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Minister of Foreign Affairs Stavros Dimas (Since Nov 11 2011), prior Minister Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis

Relevant to Resolution 1 & 2:

EU Foreign Affairs Council Current Affairs - Top Story Monday, 27 February 2012

Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas represented Greece today at the EU Foreign Affairs Council. The main subjects on the agenda were the developments in Syria – in light of the meeting in Tunis of the "Friends of the Syrian people" – the political situation in Egypt, progress in the Belgrade-Pristina talks, the frozen conflicts in the Southern Caucasus, and the prospects for the reopening of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In his statement on Syria, Mr. Dimas emphasized the need for an immediate ceasefire, protection of civilians, and the opening of a process of political transition to return the country to stability. Mr. Dimas underscored the importance of the shaping a single political platform by the opposition forces, with the participation of all population groups and in a manner that will ensure the protection of all minorities living in the country. Mr. Dimas noted that Greece supports the Arab League's initiatives and considers cooperation amongst all the international powers to be imperative in dealing with the crisis, hoping that the Security Council will continue the relevant deliberations on reaching a consensus on how to manage the crisis. Finally, Mr. Dimas reiterated Greece's willingness to continue its active participation in the diplomatic initiatives aimed at resolving the crisis via political means, noting Greece's opposition to military options.

With regard to Egypt, Mr. Dimas expressed Greece's support for the transition process, noting that the European Union has a duty to stand by the Egyptian people at this critical time, investing in the country's development, which is vital to strengthening reforms. In the discussion of the Middle East peace process, Mr. Dimas emphasized the importance of the reopening of direct negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, expressing his disappointment at the interruption of the direct meetings that took place through a Jordanian initiative.

Relevant to Resolution 1 & 2: Most of speech only gives background to a dispute regarding Turkey and name issue which is not immediately relevant but left it in due to its importance to Greece

Foreign Minister Dimas's briefing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs (Parliament, 15 December 2011) Current Affairs - Top Story Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, Greek foreign policy has many major challenges to face. Our country's image has been tarnished. The European economy is struggling to meet the greatest threat in the history of the European endeavour. The course of Europe's efforts is directly impacting our own struggle to save the country. In the meantime, developments have not stopped around us. The region of the Middle East and North Africa is exhibiting great instability: hopes, but at the same time serious challenges. In the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, with its conduct and threats against the Republic of Cyprus, is exacerbating the tension. In our northern neighbourhood, we are continuing our effort to revitalize the European perspective of the Western Balkans. After three years, the International Court of Justice announced its judgement on Skopje's application against our country, and this was followed immediately by a meeting of the EU Council of Ministers – which looked at, among other things, the enlargement issue – as well as a NATO Ministerial. This past month was one of intensive diplomatic activities and meetings. Immediately after the formation of the transitional government, we had to launch the effort to mend the country's image. At the same time, and under difficult conditions, we needed to ensure that any ICJ judgement would not become a means for further delays by the Skopje side, and that they would be reminded of their obligation to negotiate in good faith to find a solution within the UN framework. The day the ICJ judgement was announced, the UN – through Mr. Nimetz – the U.S., the EU and NATO issued announcements calling for dedication to the negotiating process. Late on the evening of 5 December, the EU Council of Ministers reaffirmed, in a unanimous decision, that the resolution of the issue of the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia remains of vital importance, keeping open the prospect of opening accession negotiations with Skopje, but on strict conditions. Two days later, the NATO Council of Foreign Ministers adopted a common position confirming that the Alliance's open door policy must be exercised in accordance with the unanimous decisions of Bucharest, Strasbourg and Lisbon: that the name issue will have to be resolved before FYROM can join the Alliance. The Alliance sent a positive message to candidate countries, underscoring that it is up to them to capitalize on the opportunity. In this short time, and, I repeat, under difficult circumstances, Greece achieved its objective goals. The international community put the name issue back into its proper context. The context determined by the Security Council resolutions: the finding of a mutually acceptable solution through negotiations under the UN. Greece's positions are crystal clear and firm. We remain devoted to the speedy resolution of the issue: A solution that will allow us to capitalize on the full dynamic of our bilateral relations with FYROM and will contribute to regional cooperation and the region's European integration. The resolution of the name issue will not be a back-door resolution. This was made clear by the ICJ judgement. Greece has the necessary political will to achieve a solution, and we hope that the Skopje government will exhibit the same will. In the coming time, we will continue to work intensively to promote the European integration of the Western Balkans. We are preparing specific initiatives that will be announced soon, so that the EU-Western Balkans Summit to be held during Greece's 2014 EU Presidency can be a new watershed in the region's European perspective, like the Thessaloniki meeting in 2003. We want all of our partners in the Western Balkans to be with us in this effort. We are working with Enlargement Commissioner Füle to organize a meeting of Western Balkan Foreign Ministers in Thessaloniki early next year to discuss the promotion of their European perspective. Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, Last Monday, at the same Council, the European Union, speaking in a single voice, sent a strong message to Turkey. The Council: 1. expressed intense concern at Turkey's threatening conduct towards Cyprus. 2. stressed the sovereign rights of the member states, as provided for by the Law of the Sea, as a part of the European acquis, including exploration for and exploitation of their natural resources. 3. expressed disappointment at Turkey's statements regarding freezing relations with the EU during the Cypriot Presidency. 4. made it clear that Turkey needs to meet the obligations it has undertaken to the "27" with regard to Cyprus. As you know, my first visit abroad was to Cyprus. I had the opportunity to meet again with President Christofias in Brussels a few days ago. Unfortunately, by fault of the Turkish side, the necessary progress has not been made in the negotiations. Specifically, Mr. Eroglu, with the positions he expresses, is undermining the prospects of the negotiations. Greece will continue to support President Christofias's efforts and to underscore the need for the Turkish side to shift away from its intransigent positions, which are aimed at negating the agreed framework for the talks.

Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, I met last week with the Foreign Minister of Turkey, on the margins of the OSCE Ministerial. It was a first, useful meeting, and I am certain that others will follow. Greece and Turkey have to talk to each other. We are pursuing good relations with our neighbours, but relations that will develop within a strict framework of respect for international law and national sovereignty. We will continue to work for mutually beneficial progress in our bilateral relations. But it needs to be clear to everyone that Greece will not back down on matters of national sovereignty, and that Greece is determined to defend its rights and interests. At this point I would like to make the reminder that in recent years Greece has consistently pursued the delimitation of all maritime zones with all of its neighbours. Our policy is founded on the conviction that these agreements – beyond the major economic opportunities they create – function as a catalyst for regional peace and security. We will continue these efforts. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is part of the Community acquis. Thus, respect for, the signing of and the ratification of the Convention is a fundamental element of the European perspectives of countries who are candidates for accession to the EU. As a coastal state and a member of the EU, Greece does not relinquish any legal sovereign right whatsoever. And of course the exclusive economic zone cannot be an exception to this fundamental principle and position of our foreign policy. At my meeting with the Albanian Foreign Minister, we discussed, among other things, the issue of our pending bilateral delimitation agreement, which our two governments signed in 2008, following negotiations and in accordance with the Law of the Sea. This issue will be among our priorities in our meetings with the new Libyan and Egyptian governments, and we are in ongoing coordination with the Republic of Cyprus. We want progress with Turkey, within the secure framework determined by the Law of the Sea. Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, Our southern neighbourhood is at an historic turning point. The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere are changing the political reality in the Arab world. At the EU, NATO and OSCE Ministerials – as well as in the bilateral meetings I had – I participated in extensive talks on the prospects opening up.

Relevant to Resolution 1 & 2

Greece's position derives from our longstanding friendship with and deep understanding of the Arab world:

1. Respect for the sovereignty of region's peoples.

2. Support for the democratic process, which is neither easy nor automatic.

3. Condemnation of the violent oppression continuing in Syria.

4. Rejection of the emergence of new "guardians". And the development by Europe of a mutually beneficial partnership with the Middle East and North Africa; a partnership founded on support for reforms and development.

