Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos participated in a high-level conference on “Power Shifts in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Emerging Strategic Relationship of Israel, Greece and Cyprus” on Tuesday October 21, 2013, organized by the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
In his speech Ambassador Panagopoulos underscored the fact that Greece has always been a reliable security provider, and a strong factor of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean basin, and stressed the strategic importance of the synergies emerging among the three “natural partners” of the region: Greece, Cyprus and Israel, which he also called “beacons of hope” in a tumultuous region.
He specifically referred to the stronger and deeper relations between Greece and Israel in light of the recent first high-level meeting of the two governments, headed by Premiers Samaras and Netanyahu. Energy was among the sectors explored for further cooperation, which “can potentially address three sets of concerns in Europe: provide for environmentally friendly energy, provide for cheap energy, and provide for energy diversification.”
Ambassador Panagopoulos made a special mention to the great problem of illegal immigration, which affects not only the Eastern Mediterranean but also the whole of Europe, and therefore needs a comprehensive solution. He also underlined that Greek Prime Minister Samaras briefed the Obama administration on both his visits to Washington. More recently, PM Samaras and Italian PM Letta agreed to work together to address the challenge of illegal immigration in the context of the consecutive EU presidencies of the two countries.
Finally, Ambassador Panagopoulos assured that, while holding the Presidency of the European Union, Greece will “work hard to further enhance and support the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean, in which both the United States and the European Union have a large stake.”
At the same panel as Ambassador Panagopoulos participated the Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. George Chacalli, Minister for Economic Affairs of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. Eli Groner and Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL). Prepared remarks by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) were also distributed, as she couldn’t attend in person.