Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called on the European Union to take a common stance on the issue of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) after meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Athens.
The two men made brief statements after the meeting, which was part of Anastasiades’s first official trip abroad since being elected.
They focussed on Cyprus’s imminent bailout, the island’s possible reunification and the issue of gas and oil exploration in the Mediterranean and Aegean.
Samaras said that the EU should unite behind a common policy on EEZs as both Athens and Nicosia eye future revenues from oil and natural gas.
“It is Cyprus’s inalienable right to make use of its EEZ,” said Samaras. “There is a need for a common policy on EEZs because the energy reserves of member states are also the energy reserves of the EU.”
On the Cyprus issue, Samaras said there was a new chance for a solution after Anastasiades’s victory but warned that the new administration did not have a “magic wand” and much would depend on the stance of the Turkish-Cypriot side.
Samaras also expressed hope that Nicosia would be able to extract the best possible terms for its EU-IMF bailout and called for coordination between Greece and Cyprus on issues related to the economic crisis.
“Hellenism is being tested but will come out of this stronger, with an improved political and geostrategic role,” said Samaras.
“We are determined to take the measures that will strengthen the state and will help cooperation between the two countries,” said Anastasiades, who was also due to meet other political leaders.
“Hellenism is experiencing a crisis but has been through tougher times,” he added. “The crisis is an opportunity to overcome any negatives.”