Conte-Mitsotakis talks focus on efforts to deepen Greek-Italian relations

Conte-Mitsotakis talks focus on efforts to deepen Greek-Italian relations

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today amidst a particularly warm climate with his Italian counterpart, Giuseppe Conte, in Rome.

During the meeting, they underlined the excellent relations and the very good cooperation between the two countries, as well as the possibilities to deepen and extend this cooperation at a political and economic level.

Cooperation in areas of mutual interest, with special focus on the fields of economy, trade and energy were discussed extensively, while the importance of the two countries’ geostrategic position was also underlined, which would prove rather beneficial for business consortia aimed at the wider Balkan region, Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean.

The two leaders discussed and exchanged views on international, regional and European matters. They agreed, inter alia, that the migration-refugee crisis required coordination and promotion of common policies and solutions at an EU level, while evidence of exploitation of the phenomenon, so that personal political interests can be served, were condemned.

Mr. Conte agreed that immigration constitutes a problem that requires European management, adding that returns and distribution comprised basic elements on behalf of the Italian government.

He noted that Rome shares the problems associated with maritime borders in southern Europe, adding that initiatives that have a European dimension are imperative, while he categorized the refugee-migrant issue into the issues the new European Commission must address during the first stage of its term.

Mr. Conte called on Italian companies to consider the opportunities for cooperation that were unfolded during the recent visit of the Italian Mortgage and Loan Fund leadership in Athens. He added that the results of the Greek government’s efforts to stabilize the economic recovery are already evident, with the prospect of opening up investment flows.

The two prime ministers agreed that the Western Balkans’ accession perspective should remain alive, as the two countries support their European perspective.

The two leaders discussed the impending completion of TAP, which will transport gas to Europe via Italy, as well as important energy projects currently under construction, such as EastMed.

Energy Cooperation Agreement

During the Prime Minister’s visit to Rome, the governments of Greece and Italy confirmed their cooperation in the energy sector with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy in charge of Energy and Natural Resources, Gerassimos Thomas, and the Italian Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli.

The text of the agreement stresses that the two countries’ relations in the energy sector are already close, which is reflected – among other ways – in the presence of the Italian Snam (main partner of the SENFLUGA consortium) as a majority shareholder of DESFA, the high-voltage underwater Greece-Italy interconnection, as well as in the cooperation between the Transmission System Operators of Greece and Italy (ADMIE and Terna respectively) for the establishment of a Regional Energy Control Center for the region of Southeast Europe.

In this context, Greece and Italy pledged to step up their efforts to establish a strong energy hub in the Mediterranean region. The signed agreement provides, inter alia, for tightening co-operation in implementing the policies of the National Energy and Climate Plans, upgrading the existing Greek-Italian submarine electricity interconnection and promoting measures to harmonize the foundations of the design for the energy plan of the two states.

At the same time, the agreement promotes the modernization of electricity infrastructure (towards the development of RES and the production of biofuels from waste), the support of the construction of an underground gas storage facility in Greece, the promotion of the implementation of “smart” electricity distribution networks, as well as the power infrastructure. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Deputy Minister for Citizen Protection in charge for Migration Policy, George Koumoutsakos, the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas, and the Deputy Minister for Environment and Energy in charge of Energy and Natural Sources. /ibna