December, 11 - 13, 2004
The Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation (GAAEC) held the 14th Annual Zappeion International Symposium on December 13th - 14th, 2004. Many distinguished personalities and dignitaries of The Greek and other Governments, members of the political, diplomatic, economic, academic and military community including active members of NGOs that presented the role of civil society in the respective panel, gathered in Athens to participate in this interesting event. A large number of qualified graduate & post graduate students attended also as part of their applied education.
The subject of the symposium was "New Developments for stability and cooperation in the Euro Atlantic area" divided into 7 round tables with special topics and expert speakers.
The 14th Zappeion Annual International Symposium focused on the developments as they were implemented at the Istanbul Summit and span from the NATO-EU enlargement to new security arrangements in the Balkans and the Middle East. During the discussions, it was appraised how these developments have affected or will affect the future of transatlantic relations, as well as Euro-Atlantic Integration.
Additional matters, of great importance to Transatlantic relations, that were discussed, was the new US Administration after the elections and reactions to it; the impact of economic diplomacy in international security and the role of NGO's in Public Diplomacy.
As in the previous years, subjects of importance to women and young people are included also, as their participation in international relations is becoming increasingly important in shaping world opinion. It is most often that women and young people have interesting perspective in matters such as security. Thus, as the Euro-Atlantic Associations have assumed the role of mediator between NATO and the public opinion, in order to enhance the role of the "New NATO," so have women and young people taken up the role of mediator in modern aspects of society.
The opening ceremony started with Mr. Theodossis Georgiou, the President of the Greek Association for Atlantic & European Cooperation, followed by the presentation of Mr. Vassilios Michaloliakos, MP, Deputy Minister of Defense of Greece. The next speaker was Mrs. Anna Diamantopoulou, MP, Former Member of the European Commission of Greece. The opening ceremony continued with the message of Mr. Jean Fournet, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy and ended with Mr. Troels Froling, Secretary General of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA).
Mr. Georgiou reiterated "that 2004 is a very important year for the EU, on the European as well as the Euro-Atlantic front, and that the Symposium will be devoted on these two dimensions.
He continued by mentioning that, "Regarding NATO, three neighboring countries are intensely working on their integration process. The Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, in cooperation with the Atlantic Associations of Sofia and Bucharest, is ready and willing to extend any support necessary to our colleagues in Tirana, Zagreb and Scopje.
Furthermore, the insecurity that is reflected in the current era due to International Terrorism, can only be confronted through collective effort and with the capabilities that experienced collective International organizations, like NATO, E.U. and O.S.C.E. can provide."
In conclusion, the President presented the new and enhanced role of NGOs, especially those of EuroAtlantic Associations, that can assist in solidifying an atmosphere of trust among nations. In addition, the new dimensions of security in our times make the search for new ways of communication between people, that much more important.
Mr. Vassilios Michaloliakos referred to the important strategic role and Greece's strategic objective to participate in the fundamental changes under way in the Balkans by establishing substantial and sincere cooperation with the neighboring states. "Greece should be the country that will be the guiding light across the Balkan Peninsula and must also pave the way for the Balkan states that are not E.U or NATO members. Into that serious effort Greece offers technical and financial aid as well as technical assistance with Greek officers to train their armed forces according to NATO's and E.U's standards. As a result Greece is a factor of stability for the given region and everybody is in profit when peace and the rule of law are reinforced". He concluded his speech by saying that Greece is working towards an autonomous Europe as far as security issues are concerned, but a smooth cooperation with NATO forces is always indispensable since NATO possesses the crucial know how, the experience and the loyalty for this kind of issues.
