“For us, Europe is not just an economic project, nor is it just a geographical area, but an area of guaranteed peace, freedom and security. It is a model of modern democracy and at the same time a geopolitical power. “What we need in order to meet the modern challenges is a stronger and stronger Europe.”
This was emphasized by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiadis Barvitsiotis, speaking today as the keynote speaker in an online discussion on “Greece’s 40 Years in the EU & Beyond”, co-organized by the “Konstantinos G. Karamanlis” of the Greek and European Studies Department of Fletcher School (Tufts University) and from the Institute of Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Emmanuel College in Boston.
In particular, as stated in a statement by the Foreign Minister, Mr. Barvitsiotis noted that Greece’s accession to the United Europe “was the result of the perseverance, insight and personal vision of an authentic European, Konstantinos Karamanlis”, whose vision was ” to fulfill the liberal and democratic principles that the nation had already proclaimed with the Revolution of 1821 “. Today, as he said, Greece has a truly reformist and pro-European government, noting that “Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is following in the footsteps of Konstantinos Karamanlis. He understands the current challenges of an ever-evolving world and has presented a specific plan for the transformation of both the Greek economy and the Greek state. “Greece 2.0” “.
Referring to the 40 years since the country’s accession to the European family, the Deputy Minister pointed out that Greece, through “a multifaceted relationship” with the EU, has strengthened its institutions and modernized its economy and welfare state structures. With over 180 billion euros from the cohesion funds and the CAP, the country has upgraded its infrastructure and built a modern stable rule of law. It became a “pillar of security and stability in the wider region.”
Regarding the role of Greece, as mentioned in the same announcement, he reminded that he has contributed to the adoption of important European decisions, such as recently with the Recovery Fund, which started on the initiative of the Greek Prime Minister, as well as the digital certificate for Covid. But also historically, the enlargement process and the cohesion funds have their roots in Greek initiatives, he noted. “Greece’s course in the EU was not and is not linear, but there were also difficult times. Nevertheless, the Greeks have repeatedly decided to remain committed to Greece’s participation in the core of Europe at great cost. “Greece has paid a very heavy price in order to participate in the core of the EU, and for this reason we can say that we are real Europeans”, he underlined.
In closing, he highlighted the particularly important role of the Conference on the Future of Europe, stressing the importance of involving young people in this pan-European process.
The Deputy Foreign Minister’s interlocutor was Petros Vamvakas, Professor of Political Science at Emmanuel College. The discussion was moderated by the president of the “Konstantinos G. Karamanlis” chair of the Fletcher School, Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos. The Consul General of Greece in Boston, Stratos Efthimiou, made introductory remarks.