"After a decade of crisis, Greece has now made the choice to overcome introversion and strengthen its position in the world," said Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who is on Thursday briefing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs on the key pillars of foreign policy.
The Committee briefing, which is currently underway, has two stages. In the first and public hearing the foreign minister made his initial recommendation and a member of each party spoke. In the second stage, the debate continues behind closed doors.
Dendias informed the members of the Committee that "in order to meet the daily challenges in foreign policy and the defence of national interests, the foreign ministry is becoming a modern, different ministry with measurable goals."
In this context, e-government is a high priority, along with improving infrastructure. The improvement, he said, will be achieved by more efficient absorption of European funds and will concern both the central services of the foreign ministry and its services abroad.
On the basis of the policy of measurable foreign policy goals, including the better serving of Greeks by the Greek consulates, the maintenance of certain foreign authorities abroad and the creation of other new authorities is being examined. The parliamentary committee will be informed during the second round of debate, the foreign minister said.
Dendias also noted that the foreign ministry, in addition to its traditional role in foreign policy, would be a vehicle for boosting extroversion and exports. To achieve this goal "a triptych is being created, in which political and economic diplomacy will be assisted by communication diplomacy, offering new tools for the functioning of the foreign ministry."
The foreign minister noted that "the main lever of promoting Greece's positions can only be the power of the country" and underlined that for a country such as Greece, which has limited financial resources, the foreign ministry can be a multiplier of possibilities through the following objectives:
- Upgrading Greek participation in the EU and international organisations.
- Further improving relations with neighbouring countries.
- Strengthening Greece's ties with traditional allies and friends.
- Ties are being strengthened with countries "to which we may not have attached the appropriate importance until now". In this context, the emphasis will be on broad political, economic and cultural partnerships.
- All the geostrategic advantages of the country's position will be exploited. Particular emphasis will be given to a number of specific programmes aimed at making Greece an energy crossroads in the wider region.
- Greece's relations with the potential of expatriate Hellenism are deepening, given that expatriates and expat organisations are an important foreign policy tool.