5. The need to reopen negotiations for the resolution of the Palestinian issue. The relations of trust Greece is maintaining with Israel and the Palestinian Authority are very important within this framework.

6. Underscoring of the UN Security Council's role as the basic agency for legitimization of the international community's decisions.

Relevant to Resolution 2:

Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, The subject of Iran's nuclear program was perhaps the main issue at the General Affairs Council two weeks ago. This is an issue of special interest to Greece, given that the inclusion of imports of Iranian oil in the list of sanctions was considered. Iran is one of the main suppliers of oil for Greece as well as some other European countries. I think we got a good result. It was decided that we will look at possible further sanctions, but without any reference to oil imports, as it was the Council's assessment that there needs to be a detailed analysis of the repercussions of such a measure for European economies. The issue remains on the table, of course, and that is why it is important that the competent Greek agencies prepare well, so that our country is ready to confront whatever developments arise.

Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, As I said at the outset, this past month has been one of intensive activities and meetings. The results we achieved came after intense diplomatic efforts. I want to stress the relations of close cooperation with important partners, including Germany, France, Italy, Poland – the current EU Presidency – Russia and the U.S. I had the opportunity to meet with and talk to the Foreign Ministers of all these countries in recent days, and to look with them at how their countries can contribute to the effort to repair Greece's image; to look at how we can strengthen our economic cooperation, attract investments and tourism, and develop new areas of cooperation. From my meetings, I ascertained that our partners believe in Greece and the ability of the Greek people to confront the crisis. I saw support for and appreciation of our efforts. The formation of the Lucas Papademos government confirmed internationally our determination to do what is needed to meet these challenges. This government is being called upon to carry out an extremely difficult task in conditions that are unstable due to the crisis gripping Europe. And naturally, during this time Greece needs to have a strong voice on the international stage, because foreign policy does not pause. No one is superfluous to the effort to re-establish our country's credibility. The Foreign Ministry will do everything in its power. But everyone needs to realise that our country's image depends first and foremost on the image we ourselves create. We have to stop over-emphasizing whatever is negative. We need to point up what is positive, and Greece has much that is positive. Cooperation with the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee is an invaluable tool in this effort, because Greek foreign policy demands the broadest possible understanding amongst us. Together, we must believe in our abilities and, with self-confidence, give our country the position it deserves.

Relevant to Resolution 3:

July 2011 Update from Foreighn Affairs Minister

[on foreign policy strategy] • There are two preconditions for achieving our goals, and I look forward to our dialogue and cooperation in meeting them:

o We need vision and strategic planning

o We need a strong and effective diplomatic mechanism.

• The five strategic axes of our foreign policy are:

1. Security and prosperity. In our immediate neighbourhood, the resolution of the Cyprus issue and problems in our relations with neighbours. The promotion of good neighbourliness, security and stability in the wider region. The delimitation of maritime zones with all our neighbours and the upgrading of Greece's role in the region. Emphasis is always on our nations interests and respect for international law.

2. A dynamic Greece and internationalization. On the international and European stage, the development of an internationalized and dynamic foreign policy, through further development of our network of bilateral interstate relations, the broadening and deepening of relations with strategic partners, the upgrading of Greece's role in international organizations, and the substantial contribution of Greece to the formulation of policies on the EU level and beyond.

3. Economic diplomacy and economic presence. The development of a strategically planned economic diplomacy aimed at promoting exports, attracting investments, supporting Greek enterprises abroad, bolstering tourism and upgrading Greece's role in critical sectors of the global economy, including energy, transport, shipping – sectors in which Greece has comparative advantages.

4. Mobilization and rallying of Greeks abroad in the national endeavor to rebuild the state, as well as the approaching of other communities throughout the world: citizens of foreign countries who can support this endeavor.

5. Greece's image. The development of a dynamic, coordinated and effective communication and public diplomacy policy aimed at improving our country's international image.

