Ruling New Democracy (ND) party’s 15th conference concluded on Sunday in Athens with a view to the upcoming European Parliament election on June 9.

Prime Minister and ND party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated the election campaign in the presence of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, as well as Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides.

Mitsotakis referred to the challenges of the European election, highlighting the achievements of the current leadership in various areas, such as the economy, defense, illegal migration and civil protection.

Special mention was made of Europe’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the energy crisis and the bloc’s support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion. At the same time, in an effort to rally the party’s grassroots, references were made to the risks posed to Greece and Europe by a so-called “protest vote” favoring populist forces, whether from the far right or the far left.

On the domestic front, Mitsotakis directed criticism main opposition party SYRIZA president Stefanos Kasselakis, referring to a “toxic influence” on political discourse in the country, as well as against PASOK president Nikos Androulakis, accusing the latter of attempting to align his party’s image with that of SYRIZA.

In a bid to exercise self-criticism, he acknowledged that “…we must reach out to every city, every village, without denying our flaws. We face real challenges, and I’ve taken responsibility when needed. My name is behind our ballot, one aiming for a stronger presence at the European Council. I’ll need this strength for the challenges ahead.”