Гърция днес – предизвикателства и постижения Печат
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Събота, 15 Март 2014 11:28

Гърция днес – предизвикателства и постижения

Н.Пр. Димостенис Стоидис – извънреден и пълномощен посланик на Република Гърция в Република България ٭/

/Лекция пред състава на Българско дипломатическо дружество на 06 03 2014 година/



Greece today- Challenges and Achievements

Dear Mr Chairman of the Bul. Diplomatic Society,

Dear Members, Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today’s Greece is the country which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and in parallel fights domestically for its financial and economic recovery.

In spite of the odds, that is, criticism from abroad that our country, because of its economic weakness, wouldn’t manage to cope with the challenges ahead of her, we do feel rather confident now that we will eventually accomplish our institutional task in an efficient and credible manner, irrespective to the substantially curtailed budget.

Indeed, in practical terms, the meetings at different formats of the Council do take place successfully in Athens and in Brussels according to the Presidency’s timetable. Unlike the practice in past Presidencies, this time the Gymnich type meeting will not take place outside Athens either.

In fact, the actual operable term of our Presidency will be shortened due to the elections for the European Parliament and the termination of the legislative work will be halted almost at the beginning of April. Which means that we will have to speed up the adoption of important decisions on several issues.

As you know, the Presidency’s role, in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty, (1/12/2009) has been modified. We preside the General Affairs Council, with competence, among others, on the Enlargement Policy, while the Council of External Affairs, that is foreign policy issues, is in the domain of the High Representative and Vice president of the Commission, currently Lady Ashton. It is in her responsibility to take all relevant initiatives. As it is the case in the current crisis in Ukraine where she took the lead to represent the Union, rightly so, and not the Presidency. But still, some media and Opposition parties questioned the mode of reaction by the Presidency to the developments in Ukraine, ignoring, perhaps deliberately, the institutional reality in the E.U. Finally, our Minister did pay a visit to Kiev, in coordination with Lady Ashton, fulfilling the task of the Presidency.

As to our main priorities, we consider of primary importance to contribute to policies conducive to growth, to combat unemployment, through making use of specific projects, and to cope with the acute problem of the mixed flows of refugees and immigrants, which reach first the external borders of the E.U.. Equally, very significant priorities are the deepening of the economic governance, through the promotion of the banking union, leading possibly to common supervision, resolution and deposit guarantee mechanism, as well as an integrated maritime policy, with emphasis to creating new jobs in the tourist, shipbuilding and marine sectors.

Specifically, concerning growth, we feel that we need to increase the lending capacity of the E.I.B. to finance investments with emphasis on SME’s, bearing in mind that almost 85% of new jobs in the private sector are actually created by SME’s. In combating unemployment, an immensely acute social problem affecting in particular the Youth, we believe that it is imperative to activate the European Social Fund (providing 10 billion euros annually for job projects). In this respect, I mention the already adopted EU programme for allocating 6 billion euros to the regions where unemployment exceeds 25%. Equally, to the same direction, the project “Youth Guarantee” allocates between 21-26 billion euros for young unemployed up to the age of 25 years old, to be offered within four months after graduation a job, or an internship, or vocational training. Additionally, there is the scheme “front loading” which may provide the possibility to use parts of the EU budget earlier for financing projects concerning unemployment. Furthermore, we can make better use of the E.U. Cohesion Policy which makes available 325,15 billion euros for the period 2014-2020 for combating economic disparities.

Evidently all the above initiatives are absolutely necessary in order to avoid “a creditless growth and jobless recovery”.

Regarding another hot issue, that of the refugees and immigration, we envisage to meet with the understanding of our partners to manifest their solidarity towards those member states who are situated at the external borders of the E.U.. And because they suffer unfairly the bulk of consequences of the mixed inflows of legal, and illegal immigrants. Common European Asylum System, readmission and return agreements, provisions for relocation, revisiting current institutional arrangements, fighting human trafficking, better border management, more effective use of the services of Frontex and Eurosur, financial assistance, are a number of initiatives and options which among others, will need to be pursued in the framework of the EU’s Global Approach to Migration”. Concomitantly, the recent signing (Dec.2013) of the EU- Turkey readmission Agreement is a significant step to the right direction, although the ratification procedure is still pending.

