EU must back Greece over gas and oil exploration, says Samaras

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called on the European Union to help Athens declare an exclusive economic zone, in which it could exploit any hydrocarbon resources, and suggested that the EU could profit from uniting the areas in which Greece, Cyprus and Malta can explore for gas and oil.

“This is part of our European wealth, which we must exploit,” said Samaras in a speech at the 12th Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) Conference in Athens on Thursday. “The declaration of an exclusive economic zone is a matter for individual member states but the EU can support those countries so that the process can be quicker and everything can be completed safely.”

Although Samaras did not refer to Cyprus specifically, it was clear that his message was designed to underline Greece’s expectation that the EU should back Athens in any dispute that might emerge with Turkey over the delineation of the Greek continental shelf and future oil and gas drilling rights.

“We have to rally together for something that unites us,” added the prime minister.

Samaras also suggested for the first time that Greece, Malta and Cyprus could cooperate to maximize the potential for hydrocarbon discoveries. “Look at the map and see what great possibilities this creates for Europe,” he said.