Security Challenges in the EU‘s Southern and Eastern Neighbourhoods – a national prospective

Mr. Chairman,

The best way we could respond to the Russian challenge – but to the other challenges in the EU Southern and Eastern neighbourhood – is not by demonizing Russia, but by strengthening the EU. Only if we are strong – and our solidarity, our cohesion and our political integration could provide us with the necessary power – we could negotiate with Russia and other relevant players rational and positive settlements.

The recent events in our neighbourhood proved: a) that the war in Europe during our  times is not excluded; b) that Europe is not united enough, not coherent enough and not powerful enough and even not economically independent enough to cope with major geo-strategic threats and aggressions; c) that the bi-polar institutional and legal world system died without heirs and therefore we need to build a new legal and institutional order inspired by and based on the post-bipolar and post-Cold War realities; d) that the world is diverse from the point of view of values and therefore on one hand we have to learn how to leave with such a diversity and on the other hand we have to understand that we cannot defend or promote our values if we are not able to win the strategic contest first.

Against this background I wonder if here, from a national prospective, we could agree that we need a common, or better said, a communitarized energy policy (both internal and external), a common or communitarized foreign and security policy based on the EU geo-strategic identity (in other words, if we could transfer to the EU the competence of planning the strategic action and not only of speaking about values), a real common defence policy supported by common military instruments?

Secondly, could we as Europeans take the initiative of a new Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe or a UN Conference on the international law in order to update our security arrangements and the international law principles in the Northern Hemisphere?

Thirdly, we speak a lot these days about sanctions. Supposing that the sanction policy will be successful and the targeted countries will be put on the knees from the economic point of view, do you think that in the present world of global interdependence this would solve our political problems or would rather add some new ones?

Lastly, what does Greece intend to do in order to avoid that EU forgets the Western Balkans while dealing with the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood headaches?

I would be grateful if Minister Venizelos would elaborate on these topics. Thank you.

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