The next speaker was Mrs. Anna Diamantopoulou. She opened her speech by mentioning that the war nowadays has been transformed into a new form. She continued by stressing that Euro Atlantic cooperation would benefit the world, since many solutions would be given to the greatest problems of the humanity (famine, poverty, religious fundamentalism and less the nationalist interests of the past), which are the reasons of the transformed warfare. As a result, many global organizations are being transformed, such as NATO, and they start to build cooperational bonds with other organizations like OSCE and the U.N. That kind of transformation affects the nation states, as they have now to re-examine their doctrines, the way that they used to fight and the new standards for their weaponry. Mrs. Diamantopoulou referred to the importance of security as a factor of prosperity. Europe should take part in all the peacekeeping and therefore should create a common framework for such missions and must also find the proper resources to build its own army. If Europe decides to materialize those principles, it has to cooperate with NATO and the US in the fields of weaponry and military investigation and to focus on the modernization of the already existing forces.
The opening ceremony continued with Mr. Jean Fournet. Mr. Fournet in his message expressed NATO's ideas on "Public Diplomacy". As NATO continues to adapt to the changing security situation, the need to engage public opinion in member states and beyond is more essential than ever. To be credible and legitimate, every action NATO takes needs to be fully understood and supported by public opinion at home and in partner countries, because "it is the public that we are accountable to at the end of the day". He mentioned the basic ideas for NATO's future as they were delineated in Istanbul's summit last year, which are to re-convince publics on both sides of the Atlantic of the necessity of trans-Atlantic security co-operation through NATO; establish a new public perception of a transformed, future-oriented NATO dealing concretely with the new spectrum of security threats; stress the importance of NATO's operations; and encourage an active political debate between Allies as the Alliance is no longer a "Eurocentric" Alliance, but it is an instrument we can use wherever our common security interests demand it.
He then addressed a rhetorical question to the participants by wondering "what is NATO for". According to him security today is affected by a range of different risks and threats. Terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are perhaps the most lethal of these new challenges. It was proven in Afghanistan, that the failing states can cause instability in their own region and well beyond. With these changes, the Alliance has shown its preparedness, and its ability, to tackle the new challenges to our security head-on, when and where they arise. Challenges to security don't have borders. Meeting these challenges, and defeating them, requires the closest possible international co-operation and NATO is deeply committed to such a multilateral, co-operative approach. He then mentioned that only a few days ago, NATO terminated its Stabilization Force mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union assumed responsibility for stabilization operations. It is a turning point in Bosnia and Herzegovina's development. It is also proof of the developing cooperation between NATO and the European Union, he added. He pointed out that NATO is the unique transatlantic bridge -a permanent security forum for the Europeans with America. Concerning Greece, Mr. Fournet stressed its participation with troops in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and with naval forces in the Active Endeavour operation. It contributes to the Alliance's priorities in a very constructive way and during the Olympic Games the cooperation with Greek authorities was excellent. He concluded by saying that NATO's assistance was a clear demonstration of support and solidarity towards a member state. Assuring access to Alliance's capabilities is very important for our members while on the other hand, NATO' presence was a sign of NATO military readiness to contribute to the international community's fight against terrorism.
The Secretary General of the ATA Mr. Troels Froling mentioned the agenda and challenges that the ATA is dealing with. Together with the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) it is on a mission to create a public opinion profile and explain the new role of NATO. It is important for the ATA to make NATO visible and viable to the public.
That can be achieved by engaging the public, in the form of NGO's, think tanks and visits to NATO. Through seminars and conferences networking can be created that can help very much in explaining the new role of NATO. He characteristically said, "In my first year in office as ATA Secretary General I have discussed the ATA strategy in many associations, with emphasis on the Southern and South Eastern part of Europe. I have the strong impression of dedication in the ATA, and I thank everyone for taking the discussion on how best to engage the public, especially the successor generation in the necessary debate on new Atlantism. We see a very positive development in the youth field. I also look forward to develop cooperation with what I hope will be the Youth of Turkey and to welcome young people as members, in all of our national associations, national YATAs or youth committees. It is of the utmost importance that we get the new generations of decision-makers in the security field onboard the ATA. In Greece we see exactly this development taking place. nder the leadership of Dr. Aliki Mitsakos the first "Kernels of Our Future" program was launched in 2004 for young people of the age 14-18. A three weeks' summer Symposium, the first of its kind for this age group in all the ATA member associations. I thank you Aliki - and Theo - for the initiative and for the leadership in showing the way for a group, the teenagers which has not so far gotten the strongest attention among the ATAs. This is a most important part of the ATA education strategy and its activities with the teenage generation."