Foreign Minister Lambrinidis' speech in the Parliamentary debate on the PM's call for a vote of confidence in the government Current Affairs - Top Story Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Mr. Lambrinidis: Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, Greece and Europe are currently facing the greatest crisis in their modern history. They are at a crossroads – not so much of politics as of values.

The value of the responsibility of certain member states to fulfil their commitments to their partners and the value of solidarity among partners are two of the fundamental principles of the European Union, but they have been violated flagrantly of late. To emerge from this crisis on firm foundations, we need – as a nation and a continent – to find our soul again.

Our country violated the value of responsibility. It wasn't the only country to do so, but unfortunately it outshone the others. In 2009 we had the volatile combination of debt, deficit and negative growth throughout the eurozone. New Democracy took on a country with chronic, but manageable, problems – a country with high European and global standing – and rendered it insolvent.

But along with responsibility, the value of solidarity was also violated. The Europe-wide movement of "I'm not going to pay", currently led by certain other member states, was unprecedented in the European Union. Without solidarity, there would have been no Community Support Frameworks, no enlargement, no cohesion policy; no Europe as we know it today. Unfortunately, however, the economic crisis didn't just cause peoples to withdraw from each other in fear. It actually turned countries against each other. The Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese and Irish became "PIGS". The Germans and Dutch became "ruthless exploiters".

Dear colleagues, today the government and the people are making colossal efforts to return to the value of responsibility. This effort is not limited to the struggle we are mounting here at home, but extends to the diplomatic arena as well. When Europe was institutionally and politically unprepared to help us, we managed to create the support mechanism from scratch. We succeeded, through our responsibility, in imposing their solidarity. We opened up the issue of economic governance and eurozone deficits. The progress we achieved was more than could be hoped for. We brought to the fore tools like the tax on financial transactions and euro-bonds, which no one dared mention some months ago, but that today are an investment in the creation of a real European Economic Union. In spite of great pressure and difficulties, the Pasok government did not retract into its shell, ladies and gentlemen MPs. The Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs and MEPs of Pasok – as well as the country's excellent diplomatic service, despite the blow it has been dealt by the economic crisis – have been playing a leading role for some time now in keeping the callousness of uncontrolled markets and nationalism at bay, while also protecting growth, employment and the social state.

Ladies and gentlemen MPs, this effort is being made within an extremely negative international environment – particularly for our country. The New Democracy governments deprived the country of the only weapon that might have made this battle more manageable: its international credibility. In Brussels, and the European Parliament, I saw the birth of the stereotype of "Greek statistics" and unreliability. No EU government had ever told the lies – I know that's a harsh word, but unfortunately it's the only one that fits – that New Democracy told. No EU government had ever misinformed its own people like New Democracy did. And today, with its refusal to support the great national effort, with Mr. Samaras's recent disastrous tour of the European Union, where he was unable … *** [interruption off microphone]

Mr. Lambrinidis: My dear colleagues, both at the European Parliament and here I always try to talk based on facts. Sometimes it's unpleasant, but I am completely open to being proved wrong; to someone's saying, "that's not the case." But if what I say is the case, I won't have my intentions questioned, because I see that as unfair to both you and me. So I repeat that Mr. Samaras's recent tour of the European Union, which I experienced and monitored closely, revealed not just that he couldn't negotiate with courage and strength – as he very arrogantly, I would say, claims he can – but that he could not even convince his own conservative collocutors of the efficacy of his "magic formula for the economy". And you all saw this from the statements that followed, from Mr. Barroso, Mr. Van Rompuy, from the French Prime Minister and others. It is thus that New Democracy runs the risk of putting paid to our credibility today and leading our partners to abandon Greece. But credibility is the most vital of tools, and we have fought for it globally, each on our own front. We still have critical and difficult negotiations ahead of us, ladies and gentlemen MPs. We have to ensure that our partners will continue to stand at our side.

