The President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou addressed the opening speech at 8th Delphi Economic Forumunderlining, that “in an environment of geopolitical realignment, Greece is looking to the future with optimism and self-confidence”, while, referring to the improvement of the climate between Greece and Turkey, after the devastating earthquakes of February, he argued that it “brings them closer two neighboring peoples and creates hopes for a new, better era in bilateral relations”.

He also pointed out that “in a world of tectonic changes, in which the density of time often tests our ability to predict or understand them, Greece is called upon to coordinate and change as well, in order to remain a force of European stability and consistency in its area”.

In particular, during her speech, Mrs. Sakellaropoulou, after emphasizing that the Delphi Economic Forum is an international institution, which has become a point of reference for Greece, pointed out that “this year’s event is taking place in an environment of geopolitical realignment, at the center of which is the ongoing, for the second year, war in Ukraine. The resistance of the Ukrainians and the vigorous defense of their national integrity moves the Greek people.”

He also reminded that “from the first moment, Greece, as an organic part of Europe and the West, hastened to defend the values ​​of international law against aggressive revisionism. It remains the West’s commitment to support the Ukrainian people, whose future is in a democratic Europe of peace and prosperity.”

As he said, “the Russian invasion marked the geopolitical coming of age of the European Union. Europe realized that economic and energy interdependence with authoritarian regimes is not enough to ensure peace. Thus, it is rapidly advancing both in strengthening its armor and defense consolidation, as well as in strengthening and expanding – with two new members – the North Atlantic Alliance. It is in the interests of our transatlantic allies and NATO to emerge a strong, coherent and credible European pillar within a fragile Euro-Atlantic Alliance, especially given concerns about China’s rapprochement with Russia.”

He also noted that “from the bipolar world of the post-war period, we passed, with the end of the cold war, to a unipolar world and now we are in a multipolar world, with increasing disorder and with holes in the web of international institutions, agreements and rules that maintained operational multilateral international system”. He added that “this global environment of liquidity makes even more necessary the geopolitical emancipation of Europe and the need for unity, autonomy and power, so that it is able to effectively defend its values ​​and interests”.

In the same context, he emphasized that these values ​​and interests “are linked to universal aspirations: an effective international system for the protection of global public goods, such as international trade, international law for the protection of borders and human rights, peacekeeping missions in the fields of conflicts, dealing with terrorism and pandemics, international climate agreements, where Europe is at the forefront. There, in particular, in dealing with the climate crisis, transnational cooperation is not yet at the desired level, while the time frames are narrowing.”

Speaking about Europe’s value self-confidence, he pointed out that “it should not turn into complacent navel-gazing” and observed that “it is also true that we are on a course of demographic shrinkage, which, if not stopped, will decisively affect our influence on the world map”.

However, he underlined: “Undoubtedly, Europe is a force for progress on the planet, but it is not the center of the world. Three hundred and fifty million people today are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, while 100 million are taking the path of refugees to escape wars or rapidly worsening climate and natural disasters. The food crisis threatens the global South and rising interest rates increase the debt burden of the poorest countries. Europe must prioritize its southern neighborhood and the Mediterranean, as a field of enormous challenges and destabilization, but also as an area of ​​untapped potential for interconnection and beneficial cooperation.”

Referring to the central title of this year’s Delphi Forum “Paradigm Shifts”, she argued that it “indicates the profound changes taking place not only in the world around us but also in how we engage with it, in our perceptions and established assumptions”.

In particular, he underlined: “In the post-war era, we got used to a European Union that develops and prospers based exclusively on economic interdependence and soft power. But this Europe is no longer strong: soft power also needs hard power. We have become accustomed in the post-Cold War era to the world being interconnected through global supply chains and unimpeded flows of goods, technology, capital. But this world at the height of globalization no longer exists: flows are not unimpeded, security of supply chains precedes efficiency, origin of imports matters, international economic interdependence is not only a condition of cooperation and a force for peace but can be transformed and in the exact opposite, a vulnerability factor and an offensive weapon. We finally got used to the path of humanity, after 1945, after 1989, to be directed, despite obstacles and setbacks, towards more democracy and more open societies”.

However, he added that “this evolutionary universality of progress does not exist: the number of democracies is decreasing, our world is becoming less free and less democratic, even within the West. These are the fundamental shifts that change first the real world that surrounds us, and then the very mental frameworks through which we approach it.”

He also made special reference to the need to protect democracy, within our societies, speaking of “permanent exercise of public vigilance against economic crises that widen inequalities, vulnerability and social marginalization. Against the poisonous intolerance of the demagoguery of the extremes, which seek not to fix and rebuild, but to level and tear down. Against the false prophets of misinformation and fake news, who erode the foundations of objective reality and the ethics of communication on which collective coexistence is built.” As he argued, “democracy is not a state of respite, it is a fighting condition with an attitude of self-defense against its enemies”.

He also pointed out that “this democracy requires social cohesion. And this is another reason why the continuation of the stabilization of the Greek economy, in the European context, is imperative, in order to curb the forces of stagnant inflation generated by the international economic and energy turmoil”.

In fact, he noted that “therefore, at the moment we are going through, the rational utilization of the European funds of the Development Fund, with an emphasis on the green transition and the digital transformation of the country, and finally on the consolidation of a production model adapted to the new challenges” is a priority and he added : “This presupposes the shielding of public infrastructure and the upgrading of services to the citizen, in other words the reform of the state at its base. Not only to avoid reliving national tragedies and disasters that hurt us all deeply, but to harmonize the politics of everyday life with the stakes of the new era, creating a safety net for the many, especially the most vulnerable social groups”.

Referring to Greece, as a country with deep-rooted participation and proven commitment to the United Europe and the West, the President of the Republic pointed out that “Greece looks to the future with optimism and self-confidence” and reminded that “as the ninth oldest member of today’s European Union, plays a leading role in supporting the accession process of the Western Balkans and in upgrading the political and economic cooperation of all the countries of the eastern Mediterranean and south-eastern Europe”.

He also highlighted the improvement of the climate between Greece and Turkey, after the devastating earthquakes of February, saying that it “brings the two neighboring peoples closer together and creates hopes for a new, better era in bilateral relations”.

Concluding, he underlined: “In a world of tectonic changes, in which the density of time often tests our ability to predict or understand them, Greece is called upon to coordinate and change as well, in order to remain a force of European stability and consistency in the region her”.