Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday opened the third EU-Arab World Summit, which is to run through Tuesday, focusing on strengthening regional cooperation and accelerating existing initiatives.
In his speech, Tsipras underlined the "critical" role that Greece can play in boosting dialogue between EU and Arab states. He added that Greece was upgrading its geopolitical role and described the country as a "pillar of peace and stability at the crossroads of three continents." Greece is leaving behind "recessionary programs," he said, adding that it was increasing growth rates and becoming an attractive prospect for investors once again.
Under the title "Shared Horizons," the summit brings together leaders, ministers and other high-ranking state officials from EU and Arab states as well as European Commission representatives at the Athens Concert Hall.
Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency that the central aim of the summit is to achieve "even more significant synergies in the critical region of the Near and Middle East."
"The presence of all these leaders highlights the upgrading of our country on the international stage over the recent period," Katrougalos said.
After Tsipras's welcome speech, guest speakers were to include Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov,, EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Palestine Dr. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, and the foreign ministers of Malta, Qatar and Austria, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.
Also scheduled to speak are Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic
Moroccan Minister Delegate to the Head of Government, Lahcen Daoudi, Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, , EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs & Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar and Maltese Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Minister Carmelo Abela, among others.
Speakers and delegates from 30 countries are to participate in the two-day summit.
Apart from the joint challenges faced by the EU and Arab world, the summit is to focus on the migration crisis, European and Arab policies in the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East, and environmental and energy issues.