HomeGreeceMinister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the Economist’s conference “Europe...

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the Economist’s conference “Europe in times of unrest: taking the vision of unity and solidarity to the next level” (Thessaloniki, 08.09. 2022)

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr. President, I also had the pleasure of hosting the Foreign Minister of the French Republic, Catherine Colonna, in Athens the day before yesterday, and I reiterated to her that Greece relies on French support; Greece relies on the strategic relationship and alliance with the French Republic.
It is a great honour and pleasure for me to be here and address you tonight in the presence of a great friend of our country and former President of a great and friendly country.
In this regard, we address the energy challenge. And I believe that Thessaloniki, in Northern Greece, is perhaps a great place to bring this up. Gas pipelines, the TAP, and the IGB are elements of addressing this challenge. They prove that our country has been able to foresee the future.
Our homeland, Greece, has contributed to this effort with discernment, as its principles, values, and firm positions demand, always in accordance with International Law.
However, the challenges that Europe, the European edifice, and our country face today do not come solely from the North. Unfortunately, they also come from the East. Ladies and gentlemen, in the last days we have witnessed a huge escalation of Turkish provocative conduct towards Greece. And an incredible and indescribable qualitative upgrade that poses a direct threat to the territorial integrity, not to mention the very existence of our homeland. We have never before heard anyone contest the Greekness of the Aegean islands. And let me reiterate here in Thessaloniki what I stated before the Hellenic Parliament this morning when I introduced the Protocol of Accession of Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Alliance.
Our country, our people, and our society are not deterred by these threats. Our country, our people, and our society reject these threats. And we call upon our allies, our friends, and members of our European family to recognize the magnitude of the challenge our country faces.So, I want to state unequivocally and to each and every recipient that our response to the challenges we face is that of a modern, strong, European democracy. It’s a response that rejects all forms of revisionism wherever they come from. A response that rejects neo-Ottoman concepts and practices and looks forward to a shared European future of unity and solidarity.
Thank you very much.
Because I believe, as we all know very well, that the ties between France and Greece date back centuries. Every Greek child finishing school knows who Admiral De Rigny was, and what we owe him for the success of the Greek Revolution. Every Greek University graduate knows who General Maison was and who drove the Ottoman troops out of Greece at the time of Kapodistrias. And being here in Thessaloniki, I can only say that we are all aware of who General Sarrail was, who was here, in this city when Greek and French soldiers fought side by side in the First World I. And of course, we stood shoulder-to-shoulder in World War II as well. Many of us who are older remember newspaper clippings from General De Gaulle’s visit with Konstantinos Karamanlis in 1963. And of course, Mr. President, I am addressing you to tell you, on behalf of the Greek Government, but also, I believe, on behalf of the Greek people and Greek society, that we will never forget the help you have given us.
The solidarity and unity that you taught us, Mr. President, are elements that, unfortunately, we need desperately in Europe today, so as to address current challenges and the forces of revisionism that are resurfacing in the 21st century. The Russian invasion of Ukraine put the European edifice to the ultimate test. And it continues to do so. However, the European edifice emerges stronger from this test, as it has from all previous crises.
Monsieur le Président,

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