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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference

Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference
Address by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos at the 6th Annual Exposec-Defenseworld Conference

«I am really honoured to be here today, at this vital discussion on defence and security, organised by Exposec-Defenseworld. It is a real pleasure for me to address such an exceptional audience; along with the other speakers of the Conference, we will try to discuss a very interesting and current matter: “Defense & Security in a Digital World”, which concerns the entire global community.
Two years ago, when this discussion begun, we experienced insecurity regarding our country’s future; last year, some reservations were expressed. I am very pleased, as this year we all agree that the country has turned the page. The time of the crisis, the time of conceding our national sovereignty, the time when we received orders by our creditors has passed, as a result of the Greek people’s sacrifices and everybody’s hard work.
At this point, I would like to underline the role played by the Armed Forces. The role of the leadership, the officers, NCOs, recruits and national guards during these dire times of the crisis, who managed to maintain our country’s defence even though the defence budget cuts reached 60% and the cuts to the payroll of the personnel in the Armed Forces and the Security Corps really weighed down their families.
We ought to thank them and their families; with their persistence, professionalism and sacrifice for their duty, Greece gained an influential geo-political role in the European Union and NATO.
We regained the respect of our partners in the European Union. Greece is not an outcast, but an equal partner who respects the agreements and asks the European Union to comply with its commitments.
In NATO, despite the financial sacrifices, we maintained the 2%, which is a goal for many m-s of the Alliance, managing to continue participating in international operations. At the same time, we gave our biggest battle with our creditors and I need to publicly acknowledge that the solution was found thanks to the intervention by the United States of America and the French President Hollande, who supported the new plan filed by the Greek Government and approved by the Greek people in September 2015.
The current Ambassador of the United States Geoffrey Pyatt, the Military Attaché Robert Palm and the entire American Embassy’s staff played a vital role to the improvement of the relations with the United States of America; they all worked hard and patiently, were constantly present at the media and prepared the diplomatic actions necessary so as to tighten the bonds between Greece and the United States of America, which have now reached their best level since the change of regime in Greece.
On account of this cooperation, through the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece gradually built close bilateral relations with all moderate African countries, as well as very close cooperation with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. Moreover, at the north, with the Balkan countries: Romania, whose Defence Minister is currently visiting Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and Serbia – after resolving past problems –, thus achieving to become, along with Cyprus, the center of an axis of stability amid a flaming region, with a future prospect.
Due to the fact that we maintained our power, with the Armed Forces’ contribution, we managed to extend this axis of stability beyond the areas of defence and energy. The choice to construct a pipe connecting Cyprus with south Crete, western Greece and Europe was not coincidental.
The fact that the cooperation for this pipe also involves Egypt, except Cyprus and Israel, as well as the reserves that will surface after the final signatures to the agreement between Greece and the companies Exxon and Total for the south and north Cretan deposits, was not coincidental either. Cooperation of this kind proves that our country’s future has evolved and is now completely different than it was in the past.  
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is acknowledged that the digital world we live in can achieve manipulation of the global community through digital technology, particularly through the Media or even propaganda.
The development and widespread use of electronic communications and satellite technology have provided us with capabilities unheard of in the past. With these means, it is possible to guide and target the emotion and way of thinking of millions, or even billions of people.
A great step towards the satellite era in Greece has already been taken. Hellas Sat is now a reality. The development of satellite policy is now on track and can deliver results. In the past ten years, we have lost more than €650 bil. from funds for the development of satellite policy which we never claimed. Even now, some people insist on laughing at or mocking the Greek Government for developing this technology.
At this point, I would like to assure you that the Ministry of National Defence and the Greek Armed Forces will closely cooperate with the Ministry of Digital Policy and Minister Mr. Nikos Pappas. Within the next months, we will invite the Hellenic Defence Industry, all of you, to participate in this new step; besides, inviting the private companies along with the state companies to all the diplomatic delegations within the Alliance or not, is something we have always done. We were together in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Indonesia, India, the Balkans and we will continue being together because our conviction is that the Greek companies are not an associate to the Greek public sector, but its inextricable part.  
The Greek officers who serve as Military Attachés in all the countries of the world, other than the Armed Forces and the Greek state industry, also represent private companies; this is the practice in all civilised countries.
The new generations of extremists have been trained in the best possible way to use the new digital technology in promoting their ideology. It should be mentioned that digital technology may help terrorists in propaganda activities, as well as in developing the know-how regarding the construction, usage and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. For example, the Mujahideen Handbook was available over the internet for several years, containing instructions on how to prepare and use various infectious substances. Several extremist groups published this handbook on their webpages, indicating they were interested in such dangerous substances.
Nowadays, security and defence are interdependent and, besides the effort made by the Ministries and the Headquarters, we should take a step forward and create common rules of engagement between the Armed Forces and the Security Corps, between the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Police and the Coast Guard.
This is the only way to face one such challenge, which not only regards the country’s security and defence, but also the Alliance’s security and defence. This Conference will set the basis for us to proceed to this crucial cooperation for our country, as well as for the Alliance.
Thank you very much. I wish for this Conference to be fruitful; I believe that we will be given a great chance at the Thessaloniki International Fair, which the Vice President of the United States of America has initially agreed to attend. The United States will be highly represented and we will be able to extend this political and defence alliance to a business one as well.
Greece may be the gate of the United States to the Middle East; it can be the gate for Middle Eastern companies to NATO and the European Union.
May you have the best of luck”.