The Minister of National Defence Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos declared the commencement of the 1st Working Meeting titled “Analysis of the Geopolitical Environment in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean”, which took place at the “Major Dimitrios Kamberos” Amphitheatre at the Ministry of National Defence, on Wednesday 27 November 2019.
The Meeting was hosted by the General Directorate of National Defence Policy and International Relations of HMoND.
The Deputy Minister of National Defence Alkiviadis Stefanis, the Chief of HNDGS General Christos Christodoulou, the Chief of HNGS Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, the Chief of HAFGS Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis and HMoND Secretary General Mr Antonios Ikonomou also attended the Meeting.
The following individuals made speeches during the Meeting:
Mr Panagiotis Ifestos, Professor Emeritus at the International and European Studies Department of the University of Piraeus.
Dr Konstantinos Nikolaou, Oil Geologist-Energy Economist.
Ms Maria Bosi, Professor at the International and European Studies Department of the University of Piraeus.
Mr Evanthis Chatzivasiliou, Professor at the History and Archeology Department of the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens.
Mr Angelos Syrigos, Associate Professor of International Law and Foreign Policy at the Panteion University and New Democracy MP at the A’ Athens Constituency.
Mr Kostas Yfandis, Associate Professor of International Relations at the Panteion University.
Mr Konstantinos Lavdas, Professor of European and Comparative Policy at the Panteion University.
Mr Christodoulos Giallouridis, Professor Emeritus of International Policy at the Panteion University.
Mr Charalambos Papasotiriou, Professor of International Relations and Strategic Studies at the Panteion University.
Dr Vasilis Kopsachilis, International Law and International Relations Expert-Geostrategic Analyst and Mr Ilias Kouskouvelis, Professor of International Relations at the International and European Studies Department of the University of Macedonia.
The General Director of National Defence Policy and International Relations Mr Konstantinos Balomenos was the event’s moderator.
The Minister of National Defence Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos stressed the following, at the Meeting’s commencement:
“Chiefs of Staffs,
Esteemed Members of the Armed Forces,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I will not take much of your time, because I think that we are all eager to listen to the specialists, as they make their own geopolitical analysis. I would simply like to make some introductory remarks and say that from the first moment we took office as the Political Leadership of the Ministry of National Defence, we understood that, as jointness at the operational level leads to synergies, cooperations and a better operational result, then likewise at the level of geostrategic analysis, we must attract all those individuals who have an informed and well-founded view on these issues, due to specialised knowledge.
That is why we reached out to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, establishing a Military Office with members who operate as liaisons between the two Ministries, because these two Ministries are certainly the two pillars responsible for Foreign Policy and National Defence policy for our country, and thus they must cooperate, because in the context of dealing with problems and complex security challenges, nowadays especially, I believe that the two Ministries must keep an open channel of communication between them.
Diplomacy adjusts to National Defence and National Defence adjusts and supplies diplomacy with data and both of these pillars, collaborating and not excluding each other, can, in my opinion, through sufficient communication, produce a much better result regarding the national policy.
That is why, from the first moment, we tried to enhance the General Directorate of National Defence Policy and International Relations, so that this Directorate of indisputable strategic value for the Ministry, will be able to function more effectively and produce more work.
This scientific conference is hosted today in the context of that work and I think that congratulations are in order for those who strived for its organisation. All of us will gain something from its proceedings. I believe that we will hear many interesting things. I am really looking forward to the distinguished professors’ positions. It is of great importance to me to have the members of Academia contributing with their specialised knowledge and informed and broad view to the geostrategic analysis, geopolitics, to the issues of strategic communication, so that we and you, the members of our country’s Armed Forces, can gain knowledge which will certainly expand the horizons under which we approach all these problems.
That is why I am declaring my satisfaction about the whole of the work conducted by the General Directorate, but also about the new direction which will add something extra to everybody’s work here at the Ministry.
I welcome the distinguished professors.
I once more congratulate those responsible for the conference’s organisation.
I believe that we all have something to gain, especially given the complex situation we are facing in the intricate geopolitical environment, not only of the wider region, but also of the whole world. Of course, we will have to stay alert for any change. You understand that current changes are rapid, the environment is completely volatile and hence, as the senior members of the Armed Forces personnel, you must be fully briefed on all these issues.
I do not wish to take any more of your time, because I think that we are all eager to listen to the analyses.
I would like to once more express my congratulations.
This will not be the only scientific work. More will certainly follow. I believe that it is important to keep a tight pace, so that we will have the benefit to absorb the geostrategic analyses which the experts have to offer.
Once more congratulations and I wish you success in your conference proceedings.
We anticipate many and useful information.
Unfortunately, I will not attend all speeches, although I would like to, because tomorrow I am presenting the first substantial legislative document of the Ministry to the Ministerial Council, with the contracts for the upgrades of F-16, the contracts for the support of Mirage and the excess materials contracts for the submarines. I hope that it will be the first legislative intervention, not the last, but the first with many more to follow soon, thus contributing to the fight we are giving to upgrade the Armed Forces, given that there were several delays, and no more should take place.
Because, apart from the major issue of our personnel’s enhancement in all levels, I believe that, given the circumstance, we must begin the arrangements for the pending issues regarding the upgrade of the big weapon systems, which, truth be told, must reach the highest possible level of functionality.
Consequently, this case will be submitted tomorrow at the Ministerial Council. The consultation will follow and then the legislative procedure by the competent Parliament Committee and the Plenary Session will naturally take place. I believe that in mid-December, before the budget deliberations, we will have settled these two-three quite important issues and then the rest will rapidly follow.
Everyone’s fight, and I am sure that this includes each and every one of you, is to make the Armed Forces more ready and more combative at the level of platforms and at the level of personnel. This effort requires interventions. We need to fearlessly move forward with the arrangements and the settlement of pending issues and act rapidly.
Consequently, this is the fight we are giving. Let’s not delude ourselves. Nothing should distract us from our mission. The time to execute it with great dedication is now, more than never. You can understand why I am saying this. However, we certainly wish and welcome the contribution of the members of Academia, regarding a thorough analysis of the events surrounding us, which we must certainly decipher so as to decide how to move forward.
Thank you for your attention.
I am declaring the commencement of the conference’s proceedings.
Congratulations and success to your proceedings”.