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These are largely consequences of the geographical and geostrategic position of the Greek state.
There are other courses of action as well which influence both the EU and Greece which result from Greece's position. Given the proximity of the state towards Africa through the Mediterranean Sea, Greece has an important access to the Middle East. In this sense, it fosters relations both with Israel, as well as with the Arab countries. On this issue, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs points out that "in respect of the Mediterranean countries of Europe these relations fall within, and are largely dictated by, the political, economic and legal framework of the European Union." (2008) Under these general guidelines Greece established the Mediterranean Forum in 1994 and is working in close cooperation with the European Union in the Euro Mediterranean partnership. This aspect is important because it offers a sense of multiple dimensions to the Greek initiatives to maintain strong relations with the North African region as well as the Middle East.
Despite the involvement of Greece in the partnership it is rather hard to identify precisely the actual initiatives Greece had in this environment. Indeed its position represents an important linkage point particularly because it stands at the juncture of major routes of political debate, economic interests, and cultural perspectives. Nonetheless, there are no particular guidelines to provide a coherent and innovative position for Greece. In this sense, the role of Greece is pointed out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in rather general terms. Thus, "Greece attaches particular importance to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, with its common goals of peace, security and prosperity for the region. Of course these relations are influenced, but not dominated, by developments and tensions in the Palestinian issue" (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2008). These set of guidelines are as ideal as they are general.
In terms of the pressures the position of Greece puts on the ongoing political development of the state, it can be said that Greece has by no means different problems than other states from the European Union concerning the North African and Middle East regions. Thus, the problems with immigration Greece has are similar to those of Spain, Portugal or even Germany. More precisely, "Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece have changed from traditional emigration countries into immigration countries, while tradition migratory "duos" such as Algeria and France or the Commonwealth and the United Kingdom, which are based on colonial links, are tending to split up" (Yazami, 1997). Therefore, it is rather hard to identify an individual stand regarding the Euro Mediterranean Partnership for Greece. Nonetheless, the simple fact that Greece is encountering these problems is a direct result of the position it has in the region and in the European Union.
The position of Greece however has an important economic dimension. Due to the fact that it stands at the "geographical, commercial and cultural crossroads between Asia, Middle East and Europe" Greece benefits from any possible trade routes, as well as energy supplies. At the same time, given the new priorities of the EU concerning energy supplies the role of Greece will only increase in time. In this sense, there are several projects which will include the country in the routes for oil and gas. More precisely, some strategies focus on the consideration of Greece as "a regional or interregional supply corridor, such as the Burgas - Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the Central Asia (Turkmenistan) / Iran-to-Europe gas pipelines (Southern Route), the Kavala LNG export terminal." (World Energy Council, 2007)
The projects which have in mind the transportation through Greece represent an important aspect of strengthening the relations between Central Asia and the Middle East through Europe. It is considered that one of the most important tools for diplomacy represents the economic diplomacy of the state. From this point-of-view, it can be said that a certain positive evolution in the relations between Central Asia and Europe on the one hand, and Europe and the Middle East on the other can be achieved through economic cooperation. With this perspective in mind, the geostrategic role of Greece is determinant.
Finally, the cultural aspect must be taken into account at this point. In this sense, the position of Greece which holds important ties with Turkey and the Balkans is crucial for creating a greater sense of cultural diversity inside the European Union. It offers an idea of acceptance, as Greece faces great diversity in terms of its people and culture. At the same time, the fact that it is involved in the Euro Mediterranean Partnership and the Mediterranean Forum offers a greater perspective on the cultural dialog that could take place at the level of the member states.
Overall, it can be said that from all points-of-view, Greece's position is essential for both itself and for the EU. It sets a proper framework for contact, analysis, and cooperation at the level of the actors in the region such as Turkey or Macedonia. At the same time, its EU membership allows Greece to discuss regional issues in a communitarian context and enables the EU to approach these matters with more relevant information. Finally, the economic and cultural aspects are as well important because the EU through Greece can import and discuss them throughout its foreign policy analyses.
Bilgic, T. & Karatzas, P. (2004). The Contraction in Greece-Turkey-EU Triangle: Rapprochements at the Edges. Accessed 16 June 2008, at http://www.econturk.org/Turkisheconomy/turkeygreece.pdf
CIA World Factbook. (2008). Greece. Accessed 16 June 2008, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gr.html
Dimitrakopoulos, D. (2004) Greece in the European Union. Routledge: New York.
Highet, K. et al. (1995) "Commission of the European Communities v. Hellenic Republic." The American Journal of International Law. Vol. 89, No. 2, 376-385.
Lesser, I. et al. (2001) "Greece's New Geopolitics." RAND. Santa Monica, CA.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Greece. (2008) Regional Policy. accessed 16 June 2008, at http://www.ypex.gov.gr/www.mfa.gr/en-U.S./Policy/Geographic+Regions/South-Eastern+Europe/Balkans/Regional+Policy/
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2008) Greek Mediterranean Policy. Accessed 16 June 2008, at http://www2.mfa.gr/www.mfa.gr/en-U.S./Policy/Geographic+Regions/Mediterranean+-+Middle+East/Greek+Mediterranean+Policy/
The Thessaloniki Summit: a milestone in the European Union's relations with the Western Balkans. (2003). Accessed 16 June 2008, at http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:0gGE6PA2RdkJ:europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do%3Freference%3DIP/03/860%26format%3DPDF%26aged%3D1%26language%3DEN%26guiLanguage%3Den+EUROPEAN+COUNCIL+and+THESSALONIKI+SUMMIT+on+the+WESTERN+BALKANS&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1
The World Energy Council. (2007) Northern Greece: A Strategic Link in the Emerging Oil & Gas Supply Schemes From Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Accessed 16 June 2008, at http://184.108.40.206:8190/wec-geis/publications/default/tech_papers/17th_congress/1_2_25.asp#top
Yazami, D. (1997) "El New religions and secular movements in Europe." In Intercultural Dialogue Basis for Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Accessed 16 June 2008, at http://www.coe.int/t/e/north-south_centre/programmes/6_transmediterranean_dialogue/c_publications/InterculturalDialogue_Euro-Mediterranean_Partnership.pdf[continue]
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