The new government has but one mission: to create a new Greece that will stand firmly on its own feet. The country has a national issue: to once again become strong everywhere. Ladies and gentlemen MPs, there is continuity in foreign policy, and I will serve this continuity in pursuing consensus among all the political forces, because when we are united, we are strong. The goals and principles of Greek foreign policy are longstanding; they are constant: · Promotion of interests, increase of influence, defence of Greece's rights. · Creation of a space of peace, stability and development in our neighbourhood, and promotion of good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation. · Respect for international law and peaceful resolution of differences. Now more than ever, we need a proactive, bold, dynamic foreign policy. We need to cultivate our relations with our neighbours and create new alliances. We need to have recourse, once again, to the great and inexhaustible resources of knowledge, contacts, development and devotion to the homeland that is Hellenism abroad. We are active participants in the EU and NATO, but we need to invest in the deepening of relations with other important players as well, including Russia, which I will be visiting soon. We are pursuing the development of political and economic relations with emerging powers: China, Brazil, India. We need to emphasize the internationalization of the Greek economy and support our enterprises, promote our tourism product and attract investments. Finally, we need to repair the country's international image. It is of vital importance that we shatter the stereotypes – and we will shatter them – and make everyone see that whoever invests in Greece's failure is investing in European failure and will lose out in the end.

Ladies and gentlemen MPs, the day after taking up my duties, I visited the Republic of Cyprus, stressing our brotherly ties and sending the message that Greece and Cyprus are struggling in common for a just solution to the Cyprus issue. We will stand by President Christofias' side. But it needs to be clear to everyone that Ankara holds the key to the solution. Ankara has to change its stance, and this stance will also determine its relationship with Europe, because it is clear that there can be no accession as long as the occupation continues. We want good neighbourly relations with Turkey; relations governed by respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and rights of each country. We initiated the effort towards normalization of Greek-Turkish relations, but the thread was lost in 2004. In 2009, George Papandreou, together with the Turkish Prime Minister, laid the foundations for a fresh effort. We created the High-Level Cooperation Council, with tangible results for the day-to-day lives of citizens. We supported Turkey's accession perspective, on the obvious condition that there would be no special treatment – no laxity – with regard to the obligations Turkey has undertaken to the EU and the member states. We intensified the exploratory contacts on the delimitation of the continental shelf within the framework provided by international law. Now, Turkey needs to show whether it really wants improved bilateral relations – as it says it does – and progress on its accession course. It has to show it in action. There can be no progress within the climate of threats and military provocations.

Ladies and Gentlemen MPs, The Eastern Mediterranean is in the midst of a revolution – an explosion of democracy – that we need to embrace, in spite of the risks and uncertainties involved, and in spite of the violent suppression in some countries of the fundamental rights of citizens and even the organized killing of citizens. Greece undertook initiatives from the very outset, is participating in the Contact Group and is maintaining open channels of communications with all influential parties. We have intensive contacts with our partners the Arab states and Israel, and we are deepening our relations anew. Europe needs to invest in the transition process. This is a necessary investment in the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean; an investment that will have huge benefits for Europe itself. Europe needs to exert strong pressure for a just solution to the Middle East issue: for the Palestinians to have the independent homeland that is their right, and for Israel to have the security that is its right.

Relevant to Resolution 4:

Statements of Foreign Minister Dimas and Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Papakonstantinou (4 January 2012) Wednesday, 04 January 2012


We had an extremely useful and constructive discussion with the Minister, Deputy Ministers and officials from the two Ministries. We briefed each other, certain decisions were taken, and what we mainly did was have a method for our cooperation, so that we can programme the formulation of a coordinated and comprehensive energy policy in the midst of conditions that are constantly changing internationally, and with the problems, the difficulties – as well as the challenges and opportunities – that are being created. We talked about the transporting of energy from Russia and the Caspian via Greece. We talked about the issue of exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in our country. We discussed the subject of, and the difficulties being created by, the situation in Iran, and of course our shared view is that all these matters require close and coordinated cooperation. We set up a working group so that there can be ongoing monitoring, and I hope that we will have a much more effective policy.

The Foreign Ministry will participate in the policy that the Energy Ministry is, of course, responsible for, but we will give all the support and cooperation needed for quickly confronting all the issues.