Lastly, Mr Froling mentioned the objectives of ATA for 2005 by asserting the goals for this year, which are: Becoming more proactive (ATA, Secretariat, ATA & YATA members.), setting up Secretariat in Brussels, improving the internet platform, upgrading the Educational Strategy, setting up the Public Affairs, PR & Branding advisory committee; reaching out to our neighbours, developing cooperation with our members and organizing a Mediterranean Dialogue Conference by G.A.A.E.C. in cooperation with ATA.
The first round table topic was "NATO & EU, Current Dilemmas and future roles", chaired by Mr. Ioannis Bourloyannis - Tsangaridis, Ambassador, a.h., Diplomatic Advisor to the Minister of National Defence of Greece. The speakers were Mr Paul - Reitre Brouwer, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to Greece (Presidency of the EU), Mr. Thomas Miller, Ambassador of the US to Greece, Mr. Alexei Rogalev, Minister Plenipotentiary, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Greece, Mr. Werner Fasslabend, MP, Former Minister of Defense, Former President of National Assembly of Austria and Mr. Loic Bouvard, MP, Former President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Mr. Ioannis Bourloyannis-Tsangaridis, introduced the subject of Euro-Atlantic relations in respect to the rest of the world. He stressed the importance of a European defense and a more active EU role in International relations while at the same time reaffirming the necessary role of NATO.
To begin with, the first 3 Ambassadors stressed the importance of the solid and concrete cooperation of NATO and their countries. All of them praised the role of the EU in FYROM, Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the Democratic Republic of Congo but they also stressed that this is not enough for the EU since ESDP has not been fully developed yet.
The outgoing US Ambassador stressed out that Europe has to cooperate with NATO in a firm way, as this military organization is the most experienced institution worldwide. Mr Miller pointed out that the US and EU have a common background and they are against terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and regional conflicts but sometimes there are some disagreements regarding the right approach or the best course of actions for certain problems.
Mr Brouwer agreed that this cooperation is inevitable since the Dutch government and the majority of the European governments cannot afford to develop two different arrays of armed forces (one for the EU and another one for NATO) considering that duplication should be avoided. Mr Brouwer also mentioned that acting in the EU presidency, Netherlands has taken up a challenge of cooperation with NATO and EU secretariats and other Mediterranean states. He referred to the Althea operation (the follow-on operation to the NATO SFOR-operation in Bosnia Herzegovina) according to which European and NATO troops are cooperating for a common goal, in a very productive way for both sides. As a consequence the Dutch Ambassador supported a more broadened and deeper cooperation with NATO.
Mr Rogalev said that it is inconceivable for Europe to go on without Russia's aid and continued, "The future of Europe is inconceivable without Russia," noting "there is no all-powerful means of protection from threats." He added that the discussions are continuing for the unified European space and the gradual Russia-EU approach as Russia and the EU have put forward four common areas of discussion which concern the economy, freedom, justice and internal security, foreign security and education and culture."
"Transatlantic relations, QUO VADIS?" was the topic of the next round table. The presentations were by Mr. Francois Moreau de Balasy, Honour President of the Atlantic Association of France, Mrs. Maria Wagrowska, Vice President of the Polish Euroatlantic Association, Dr. Radovan Vukadinovic, Professor at the University of Zagreb and Dr. Kostantinos Ifantis, Ass. Professor to the University of Athens.
