The government is hoping that next week’s summit of the European Union’s Mediterranean countries in Athens will send a clear message that Greece has finally overcome its phase of introspection triggered by the protracted financial crisis, and is taking initiatives which could have a wider regional impact and have an influence on the EU’s orientation as a new balance of power emerges in the 28-member bloc.
With leaders from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta and Cyprus set to attend the September 9 summit, the government is hoping it can sow the seeds of a common approach to growth in an austerity-laden EU, as well as social cohesion and the migrant crisis.
The aim to put Greece back on the geopolitical map after a long hiatus will also get a boost from a meeting of foreign ministers from seven EU states and nine Arab countries on Rhodes on September 8 and 9, organized by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.
Meanwhile, Kotzias arrives in Potsdam on Friday for an informal ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to discuss the migrant crisis. Kotzias’s participation will mark the beginning of a month of intense diplomatic activity.
On Saturday, he heads to Bratislava, Slovakia, to attend an informal meeting of EU ministers for foreign affairs to discuss Ukraine, the fight against terrorism and a general debate over the EU’s shortcomings when it comes to forging a common front on foreign policy.
The migrant crisis and recent developments in Turkey will also be on the agenda.
He will also attend a working lunch, which will be attended by Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik.
Athens appears keen to play a pivotal role in ironing out differences between several EU nations and Turkey that fell out in a round of acrimonious exchanges in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July.
Greece’s intentions to bridge this gap were also reflected in the recent meeting between Kotzias and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Crete.