Opinion: One year was enough for Greek foreign policy to sink into Mediterranean waters

Opinion: One year was enough for Greek foreign policy to sink into Mediterranean waters

From the first day of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ rule, it became clear that foreign policy was not a priority as his goal was the economy and attracting investments and investors.

With the rise of New Democracy to power, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has become a field of liquidation, persecution of many worthy and capable diplomats and a competition for the domination of various tendencies. At a time when geopolitical reshuffles are demanding an active and multidimensional foreign policy, a return to the doctrine of inactivity in diplomacy has dealt a severe blow to the country’s international image, undermining the media fairytale on the upgrading of Greece’s position on the international stage.

As if the inaction in Greek foreign policy was not enough, even the successes of the previous government and especially of the former Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, disappeared swiftly, starting with former Foreign Minister George Katrougalos, who failed to take advantage of what Kotzias had built.

Even the Greece-US strategic relationship has not escaped the mediocrity of the New Democracy government’s foreign policy. As much as Kyriakos Mitsotakis or Nikos Dendias boast about Greece’s relations with the United States, France and Israel, these relations started and grew during SYRIZA’s governance, and if some in Greece forget it, foreign leaders who have honored and still honor Tsipras and Kotzias do not.

Tsipras’ relations with Hollande and Macron are well known. Hollande paved the way for Greece in the Arabian Peninsula, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, while Macron, despite the difficulties, supported the Tsipras EUMed 7 initiative, creating a new axis of co-operation in the EU, which the Mitsotakis government has devalued.

The preparation of Tsipras’ visit to Washington by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nikos Kotzias, brought the Strategic Dialogue with the USA and the upgrading of the relations between the two countries. It is no coincidence that the US Ambassador to Athens referred to the 4 years of excellent relations with Greece in his message for the 4th of July, even though it was not reproduced by the Media. New Democracy has been in power for only one year after all. Needless to say there have been no contacts between the two countries since the beginning of March, when Mitsotakis had spoken with Trump.

Regarding Greece’s relations with neighboring countries, there has been a major setback, with Greece moving away from almost all developments in the Balkans, while bilateral relations with Turkey have reached their worst point in recent years.

Even the efforts of the Foreign Minister, to help solve the Libyan crisis, only confuses and targets Greece with its wrong tactics. Instead of bringing back the Libyan ambassador who was deported from Athens and who was a close friend of Greece and was also the liaison with Libya, he continues to invest in controversial figures such as Khalifa Haftar or Aquila Saleh. Even contacts with neighboring Libyan countries are taking place at the wrong time and in the wrong way, as was the case with the Foreign Minister’s visit to Tunisia.

The Greek side was also disappointed by the contacts with both Israel and Egypt, where it became clear that Greece has no influence on what is transpiring in the Eastern Mediterranean. Not even the traditionally excellent relations with Cyprus remained intact, with the crisis being visible to the naked eye, to those who have been monitoring things closely.

Finally, all the initiatives taken by the SYRIZA Government and Nikos Kotzias, with neighboring countries and countries of the EU and the Arab world, disappeared from the agenda of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Greek Diplomacy, increasing the isolation of Greece in the international political scene.

The statements of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy during his visit to Ankara and after his talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, where he put the Greek-Turkish dispute at the table, were particularly worrying. He also spoke about an agreement on the distribution of hydrocarbon revenues in Cyprus between the two communities. Josep Borrell’s statements, if nothing else, cancel the statements he made in Athens and Nicosia./ibna