Mr Balasy who took the floor first made a brief historical reference concerning the cooperation between France and the US. He then tried to analyze the basis of the temporal Euroatlantic cooperation. He pointed out that the keys for a stable and sincere cooperation are the common ideals and values shared, the threats and the background. Nevertheless he stressed out that nowadays the public opinion in Europe is influenced by anti-American feelings, even if both communities believe that they share the same values but strongly disagree on the use of weapons for peacekeeping. He continued by saying that we have to maintain our democratic traditions, to give a flexible and coordinated response to the ever evolving threats and to protect our security and our common background.
Mrs Wagrowska and the two professors agreed with Mr Balasy pointing out that the cooperation that has been talked so much in the conference should be undertaken on terms of equality and sincerity otherwise we will not be able to talk for cooperation but for patronization.
Mrs Wagrowska and Mr Vukadinovic said that the societies of their origin are not so mature to accept the European perspective as an equal to NATO's but they hope that in the near future this preoccupation shall be weakened.
The round table that followed was "NGO's and their role in Public Diplomacy; enhanced security and Cooperation in the Balkans and the Middle East. Are there further perspectives on these common issues?" chaired by Dr Aliki Mitsakos, Chairperson, Education & Science Committee, GAAEC, followed by Dr. Pantelis Sklias, Ass. Professor and President of the Greek Committee of NGOs for Development, Mrs. Avgustina Tzetkova, Vice Chairman of ATA, Secretary General of Atlantic Club of Bulgaria and Mrs. Elia Chatziyanni, Political Analyst and Lobbying specialist.
Dr Aliki Mitsakos begun by analyzing the role of citizens' - civil society and therefore the NGOs in the new international environment. The development of the NGO sector is an important part of the development of civil society and the prevention and management of political and social tensions. NGOs are as plural and diverse as society with different visions, methods and scales of operation. They are active in attempts to improve human security and social, economic and environmental affairs, and their numbers have mushroomed in recent years. NGOs flourish because the traditional policies are not as efficient nowadays and the active involvement of citizens supplements the grassroots needs in the field, ranging from political development to economic sustainability. "The effect of public opinion in all International Organizations is probably the single and only so powerful and so inconspicuous effect that is so often misunderstood". The actions of NGOs reflect flexibility, relations of confidence, solidarity, independence, and maintenance of the system applying Democracy in Practice or Collaborative Government sustaining the values and objectives, providing "Care" and controlling or collaborating with the other two sectors of society i.e the administrative and the economic sectors.
Mr Sklias referred to the national platforms, a system which was designed in UK first and then adopted by the rest of the European states. According to that, all the NGOs are divided into groups regarding their goals, their statutes and their structure of course. He then observed that active NGOs in the fields of Development are getting multiplied, especially in Greece, a country that has not supported its NGOs enough. To justify this position he presented many financial charts and tables that prove that the funds given to NGOs for such kind of tasks are dramatically increasing, a fact that depicts the continuously increasing responsibility of NGOs as well.
Continuing, Mrs Tzvetkova talked about the situation of NGOs in Bulgaria, and she pointed out that they have an important job since the number of NGO is small but very active.
Finally, Mrs Chatziyanni talked about the meaning and the reasons of lobbying. She defined lobbying as the process of trying to intervene into the legislative process or to have an impact on specific people. Even though there is a misconception that it is immoral, it is but a duty for every well-respected NGO. She also said that the US is the most lobbying tolerant country as it is applied by various national groups. Then she analyzed the steps that a lobbying process should follow and she finished by mentioning Greece' moves ahead but also the improvemnts that should be done on this field.