I understand that the above priorities, which are of wider European interest, reflect the concerns and priorities of the Bulgarian government as well. Sharing similar challenges, sharing similar experiences is not only a consequence of geographic proximity but also of the fact that we are both part of the most prestigious international Organizations, U.N., E.U. NATO, O.S.C.E., Council of Europe. Supplementary, we cooperate in regional schemes also, such as SEECP, BSEC, SEDM .

The E.U. is certainly the forum where cooperation among partners is more intense and perpetual. It is this major Organization whose functioning affects the lives of the European citizens, the lives of all of us. Within this framework our cooperation as partners has become more qualitative, more elaborate. In this respect we deem appropriate and just that you join the Schengen zone soon. It is true also that after the full membership of Bulgaria in the E.U., our bilateral relations have witnessed a stronger and more dynamic cooperation. Actually this favourable environment owes its inception to the fact, of first becoming allies with Bulgaria with its accession to NATO, a historic indeed event which, I understand, will be duly celebrated this year.

2014 is also marked by the 60th anniversary of the resumption of the diplomatic relations between our countries after the end of the Second World War. Since 1954 we passed a period where difficulties of the past were to be overcome decisively. This neighbourhood of ours, the one which “produces history more than it can consume” is often portrayed as a synonym to endless national antagonisms and rivalries. It is high time that we draw the line and commit ourselves, bilaterally but also regionally, to alter this stereotype and highlight the elements of “rapprochement, understanding, cooperative spirit, constructiveness, resourcefulness, which were too manifested in the past, in our region. It goes without saying that respect each other’s national history, is legitimate. But we need to draw lessons so that we avoid past mistakes and devote ourselves now to the bright pages of our voisinage, with a definite, clear look into the future. As neighbours, we are here for the good and the difficult times.

Our current multifaceted cooperation is considered rich, fruitful, of strategic significance. Energy, tourism, infrastructure, real estate, environment, commerce, are sectors of primary importance for both countries. Indicatively, I wish to underline the positive prospects of the most recent opening border pass “Makaza- Nymfaia”, whose operation appears very promising for the regional development. For the more optimists the traffic there may compete the one at Kulata – Promahona border. Furthermore, the active business communities constitute a bridge of collaboration, togetherness, contributing substantially to the local economies, by creating important number of new jobs. Despite the crisis, Greek investments did not back up, did not panic. On the contrary, they manifested maturity, boldness and confidence to the business environment in Bulgaria. There are of course areas where further improvement can be achieved. For example, cultural cooperation, including sports, is a domain that has room for better performance, bringing closer parts of the society, also aiming at the mutual understanding each other’s concerns and perceptions. Inter parliamentary activities seem to necessitate too a fresh impetus.

Some might suggest that a lower pace of contacts and exchange of visits was due to the financial constraints and the severe budget cuts affecting all state institutions across the public sector in Greece. It is not untrue. But, all these painful austerity measures seem to have been taken for some purpose. Financial discipline was an urgent need, which apart from a national task, it was also a Eurozone obligation. A chronic tax evasion mentality was and still is a vital priority that needs systematically to be fought, along with the fight of the tax fraud. Major reforms which have been delayed for decades, now are under way in sectors as public administration, health and pension systems, taxation . Currently Greece enjoys after many years now a structural primary surplus, which means that we stopped producing more public debt. Which also means that we may be able to cover not only our immediate needs but also potentially the interest rates of the loans. Subsequently, the recession seems to have been tackled and before the end of the year there may be a timid percentage of 0.6% growth.