Georgios Papakonstantinou:

Greece's energy security and reduced energy dependency are obviously issues that concern the whole government, and within this framework there has for some time now been close cooperation between the Environment, Energy & Climate Change Ministry – which has primary responsibility on these issues – and the Foreign Ministry. I am very glad that we are continuing this cooperation. As the Minister said, we really did have a constructive meeting. We have a number of pending issues before us, like the issue of the natural gas pipelines and the new energy landscape taking shape, the matter of promoting renewable energy sources and the "Helios" programme that our country is making a great effort on. There are also issues that have to do with oil and the decisions taken by the EU with regard to Iran, issues that have to do with our relations with neighbouring countries, as well as the paramount issue of the efforts being made toward exploring our country's potential in hydrocarbons – the interesting developments with the moves that have been made.

We hope that by the end of the year, by the end of 2012, we will be able to start drilling and looking at our country's real potential. The two Ministries are working together on all these issues. A working group has been put together to work on this, because beyond the energy dimension, there is a national dimension.

Excerpts from Foreign Minister Dimas' speech at the EIB Climate Change Conference: "The Climate Change Challenge in South Eastern Europe and market potential" Current Affairs - Top Story Thursday, 23 February 2012:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Climate change is one of the greatest threats and challenges to our planet, to Europe, to Greece, to all of us. Facing its many and indisputable repercussions needs to be one of our immediate priorities. This phenomenon has taken on vast significance, not just for the environment, but also for the economy, society and politics. It impacts all sectors, from agricultural production and health to foreign policy and international security. It is a challenge that demands an immediate and coordinated global commitment and actions if we are to confront it effectively. In Europe and throughout the world, it is now the concern of the highest levels of leadership, given that by its very nature, climate change cannot be held within geographical boundaries. I must admit that during the past two or three years it has fallen among the priorities of leaderships around the globe. So, there is a need for intensified political support for more effective actions on the national and international level, for dealing with climate change and promoting green economies with low carbon dioxide emissions, so that we can arrive at a global solution for saving our planet. Given that this is not a short-term issue that will fall from the political horizon at some point, but is something that will concern us more and more, for many years, the programmes, actions and investments aimed at confronting it need to be adapted to a long-term time horizon, and there is no time to waste.

It has been twenty years since the UN's first global conference on the environment and sustainable development – the Rio conference of 1992 – and this reminds us, without a doubt, of our responsibility to mankind as a whole and to future generations. And this is why the Rio conference will be repeated this coming June, with the aim of reaffirming global political commitment on the issues of that historic meeting. The European Union perceived the threat early on. It plays a leading role on the international level in confronting it, and it is at the avant-garde of comprehensive policy actions, both within the EU and in its relations with third countries. With the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union set an ambitious goal: to reduce emissions by 8% from 2008 to 2012, as compared to levels in 1990. In this context, each member state had its own national goals to meet based on Community regulations, and those goals were met. The European Union met the goal it set. Concurrently, in 2007 the European leaders approved a climate and energy policy package aimed at achieving a three-fold goal, known as "20-20-20 by 2020". This means a reduction in greenhouse gases, an increase in the proportion of renewable sources in the production of energy, and reductions of primary energy consumption through improved energy performance – all by 20%, as compared to levels in 1990. In this way, the European Union is setting an example and leading internationally. The EU policy on reduction of greenhouse emissions to confront the repercussions of climate change in a timely manner is, I would say, a contract with our planet, with all its inhabitants and with future generations. The EU's firm goal is to extend this contract and render it legally binding for all the countries in the world.

This goal got a significant push at the December 2011 Durban Conference, where it was agreed, among other things, that a Roadmap will be drawn up for a new, internationally binding framework for confronting climate change through 2015. Turning our attention now the region of Southeast Europe, we observe that, though steps have been taken towards achieving the EU goals, there is still a long way to go. More specifically, the current energy situations in the countries of the region – despite individual differences – share three common characteristics:

• a significant dependence on the use of petroleum and coal for production of electricity,

• a similarly significant dependence on imports of hydrocarbons for covering domestic demand, and

• relatively little progress in developing renewable energy sources, which means a small share for renewable energy sources in the "energy mixes" of these countries.

