HomeGreeceDeputy Minister of Foreign Affairs K. Fragogiannis’ address at the Southeast Europe...

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs K. Fragogiannis’ address at the Southeast Europe Energy Forum 2021 and the panel discussion Geopolitics, Networks & Pipelines in the Region (Thessaloniki 10.09.2021)

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be participating in this discussion, amongst such distinguished guests.

Our region has seen, over the years, more than its fair share of tensions, conflicts and long drawn-out geopolitical crises. Greece has made a strategic choice to promote political stability and respect for international law and act as a country-model in this respect for the wider region.

One sector that can definitely contribute not only to achieving economic growth and competitiveness but also political progress in the area, is the energy sector and as Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, responsible for Economic Diplomacy and Openness, I take a special interest in promoting this goal through energy diplomacy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

From our point of view, it is crucial to shape and promote a positive, broader and manifold agenda of cooperation in international affairs, focusing on developing synergies and joint activities.

We value regional cooperation as an effective tool for the overall development and stability of South East Europe (SEE). Building resilient infrastructure and connecting energy links between all the countries in our region is of utmost importance in order to deliver efficient, modernized energy systems that can assist economic development, address energy poverty and reduce the environmental impacts of energy use.

Furthermore, infrastructures can be a catalyst for de-escalation, cooperation, and peace, as they can reduce energy costs, diversify clients and suppliers, and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Investing in new technologies is also a much-needed change, which can also yield positive results for our region.

Acknowledging the importance of regional approach, Greece supports initiatives such as Energy Community, CESEC (Central and South Eastern Europe energy connectivity) and South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) – under Greek chairmanship until July 2022 – the only regional cooperation format in which all Southeast European countries participate. Such cooperation it contributes to the social and economic development of the Central and Southern Europe.

In the course of the last few years, Greece has also established international contacts in trilateral or quadrilateral formats with other countries in the wider region and has been participating in multilateral Fora. All these synergies aim at addressing together the challenges that each country has to face in the 21st century.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Greece believes that a country’s perception of energy security is undoubtedly defined by its position in the international energy value chain, the level of its technological leadership and its geographical location.

Due to its geographical position, Greece has the potential to become a European gateway, as well as an energy transit country for the wider region.

In this context, a significant number of energy infrastructure projects are built or under way in Greece, with the support and contribution of the EU, such as:

●     the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

●     the Interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria (IGB),

●     the Interconnector between Greece and North Macedonia

●     the planned submerged EastMed pipeline,

●     the construction of the floating LNG storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis, which alongside with the upgraded Revythoussa LNG Terminal will exploit further the potential and the flexibility of the LNG sector.

At the same time, Greece has a future in the oil and gas exploration sector. Eventual discoveries will enable the countries of the region to diversify further their sources.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over the past few decades, the geopolitics of energy has been synonymous with the geopolitics of oil and gas. However, a new concept of energy security is emerging, as the world shifts to clean energy sources. Renewable energy and smart interconnections will increase energy independence as countries move away from fossil fuels.

Europe’s shift towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 under the ‘European Green Deal’, places EU at the forefront of the global energy transition. Thus, we should opt to further diversify our energy mix, by attaching particular importance to the use of environmentally friendlier forms of energy such as Renewable Energy Sources, hydrogen and other renewable gases. These forms present a new potential for joint actions between the countries of the region.

At the same time, countries will increasingly derive the bulk of their energy supplies from integrated regional power grids, which will increase energy interdependence between neighbours. The existing, as well as the future, electricity interconnections of Greece with neighbouring countries reduce the costs of meeting electricity demand and in parallel improve security of supply and facilitate the cost-effective integration of the growing share of renewable energy sources.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Considering our geographical position and our rather troubled neighborhood, we have historically acted as a bridge between Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.
Despite the last decade of severe political and economic crisis coupled lately by the COVID pandemic, our homeland, thanks to the resilience of the Greek people, has transformed from being a source of uncertainty to a source of stability and solutions.

There is a wind of change, growth and prosperity that already blows across the country. Presently, it is a calm and steady wind, it is a sea breeze, but like all Greek winds, it has the potential to become powerful.

We will obviously keep working closely with our friends and traditional allies in view of promoting our mutual interests. We are back in business full speed ahead, through economic reforms and the strong political will of the new government, turning into an economic growth and investment hub for the wider region.

Above all, we shall always strive to be the regional pillar of stability and we encourage all our friends and neighbours to join us in this strategic pursuit.

I thank you for your attention.


Stay Connected
Must Read
Related News