THE WORKING DINNER WITH BUSSINESSMEN
A working dinner was incorporated in the works of the Symposium. The participants invited were various personalities from the industrial and commercial business world, focusing on the defence industries. During this working dinner a panel with the title: "Euro - Atlantic Defense Modernization: An opportunity for Industrial Development & Cooperation" chaired by Mr Evangelos Tsirkas, Lt General, President of the Defense Analysis Institute, presented the views on industrial development and cooperation of Mr Anastassios Tenekoudis, Director General of Hellenic Defense Industries and Research, Mr Spyros Moulias, President of SEKPY (Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Material Association), Mr Dennys Plessas, Regional Vice-President Europe, Middle East, India & Africa, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics/International Company, Mr. Christian Hadjiminas, Chairman of Epicos S.A. and Mr. Stefanos Costopoulos, President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. The opening remarks were presented by Mr Theodossis Georgiou, President of GAAEC.
Mr. Evangelos Tsirkas started by saying that in our days, the global security system presents a visible liquidity, which has been reinforced by the instability in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, South-central Asia and the Middle East, and has a peak in the wars of the Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. He continued by saying that by this kind of instability the national interests cannot be really safeguarded. There should be a strong and thriving defense industry. That is the reason, the defence industry sector was and still is an essential factor for the safeguarding of national interests. The existence of a defence industry is modern, effective and competitive. Moreover, it constitutes a very important element of national defence, since first, a dynamic and competitive defence industry represents a significant contribution to the technological and industrial development of a country and secondly, the products of defence industries are not only useful for the armed forces of the country itself, but also for exports, serving political as well as commercial purposes. He concluded by referring to the European dimension, and he seemed to be very optimistic for the future.
Next speaker was Mr Tenekoudis. He referred to the importance of fighting terrorism and he recognized it as of the highest priority. Into this context a program concerning an armament project was endorsed. This program would give NATO more surveillance capabilities and intelligence services as well as a better capability in crisis management. He also referred to the Prague Summit where members of NATO adopted a package of measures that will strengthen NATOs preparedness and ability to take on the full spectrum of security challenges, including terrorism. He then pointed out the significant role of Euro-Atlantic Defense Industry on this field, as it provides technical support and it also produces new defense systems that enhance the global security. He concluded by saying that the contradictions between the EU and the US may be overcome and the European Defence Agency is bound to move towards that direction.
Mr Moulias stated the goals of SEKPY, which are; Promotion and protection of the legal interests of its Members which include all the Greek Defense Companies state and private, summing up to more than 150 members, Development of the Greek Defense Industry, Promotion of exports for reducing the enormous negative balances that Greece faces in the defense materials sector, Facilitation of cooperation, and facilitation of foreign companies' search for Greek subcontractors. Then he referred to the progress of the Greek defense industry in the fields of indigenous constructions of defensive material, since Greece is now capable in producing from ammunition and explosives to arms and arming systems, ships for the Hellenic Navy, military and armored vehicles, electronic telecommunications and electro optical materials, as well as other products, such as inflatable ships, etc. During his speech Mr Moulias mentioned to how an agreement concerning the production of defence material should be materialized.
Mr. Plessas and Mr. Hadjiminas reffered to the utmost importance for both Lockheed Martin and Epicos respectively, to maintain high standards concerning their defensive material since they are two companies that pave the way in their fields. Especially in Lockheed's presentation the success of the company was shown by the popularity of its products. Epicos is following the continuously evolving technology and not only fulfils that goal but also establishes strategic cooperation with other companies with global influence. Both companies are beneficial for the world's defensive capability and Greece itself.
The final speaker Mr. Costopoulos rejected the idea of an autonomous Europe on the sector of defensive industry since there are no "national" companies anymore having lost their national identities. On the other hand, he mentioned, "we can see lots of transatlantic commercial merges and this is how the world of defensive industry must act in the future". He also stressed that the military means are not enough to preserve the peace and he supported the new role of NATO. Finally he mentioned the increasing funds on research programs and he wished that the Hellenic-American relations are strengthened in the fields of defensive industry and of «know how" transfer to the Greeks.
