Interview with FM Dendias: the goals, challenges and the need for a politically shared long-term vision of Greece’s foreign policy

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias spoke about the need for a united front of Greek political forces and society that will allow Greece to successfully face its challenges in the future, in an interview with Action24Press published on Saturday.

“As Greeks, it is necessary to be of the same mind, to have an idea of ​​the direction the country should take” in terms of future progress, Dendias said. If that happens, “then Greece will have the human resources to face any challenge, no matter how big”, otherwise “there will be a big problem”, he said. In this sense, he noted, the government has tried to create a political climate of national communication and mutual understanding with other parties, regularly informing them and explaining the reasons for actions. “It’s a model that we can also pass on to society,” he said.


Dendias also spoke about relations with neighboring Turkey and Greece’s foreign policy line of not turning disagreements into personal attacks but reacting calmly within the framework of international law. “We are not an expansionist country, we are not claiming anything from anyone, we want a European framework, an area of ​​democracy and protection of human rights”, he explained, adding that respect for the he human being is the optimum for Greek society. He expressed hope that one day Turkish society would also come to the same conclusion.

Commenting on the so-called memorandum on the Turkish-Libyan marine zone, which he says has no legal basis, the Greek foreign minister noted that it signals a great threat to Greece being cut off from the sea. The event led to a change in foreign policy, a maturing point shared to some extent by Greek society. This realization led to the understanding that Greece needed to develop a more complex way of dealing with issues, beyond the simplistic “I disagree with Turkey” and “I am right, and the international community will grant me my rights”.
Dendias reiterated Greece’s support for an independent European defense force. Greek society should have the certainty that Greece can defend its sovereignty on its own, if necessary, without this implying that it will not expand its network of alliances as widely as possible.

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Among other issues he raised, Dendias said it would be difficult for Russia to reverse the climate it has created and convince the smaller countries around it that it is not threatening them, and he expressed little hope that the current leaders would make such an effort.

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He also referred to the Foreign Ministry’s efforts to promote investment, “trying to introduce as many good foreign practices as possible, and connect the country with investment destinations.” He cited the economic relations that Greece has built with Israel and the United Arab Emirates as examples, saying that “all of this is the important result of a policy that sees beyond the narrow zone of ‘Turkey’ or ‘North Macedonia’ or ‘Albania'”.

With regard to the Western Balkans, he said that the region’s secure integration into the European Union is in Greece’s long-term interest, despite the challenges related to the integration of the countries of the region into the European framework. The historic mission of Greek society is to help these countries become part of Europe, he stressed, and Greece must focus on the big picture rather than small disagreements. These countries will struggle to develop their economies, democracy and institutions outside the EU, Dendias noted.

Greece’s foreign policy must be broad and work on many levels, one of which should be the protection of the environment and the marine environment in particular, Dendias said, referring to Greece’s hosting of “Our Ocean Conference”, an American initiative, which serves both the seas of the planet and the national interests of Greece by providing a framework for the protection of the open seas.