“Europe is not the centre of the world, as it was 40 years ago. However Europe needs our trust as it did back then” the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias stated during his speech at the the 23rd annual Ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held on Thursday and Friday in Hamburg with the participation of 51 ministers and two deputy ministers.
“We form an Organisation that is based on common values, but we should consider what visions we have for the 21st century in depth. We should also reconsider, our geopolitical situation with more care. Europe and North America are not the same players they were when we signed the Helsinki Final Act” stated Kotzias adding that “Europe, today, is no longer the centre of the world, as it was 40 years ago. But, as then, Europe needs trust.”
The Greek Foreign Minister explained that “trust means mainly the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Trust means that we will endeavour to consolidate the Rule of Law and that we will defend Democracy and, above all, the principles of our Organization”.
Kotzias also made his positions on terrorism quite clear by stating that terrorism is an enemy “and we should, first of all, in Europe, sever the flow of capitals that fund terrorism.”
He mentioned the importance of the international ‘Conference on the protection of cultural and religious communities’ held in October 2015, in Athens where all of the heads of religions, spiritual leaders, and most of the Foreign Ministers of the Middle East met for the first time.
He announced that the Conference will be hosted again in 2017 and extended his invitation to all present. Kotzias stated that “This time [ sic. the conference will be organised] with Austria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. We are fighting against anti-Semitism and discrimination against the Roma”.
The Greek Foreign Minister spoke of “a better policy in the Middle East” and added that, “we should establish an Organization, in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, along the lines of the one we have here in Europe and North America; that is, the OSCE”.
He explained that “We should move the structures we have created and consolidated here in Europe, since the mid-1970s, to this region, which is currently the most unstable region in the world. Thus, we think we should talk with all of the Arab countries, and Israel of course, about how we can create such an institution. We are trying to create a preliminary structure: We organised the Rhodes Conference, at which European and Arab states met and endeavoured, jointly, to set up a similar institution”.
Finally, Kotzias emphasised the need to look at the migration issue in depth. “We should, as an Organization, look at the migration issue in depth. And we should always remember that we are facing such issues because of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the civil war in Libya. We should work more on dealing with the causes, rather than just discussing the issue of the refugees. It is a major problem, but its cause lies in the war, and Europe does not discuss this enough”.
In a final observation the Greek Foreign Minister stated that “it is a shame for the representatives of 67 states to meet here and not have an in-depth discussion but instead, read preprepared statements. This will not be good for the resolution of future problems”, he said./ΙΒΝΑ