The symposium continued the next day, December 14th, and the first round table of the day continued on the topic "NGOs and their role in Public diplomacy; enhanced security and cooperation in the Balkans and the Middle East. The Youth Vision" chaired by Mrs. Avgustina Tzvetkova, Vice Chairman of ATA and Secretary General of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria. The speakers were Dr. Christos Frangonikolopoulos, Lecturer, Aristoteleion University, Mr. Grigorios Vallianatos, Member, Center for Strategic Development "Dimitra" and Dr. Zehra Vildan Serin, Professor, Fatih University of Turkey.
Mr. Frangonikolopoulos talked about the perspective of NGOs in Thessaloniki where students are very active on issues dealing with the existence of NGOs and their plans. He also supported that students should be motivated on that direction as the national platforms of NGOs can create a tremendously efficient network of cooperation and database environment, from which everybody could benefit.
Mr. Vallianatos informed us about NGOs. He said that NGOs could be divided into 2 groups based on the tasks that they plan to carry out: the local and the international. Then, he pointed out that 27% of the global wealth is distributed by NGOs whereas the percentage of aid for development (which is addressed to the developing world mainly) is 10% worldwide! He said that is really important for the NGOs to be considered as a new player in the international system. He concluded by stressing out that NGOs help in establishing world peace and stability in a multicultural environment.
Mrs. Serin started by saying that there are prejudices and problems between the Turkish and Greek nations on the Cyprus issue, the continental shelf claims, the population exchange and the minority rights. These political issues resulted in misunderstandings and lack of communication between the two neighbouring countries. It is of pivotal importance to activate NGOs of both nations to act with a vision to eliminate those prejudices and create an environment of mutual understanding and peace. She added that NGOs will affect all the citizens and both governments. She supported the slogan "think globally, act locally", considering it sufficient to resolve the conflicts in Balkans. Then she mentioned that many European programs for young people may increase young people's awareness on common interest issues and as a result the successor generation will become more and more tolerant and cooperative.
The last round table's topic was "Developing NATO's and the European Union's Future Roles in South Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean: The views and perspectives of the Actors." and presented the views of Mr. Luan Hadgaraga, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Mr. Neven Madey, Ambassador of Croatia to Greece, Mr. Blagoj Handziski, Ambassador of the Liaison Office of FYROM to Greece, Dr. Dusan Batakovic, Ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro to Greece, Mr. Alper Coscun, Head of NATO department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mr. Ram Aviram, Ambassador of Israel to Greece and Dr. Magda Shahin, Ambassador of Egypt to Greece. The chairman of that panel was Professor and General Director of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Mr. Theodoros Couloumbis.
The majority of the Ambassadors stressed out the utmost importance for their countries to enter NATO and the E.U, and they mentioned the new role of NATO in the new environment, which emerged after the 9/11. Concurrently they referred to the problem of terrorism (especially the Ambassadors of Israel and Egypt to Greece) and they agreed on the need for stronger cooperation and the process of building an environment of prosperity. Mr. Aviram also stressed that soft law practices are useful only where the use of power is on backup while Mr. Batakovic did not approve NATO practices in peacekeeping and peace building skills.
Specifically, the Ambassador of Croatia to Greece praised the progress the Balkans have made to date on stability and growth but also acknowledged that some problems still persist, such as nationalism, racism and open bilateral issues. However, Ambassador Madey pointed out that this does not mean that Balkan countries should not become members of Euro-Atlantic structures. "Croatia is on the threshold of NATO and the EU. Our example is very positive for other countries. We are fulfilling the Copenhagen and Partnership for Peace (PfP) criteria," he said.
The Ambassador and Liaison Officer of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) continued that "FYROM's strategic goal is NATO and EU accession while the EU has a share of the responsibility regarding what happened in Yugoslavia, due to a lack of policy". He referred to how Euro-Atlantic cooperation should focus on formulating a common strategy in the region; fighting crime, corruption, terrorism, trafficking; strengthening regional cooperation; and supporting economic growth in the region. According to Mr. Handziski, if Albania, Croatia and FYROM join NATO, then a step towards further stability in the region will have been taken.
