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Δημοσιευμένο στην κατηγορία Κουσκουβέλης - Εξωτερική Πολιτική
Παρασκευή, 01 Νοέμβριος 2013 09:34

Greece should not waste opportunities

For three years now, Greece deals with the issues of its economic crisis. Parallel to them, the foreign policy issues continue to increase and need to be addressed. It seems, however, that there is no strategy for them. Even worse, the foreign policy issues seem to have being sacrificed to the crisis' alter, when Greece could just act in a smart way, by, for example, delimiting its Mediterranean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and turn it and its resources into one of the tools that would help the country address its economic problems.

Certainly there have been meetings of Greek officials with their counterparts from FYROM, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and, most recently, Egypt. Yet, important questions remain unanswered. What is Greece's policy towards Turkey? Is it a policy of settlement of disputes from a position of equal strength, is it a policy of bandwagoning, or a policy of appeasement? What is the country's goal in the new round of negotiations with FYROM, regarding the name issue? Will Greece support actively the Cypriot efforts in order to end the Turkish illegal occupation? What will Greece do about the declaration and delimitation of a Mediterranean EEZ and when?

Reasonably, one could argue that when you are in debt you can not easily perform foreign policy. This is wrong in the context of Greek bilateral relations. First, to put it simply, Greece does not owe money to Ankara, Skopje or any of its neighbors. Secondly, it still maintains some other comparative advantages in relation to them, especially its participation to both the EU and NATO. Thirdly, even in lean years, foreign policy is a matter of priorities, strategy and determination; the attitude of each country towards international issues is a matter of political ability and choices.

Cyprus is showing Greece and everyone how a small country, under the threat of the invader, assessed correctly the emerging energy context in its region and moved decisively. Late President Papadopoulos allied with U.S. and Israeli economic interests in order to search for hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean. Former President Christofias, with a communist ideological background, brought Cyprus into an alliance with Israel. Their moves have begun to bear fruit, judging by the perspective of natural gas exploitation, and by the statements of powerful governments on the exploitation of the Eastern Mediterranean energy resources and the Turkish illegal occupation.

Contrary to Cyprus, it seems that Greece, although it may only gain from the emerging situation, has not done much towards benefiting from the new energy opportunities. Greece, however, may only gain by closely cooperating with Israel and Cyprus – the only democratic states in the Eastern Mediterranean. The three states may provide valuable energy resources to their partners, and offer, in comparison to other routes (i.e., via Turkey), an alternative and safe route for the streaming of energy towards the West.

Thus, Greece must define as soon as possible its foreign policy objectives, gain international support, and act accordingly. No opportunities should be wasted, especially when, in the medium-term, they can contribute to the country's exit from the economic crisis.

Δημοσιευμένο στην κατηγορία Κουσκουβέλης - Εξωτερική Πολιτική

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Δημοσιευμένο στην κατηγορία Κουσκουβέλης - Εξωτερική Πολιτική
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