The Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU
H.E. Dimosthenis Stoidis, ambassador of Greece to Bulgaria, shared with AUBG students the objectives of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU on April, 9. Greece will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2014, before handing over the reins to Italy on July, 1 2014. Since its accession to the European Communities in 1981, Greece will hold the Presidency for the fifth time.
Stoidis said that Europe is going through a crucial transitional phase after the financial crisis. At this important juncture, the EU’s biggest challenge is to foster growth, competitiveness and employment and to ensure stability and prosperity for all. For this purpose the EU has to reaffirm its mission “at the hearts and minds of its citizens”.
In brief, the promotion of policies and actions for achieving growth, promoting economic and social cohesion and structural reforms, as well as addressing external challenges, including the EU enlargement, formulate the priority framework of the Greek Presidency.
One of the main principles, which will guide the work of the Presidency, is enhancing civic and society engagement in the EU, through policies and initiatives in response to citizens’ everyday concerns and insecurities. The effort of the Presidency will focus on the areas of economic recovery, employment, cohesion, mobility of the EU citizens and European security, both internal and external.
Deepening the influence of the Union, by promoting policies and actions to remedy and restore initial deficiencies in the Euro area, unveiled by the recent crisis, is the other target of the Presidency. In this context, the aim remains to preserve the integrity of the common currency, on a solid and sustainable basis, and to ensure financial stability.
The third objective of the Presidency is to build up the collectivity and solidarity links among Member States, as well as constructing European democracy and expanding civil rights.
Stoidis said that the sea is an area of privilege in terms of knowledge and action for Greece, as well as an inexhaustible source of growth and prosperity for the whole of Europe.“Being a traditionally maritime country, Greece acknowledges the great potential and opportunity that marine and maritime activities hold for the EU economy as a whole, on the condition of sustainability. At the same time, Europe has obvious strategic interests that justify the urge to bring to the fore and deal with security problems of sea borders management.”
In this context, Greece introduces a horizontal thematic that will run through all three of the presidency’s priorities, namely the EU Maritime Policies.The main idea of thisplan is to redefine and re-launch the EU Maritime Policy in all its aspects, emphasizing the two dimensions: security and growth.
The lecture was followed by a question and answer session.