Hopefully, this financial and economic optimistic perspective will give us more self confidence to conduct the term of our Presidency n a credible manner, focused in advancing major issues of immediate concern to all European citizens. The big challenge is to ensure and restore confidence. We need to send the right messages to the electorate in view of the coming European elections. We need to prove that Europe goes ahead, that Europe functions, that Europe is able and strong. It is imperative that we promote European principles and values, in order to inhibit the visible threat of the rise of undemocratic, xenophobic, extreme political forces around Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Concluding, I would like to add that the challenges we have ahead of us include the Enlargement process. We support it with consistency and firmness, believing that the Western Balkans must find their place to the European family. It is a process which requires from the candidate and aspirant countries to comply and fulfil all the necessary prerequisites.

On the maritime policy, we envisage good progress in the maritime security strategy and the coastal cooperation with a view to protect the maritime borders of the E.U.

A major challenge regards the prospects for progress to the question of Cyprus. We look very much forward to a solution conducive to a bi-zonal, bi-communal, federation with one legal representation, one nationality, one sovereignty, within the European Union acquis. The relaunching of the Dialogue deserves our constructive attention.

Bilaterally, in the energy sector we should converge our efforts to uphold the Tap project and the construction of vital interconnectors, like the IGB, and other relevant facilities with a view to support the South Gas Corridor.

On a national level we would wish to re launch the protection of cultural heritage and the campaign for the return of the Parthenon marbles in order to accomplish, hopefully, the unification of the original monument.

And last but not least to see our bilateral relations flourish through the G to G Cooperation Council, and also by the scheduling of a visit to Bulgaria by the President of the Hellenic Republic


٭/ Ambassador Dimosthenis STOIDIS

Born in Kavala, Greece, in 1953. Married. Father of a daughter and a son

1971-1975 Political science (University of Panteion)
1976-1979 Postgraduate studies on International relations
(Degree: Master of Arts/Keele University, United Kingdom)

Professional Training:
28th International Seminar for Diplomats, Schloss Klessheim, Salzburg, Austria, 1985
Harvard University-John F. Kennedy School of Government. Executive Program on "Initiatives in Conflict Management: Planning for Civil-Military Cooperation", United States, 2001
Institute of Superior Studies of National Defence (IHEDN).Course "European Security and Defence Policy/Mediterranean dimension", Paris, France, 2006
Seminar "European Defence and Security", Bucharest, Romania, 2007
International Conference on Crisis Management "Athina 2008", Athens, Greece

Professional Career



Entry in the Diplomatic Service. Embassy Attache, MFA


Department of Community affairs. Section of European Parliament
1st Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Economic Community, MFA, Third Secretary


Department of Personnel. Secretary of the Council of Transfers and Promotions
Second Secretary, MFA


Consul of Greece in Venice, Italy. President of the Administrative Council of the

Institute of Byzantine and post Byzantine Studies

First Secretary


Department of Bilateral Relations with the countries of Western Europe, MFA
Member of the Executive Council of the Union of the Greek Diplomats


Embassy of Greece in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Deputy Chief of Mission
Political, economic and commercial affairs, Second Counselor


Embassy of Greece in Brussels, Belgium. Deputy Chief of Mission.
Permanent Representation at the Western European Union. Deputy Permanent
Representative Greek Presidency (first semester 1998). Greek Presidency of the Transatlantic Forum (1997).First Counselor


CFSP Department Deputy Director Head of Section on the European Security and
Defence Policy, MFA


Embassy of Greece in France. Deputy Chief of Mission. Political affairs.


Department on Bilateral Relations with the countries of South-eastern Europe.

Deputy-Director, MFA


General Directorate of Defence Policy and International Relations. Deputy
Director General, Ministry of National Defence, Athens


Director General of Defence and International Relations. Ministry of National Defence,
Minister Plenipotentiary.


Ambassador of Greece to the Republic of Serbia


Ambassador of Greece to the Republic of Bulgaria


Languages: English, French, Italian Honorary Distinctions

Ambassador Soidis is the recipient of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix, bestowed upon him by the President of the Hellenic Republic