We need to make it a top priority to reverse this state of affairs and significantly increase the proportion of renewable energy sources, while also improving energy efficiency and energy savings. A number of efforts are being made in these sectors. According to UN data, Greece – along with the whole Mediterranean – is in one of the 18 regions on the plant that are most vulnerable to climate change. Being aware of the problem, Greece is trying to improve the situation, albeit in the midst unfavourable economic and fiscal circumstances. For these countries and countries operating under very austere budgets, like Greece, the fall in public revenues necessarily impacts most financial sectors. So, it is beyond question that increased efficiency is vital, so that we can ensure that we achieve more while spending less. And we can do this, using new, innovative ideas that will help bolster our economy in a "greener" way.

Last June, the Bank of Greece published a very good study on the environmental, economic and soc ial repercussions of climate change. Despite the given difficulties, in recent years Greece has followed the procedures for confronting climate change. Thus, in the summer of 2010, Community Directive 2009/28/EC, on the "promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources" was adopted into national legislation. The Greek state aims to greatly increase the proportion of renewable energy sources in the country's energy mix by 2020. I was please a few days ago, as a Minister of this government, to approve the incorporation of Directives that I had promoted as a European Commissioner. The market in the renewable energy sources sector is expected to expand significantly in the coming years, as the national goal is to greatly increase energy production via renewable energy sources from current levels – which are not insignificant – through 2020. Implementation of this plan will involve projected investments of €20 billion and the creation of 210,000 new jobs. Major renewable energy source projects are already under way throughout the country, and Mr. Papakonstantinou talked about those, but I would like to say a few words about the ambitious "Helios" plan, which involves the installation of photovoltaic panels on some 20,000 hectares throughout Greece, with projected revenues of €80 billion, of which €20-25 billion will be available to service the public debt. Let me say again that it is a very ambitious plan, but it is worth the effort because it will be an achievement that will set a global example.

Additionally, beyond the purely national level, we think that regional initiatives on these issues are very important. The Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative, inaugurated by Greece, in Athens, in 2010, in close collaboration with 17 other Mediterranean countries sensitive to climate change and energy security issues, is an important element of Greece's green strategy. In the same year, within the framework of Greece's BSEC Chairmanship, the Foreign Ministers of the 12 member states adopted the "Black Sea Turns Green" initiative for the promotion of clean energy and sustainable development. The Mediterranean and Southeast Europe, as regions, provide major opportunities for joint development strategies for low CO2 emissions, and one of the first goals of our policy should be to explore and exploit all potential synergies in the sector of climate change with our neighbouring countries. We mustn't forget, after all, that we share with these countries many natural resources that are very susceptible to any change in the environment.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Eurogroup decision is extremely important for helping to end the cycle of uncertainty that undermined the efforts and sacrifices of the Greek people. This decision reduces the risk of default and confirms Greece's place in Europe. It gives us the time and means we need to emerge from this crisis. It opened a prospect of hope that Greece will limit the recession, will be able to lay the foundations for recovery, will revitalize the real economy and create jobs. At long last, emphasis needs to be put on growth. Dealing with the crisis requires our changing the development model followed in recent years. After the Brussels agreement, we now have the potential, in a more stable environment, to emphasize actions and initiatives that will break the vicious cycle of recession. Within this framework, in the policies that are adopted to boost the market and create new opportunities and jobs, particular emphasis needs to be put on green development; on investments, that is, in renewable energy sources, as well as in sectors like agriculture, through the promotion, for example, of biological farming. In short, there are two major gains to be made from successfully emphasizing renewable energy sources and related technologies: on the one hand, it will help us to effectively confront the global phenomenon of climate change, ensuring our future and that of our children. And on the other hand, it will help us get through the current economic crisis and get back to growth, because this sector is a comparative advantage to us thanks to our country's ample natural resources. In this effort, we look forward to the cooperation and support of the European Investment Bank. Together, we can do it. Thank you very much.

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