HomeGreeceMinister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the event for the...

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the event for the presentation of the National Strategic Openness Plan (‘Hellenic Cosmos’ Cultural Centre, 21.09.2021)

Mister Prime Minister,

The implementation of a wide-ranging reform in the country constitutes an imperative for your Government, but also an essential precondition for national survival.

An element of this reform is the thorough overhaul of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This has been your instruction.

The challenge is obvious. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should move from the 19th to the 21st century. Τhis is to be pursued through two axes of reform.

The first axis is reflected in the new Law on the Organization and Operation of the Ministry, in effect since February. The Law on the Organization enacts the self-evident, in accordance with best international practices.

It incorporates Economic Diplomacy, Public Diplomacy and the issues of Greeks Abroad in the structure of the Ministry. In other words, it consolidates the diplomatic work.

The second axis is the modernization of the services provided by the Ministry through a change of philosophy and digitization, so that its services can become user-friendly and accessible, with physical presence no longer required.

At this point, I should like to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Digital Governance and Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis for the assistance they have provided us in the implementation of this second axis.

We started with a thorough change in the way translation services are provided. We abolished the Soviet model of state monopoly on translation, which had managed to achieve three goals at the same time: provide miserable services to citizens, burden the budget of the Ministry and the state with excessive costs, and employ more than 30 administrative personnel for a useless bureaucratic job.

The new, digitized procedure for the official translation of documents has been put into effect since September 1.

Also, by the end of the year, the direct registration of all relevant documents in the Civil Register will be operational in all Consular Offices. During the first months of 2022, all Consular services will be digitized. And then, within the next year, the application of innovative digital tools will follow.

Let us now return to the issue of Economic Diplomacy.

The guideline for the promotion of Economic Diplomacy is its reform, in order to serve the promotion of the economic interests of our country and those of Greek businesses.
In accordance with best international practices, a single body has been created, which integrates all the organizational units of Economic Diplomacy and Openness.

Two purely outward-looking organizations, EnterpriseGreece (EG) and the Export Credit Insurance Organization (E.C.I.O.), have also been placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The new form of EnterpriseGreece is centered on the one-stop shop principle. The E.C.I.O will provide export insurance products and export credits in order to improve the international competitiveness of Greek businesses. In this effort, Deputy Minister, Kostas Fragogiannis, and the competent Secretary General, Yannis Smyrlis play a pivotal role.

A primary aim of the overhaul of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also to make use of the network of the Offices for Economic and Commercial Affairs. We are promoting the restructuring of these Offices, based on target countries.

The emergence of Greece as an important investment destination constitutes a major challenge. The creation of a single portal for openness serves this purpose. Τhe International Development Cooperation component, which had ceased to exist more than a decade ago, was also restructured to ensure its effective operation. It is a foreign policy tool par excellence.

We have adopted targeted vaccine diplomacy. Donations have already been made to a number of countries such as:
•    Albania
•    Bosnia-Herzegovina
•    Jordan
•    Libya
•    Tunisia
•    Kenya
•    Rwanda

Donations to Gabon and The Gambia will follow.

As part of these reforms, the first National Strategic Openness Plan was also drawn up. This Plan incorporates the activities of the Embassies and the operation plans of EnterpriseGreece and the E.C.I.O. Also incorporated in the Plan are synergies with other Ministries in the fields of energy, transport, supply chains and agrifood products.
This reform, like all reforms, is based on a new mentality and a solid strategy. It aims to include all agencies and Services that contribute to strengthening the country’s openness. There is great scope for exploiting all possibilities for further developing Greek export entrepreneurship.

However, allow me to say that the success of this project is a necessary condition for our economic survival.

Thank you so much.


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