The Ambassador of Serbia-Montenegro to Greece noted that Serbia has made achievements in the past four years even though the Hague was one of the greatest obstacles; since its actions helped radicals and extreme nationalists in the country, while the government could not do something. Furthermore, he referred to Kosovo. "Kosovo is a very difficult problem. Decision 1244 mentioned a multicultural and democratic society, but until today 250,000 Serbs have been deported, 170 churches have been set on fire, and there is no freedom of movement even for Serb MPs, calling Kosovo a "time bomb. For five years there have been unacceptable tactics and no one cares. It's difficult to understand how of 45,000 Serbs in Pristina there are now only 200 being protected by KFOR" he said. And specifically speaking for Montenegro, Ambassador Batakovic said that a referendum is scheduled for 2006. According to a US survey, 41%-43% of those questioned want independence. He concluded that Serbia wants a referendum quickly.
Alper Coskun, that continued, outlined the advantages that Turkey can offer to NATO and the EU, by contributing to stability, security and defense. Coskun pointed out that Turkey is active in EU operations in Southeast Europe and EUROFOR.
The Ambassador of Israel to Greece said that any 'moderate' policy is effective only if the exercise of 'harsh' policy is certain. He mentioned that in 2005 a change would be seen in the Palestinian issue. According to Ambassador Aviram, the greatest dangers are terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. "We must not fail regarding Iran's nuclear program," he said, while "when Europe expressed concern, Iran felt pressured", adding that only a joint, trans-Atlantic position can be effective.
The Ambassador of Egypt to Greece, finally, called on Europe to increase its political weight, as it could be a balancing force vis-ΰ-vis the US, and an active player in the Middle East peace process. According to the Ambassador, the cause of international terrorism is not just poverty but military occupation as well. Egypt trusts the EU and talks with the EU, but cooperates less with NATO. "To conclude, Egypt believes that for a successful dialogue to take place the NATO members should recognize that the real danger emanates from the fact that we cannot reach a just and durable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is on one hand. On the other hand, the NATO is suffering from a confidence problem among the peoples of the South. Such mistrust and augmenting suspicion in the region towards the NATO are real and one should deal with them as such, if we are sincere about making progress in the ongoing dialogue and cooperation. In this context, the NATO may show signs of good intention if it can convince its membership to enter into serious negotiations regarding the problem of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and help make the ME region free of these weapons, without any exceptions. This is vital if we are serious in maintaining security in the region. It is also incumbent upon us to thrive to apply the principle of transparency and refrain from adopting policies of double standards in this regard."
At the end of the Symposium there was a special session during which Mr. Vassilios Maghinas, MP, President of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hellenic Parliament and Mr. Andreas Lykourentzos, MP, Member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Founding Member of GAAEC made some last remarks.
Mr. Maghinas talked about Greek and Turkish national strategies taking into consideration that is hard to predict the future, since there are lots of political tendencies currently and no one knows which one is going to prevail. He supported the enlargement of the EU to the East, but he also reminded that Turkey has to comply with Acquit Communautaire since it desires to become an equal European member. Generally, what is likely to happen until the conclusion of the "power game" in Turkey, is to affront new Turkish challenges, as that kind of practice offers stability and cohesion to the current Turkish political system which is ruled by the military officers.
Mr. Lykourentzos agreed with Mr. Maghinas and added that the Greek side should be ready and aware to face challenges of the kind in the future. Consequently its military power should be fortified and Greece must invest in military research too.
Finally, Professor Athanassios Dokos, Director of Studies of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, summed-up the highlights of the symposium and Mr. Theodossis Georgiou made the closing remarks.
1. Katerina Loutzakis, graduate student Business Administration, Athens University of Economics & Business
2. Apostolis Mandralis, student International Relations, Panteion University
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Aliki Mitsakos - Georgiou M.D., Chairperson of Education & Science Committee, G.A.A.E.C.