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Home arrow Current Affairs arrow Top Story arrow Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Venizelos meets with EU Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner M. Damanaki (1 July 2013)

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Venizelos meets with EU Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner M. Damanaki (1 July 2013)

Monday, 01 July 2013

venizelos_damanakiM. DAMANAKI: I wish the Minister – given that I am one of his first visitors – a successful term, to the benefit of Greece and, I would say, Europe as well. I am very pleased that the Greek state has already started preparing for the first six months of next year, when Greece will hold the Presidency of the European Union.

In this context, I briefed the Minister on the potential for the European Commission’s having a special agenda on maritime issues. Greece, as you can understand, has the advantage of having a leading role in the shipping sector and what we call blue growth, which is a newly proposed policy from the Commission for promoting new jobs and growth through utilization of rich maritime resources.

In this framework, I briefed the Minister on the decision to be announced in Brussels today: that Piraeus will be the Maritime Capital of Europe for 2015. Greece will take the baton from Germany. In 2014, Germany will be at the heart of the maritime community. The year after, Greece and Piraeus can take the leading role, and I am very pleased that we are starting preparations now, so that Greece can really make a difference.

E. VENIZELOS: It was very good news that was brought to us by the Commissioner, Ms. Damanaki, on Piraeus’s being declared the maritime capital of Europe. I am happy because this coincides with our decision to make maritime policy the top priority of the upcoming Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2014. Because maritime means many things. It means all the life of the Mediterranean. For Greece it means the pointing up of a major comparative advantage. And naturally when we talk about maritime affairs, we are talking about security, we are talking about energy, we are talking about tourism, we are talking about fisheries, we are talking about the great potential for natural resources that the sea holds. We will point this up starting now and through the end of the Hellenic Presidency.

Piraeus is the first step. There is also Thessaloniki, which must be the other major port, and our other peripheral ports. These are important growth initiatives, now that our emphasis is on the real economy, on growth and employment. All of these initiatives are to this end: to create jobs, to create opportunities, to create a sense of optimism and recovery following three years of tough sacrifices.

JOURNALIST: Mr. President, when Ms. Damanaki was Commissioner and things weren’t going well in Greece, she might have been the first one to convey the climate from the Europeans: that Greece needs political stability. Do you think that isolated incidents, isolated statement, can threaten this political stability that was created by the two-party government, or not?

E. VENIZELOS: Political stability is a commodity that all Greeks understand and long for. That is why those who did not cheer aloud, silently comprehend – in reality – how important a decision it was for us to form this government and move ahead with stability, perspective, consensus. Anyone who doesn’t understand that and undermines the psychological or symbolic prerequisites for stability strikes at the heart of the public interest and is helping neither himself, nor his party, nor the country.

JOURNALIST: Ms. Damanaki, following the formation of the two-party government, did the climate in Europe recover, in the sense that Greece can, in the end, succeed through political stability?

M. DAMANAKI: The climate in Europe is shaped based on the ongoing efforts being made, and I hope and believe that Greece will produce the results that we need and that our European partners are asking for, so that everything can go well. We can be optimistic.

JOURNALIST: Thank you very much.