Athens, September 5, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Just a few days before the extraordinary summit of the 27 in Bratislava on September 16, Greece becomes the center of Europe on September 8-9 and 10. The Prime Minister’s and the Foreign Ministry’s initiatives gather the spotlights of current events to the previously unreliable and problematic Greece.
In Rhodes on September 8-9, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias welcomes 14 counterparts from Europe and Arab countries. With the Conference for Security and Stability Greece takes the initiative to put on the same table for discussion neighbouring countries with different political systems, but which are all at the center of a region with high tension, civil war, political instability and fundamentalist terrorism.
The issues to be discussed at the conference, which has sparked international interest – according to information of IBNA, over 100 journalists from Europe, America, Asia and Africa have been accredited so far – developments in Eastern Mediterranean, the war in Syria, political instability and the refugee issue.
At the conference, the Greek Foreign Minister will announce his intention to create an Organisation similar to the OSCE, to serve as a forum for policy dialogue on security and stability in the region.
On September 9, Alexis Tsipras, has convened the summit of Med Group, where leaders of France François Hollande, Italian Matteo Renzi, Portugal Antonio Costa, Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis and Malta Joseph Muscat will participate. The Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy will not attend as after failure to form a government in his country, he can not participate as caretaker Prime Minister.
The Athens summit will move on three axes, economy, security and refugee issue. Discussions on these issues will serve as an attempt to adopt a common line at the summit of Bratislava, in which Brexit and the next day in Europe will be discussed. The refugee crisis, terrorism and the change of course in EU economic policy are all issues in the Med Group agenda, which will also be in the agenda in Bratislava. If it becomes possible for common positions on certain issues to be adopted in Athens, this will serve as a first step to enhance cooperation and coordination so that Euromed countries to strengthen their intervention on the European agenda and strengthen their footprint on it, according to government sources.
Finally, on September 10 will be held in Athens the meeting of European Affairs Ministers and top officials of the European Parliament and the European Socialist Party. This meeting follows the meeting of European Socialists ministers held on July 15 in Rome, in Greek ministers, Nikos Pappas and Nikos Xidakis had been invited. Participants aspire to help develop common positions for a progressive Europe with a social face, in view of the informal European Council of Bratislava and the major challenges the EU is faces with.
The issues to be discussed at the meeting are: the European Union after the United Kingdom’s exit, the policies of the EU upgrade, deepening integration, the fight against youth unemployment, protection of labour and social rights, equitable development, addressing the refugee and migration issue, security and foreign policy of the Union and the active connection between citizens and the EU institutions.
If anything, Greece undertakes significant initiatives, leaves introversion behind and looks to help shape the future of Europe and security in the region, by building bridges of cooperation, security and stability.