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Greece is an intrinsic part of the Mediterranean and since ancient times has maintained strong and unbroken bonds with the peoples and countries of the region. As a European coastal country in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece – which sees the Mediterranean as a sea of communication, trade and cooperation – plays an active, substantial and leading role in the wider region, pursuing the promotion of actions, programmes and synergies in all sectors.
As such, Greece supported the Union for the Mediterranean (EfM) – the new EU institutional framework for Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, adopted at the Paris Summit Meeting (13 July 2008) – from the very outset and participated actively in setting up EfM Secretariat, in which it is represented on the level of Deputy Secretary General for Energy.
Promotion of the Mediterranean dimension in confronting current environmental challenges is also a high priority. This framework includes the Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative, as Greece’s contribution to combating climate change on a global level. The aim of the MCCI is, among other things, to contribute to the convergence of Mediterranean Countries’ views on climate change issues and strengthen cooperation among Mediterranean countries on the development of specific programmes.
Security is an important dimension of Greece’s Mediterranean policy. In the conviction that the Mediterranean is not a boundary, but a natural bridge joining the peoples on all sides of the Sea – and given the importance to European security of the Mediterranean Sea, neighbouring regions and the wider Mediterranean periphery – during its 2009 OSCE Chairmanship, Greece actively and systematically promoted OSCE cooperation with the Mediterranean Partners, implementing a number of actions (including the appointment of an OSCE Chairmanship special representative to the Mediterranean partners; a seminar for young diplomats in Athens; and a workshop on a comprehensive approach on supply-chain security), contributing in parallel to upgrading the annual meetings with the Mediterranean partners to the level of Conferences.
Additionally, from 2003 on, Greece has been the leading country in the Mediterranean Component of the EU Water Initiative (MED EUWI), which was created to contribute to the planning of programmes for water resource management in the region, and has proved to be the most important political process for waters in the Mediterranean.
Greece’s emphasis on the importance of establishing substantial coordination among the countries of the Mediterranean is reflected in the fact that it was a founding member of the Mediterranean Forum – an informal cooperation platform between six northern Mediterranean countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Malta) and five countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey) – and a leading member of the Olive Group, which consists of the ten Mediterranean EU member states and is aimed at coordinating efforts to confront problems and challenges common to the countries of the region.