to you? What do they want from the representative of the Government?

He is asked to contribute through his portfolio of competences to the removal of the structural weaknesses of insularity. Those, that is, of the particular economic, geographical and demographic characteristics of the islands that limit their development potential. Let’s face it, improving the quality of life of our reviewers in a number of areas – from education and health to boosting entrepreneurship and upgrading infrastructure – is a big bet, much bigger than that of mainlanders. The challenge before us as a Government is the commitment of all our forces to the lifting of the isolation of the island area and not just to the limitation of its consequences. From the point of view of defending our homeland’s territorial sovereignty, the importance of reef islands is inversely proportional to their size. Their Greekness is due to the love and stubbornness of their inhabitants, who chose not to leave their island, despite the feeling of isolation, poverty, the narrowness of the land and the dangers that came from the sea. That is why the role of the Ministry of National Defense in these areas is multidimensional. The social contribution of the Armed Forces to our citizens is today particularly evident through the improvement of vital infrastructure, the prevention and response of natural disasters, but also the provision of primary health care services.

It has been announced that doctors – members of the armed forces will help in hospitals and medical structures located in critical areas. Is there a plan to be implemented and how will this be done?

As I mentioned above, the Armed Forces already support the National Health System in covering health services, especially in remote areas. This is done today by placing, for example, army doctors in clinics and health centers in critical areas, visiting health units to carry out preventive medical checks, deploying military doctors in E.S.Y. hospitals. and drivers for the staffing of the crews of E.K.A.B. The contribution of the air means of the Armed Forces to the air transport of patients is also very great. We are working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that this is done in a way that does not disrupt the operational needs of the Staffs, which are the highest priority. I am also able to announce to you that, through a relevant legislative initiative, the military doctors, nurses and other personnel will soon receive the financial compensation that the Ministry of Health currently provides to the staff of the E.S.Y., for the health services it offers in critical areas.

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The establishment of Armed Forces Lifelong Learning Centers has also been announced, through which the “Tenure-Opportunity” program will be implemented. How will they work and what specialties will they include?

First, the Lifelong Learning Centers of the Armed Forces have already been established and offer significant opportunities for upskilling, reskilling and professional training of personnel in a number of areas. They include specialties useful in the job market, such as construction machinery operator, food lab analyst assistant, cook, lifeguard, dental assistant, scuba diver, private security personnel and many others. Our goal is to spread this know-how of the Armed Forces to the soldiers so that they can use it in their future professional career. Before their classification, the hoplites will declare their desire to participate in KDBM programs. Immediately after their basic military training they will train in them and staff their units in order to use their new knowledge. At the end of their term, now as citizens, they will have a valid education certificate and a corresponding certificate of work experience – supplies absolutely necessary for a young person starting his professional career.

A few days ago, you met with the Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy, Alexandra Sdoukou, about ways to upgrade the energy efficiency of the Ministry of Defense’s building infrastructure. Which buildings does the intervention concern and through which resources will it be implemented?

It basically involves very energy-intensive structures that take valuable resources away from the primary mission of the Armed Forces. Such are, for example, educational and health structures, but not only. With Ms. Sdoukou, we discussed the financing through the “ELEKTRA” program of the energy upgrade for the buildings of the 401 General Military Hospital of Athens, the “PROTEUS” Submarine Command, the Residence building of the Permanent Naval Officers’ School and the 22 buildings of the Evelpidon Military School as well as the building complex of the Ministry of Health at the Papagou Camp. The energy plan includes interventions such as energy shielding and the energy management system of the buildings, the installation of RES and many others to save energy and costs. In addition, through the “Prodigee” program managed by the Ministry of National Economy and Finance, we are maturing a series of projects for energy upgrading and autonomy and other structures, which will have priority in their financing from the NSRF, the Recovery Fund and the European Investment Bank .

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Mr. Kefalogiannis, you were the President of the Parliament’s Investigative Committee on wiretapping. On the occasion of the intervention of the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, where it is emphasized that the relevant investigation concerns a matter of “major importance” and due to the delay in its completion, “there is a risk of the statute of limitations for the investigated crimes”, I wanted to ask you whether the Parliament did what it should for to assist in the work of Justice.

First of all, let me point out that this judicial development is in the context of the institutional shielding of the case with the main objective of avoiding any statute of limitations of any individual offense. As in every case, here too the Government is awaiting the relevant conclusion. At the heart of your question, the Government chose from the outset to parliamentaryly investigate all aspects of the issue, to encourage and facilitate judicial inquiry and ultimately to address the issue legislatively, with a more stringent declassification process at its core. At the level of the Parliament, immediately after the complaints of the President of PASOK, the Government activated the relevant parliamentary procedures and immediately responded to the requests of the parties for the convening of all parliamentary formations. In addition to the rapid ratification of the legislative act, the Prime Minister asked the President of the Parliament to convene the Committee on Institutions and Transparency and accepted the discussion before the agenda and the formation of the inquiry committee. Both the Institutions and Transparency Committee and the Investigative Committee testified to all the persons who were institutionally involved in the case. So, yes, I believe that the House used the full legal arsenal of parliamentary scrutiny to investigate the case.

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