“THE DYNAMIC PRESENCE OF GREECE IN REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL AND DEFENCE ORGANIZATIONS, AS THE COUNTRY’S FORCE AGENT – THE STRATEGIC INTERESTS OF GREECE CANNOT BE CONFINED TO AN “ACCOUNTING” APPROACH CONCEPT”
The Minister of National Defence, Mr Beglitis, during his address – intervention before the Standing Committee of National Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament (06/07/2011), with the occasion of the ratification of one Technical Arrangement, one Protocol and two MOUs, presented the general framework of the national defence policy, as this is shaped through international agreements, the participation of the country in regional and international organizations of security and defence, as well as through bilateral agreements.
As Mr P. Beglitis stressed, every agreement reached by the Ministry of National Defence must respect some basic, fundamental principles and meet specific criteria. In this frame, all of the agreements promoted by the Ministry must:
- Fully secure the national interests of the country
- Convey the message that Greece respects and answers to its international commitments. Meeting the international commitments of the country, as the Minister stated, will have to be considered in the widest frame of cooperation structuring, to the extent that “the country can defend better and more efficiently its national interests, through the active, dynamic participation and presence in International and Regional Political and Defence Organizations”.
- Be based on the principle of reciprocity, as defined by International Law
- Fully comply and harmonize with the national constitutional, legal order. “These commitments are always taken up under the control and respect of constitutional legal order. I say this – the Minister went on – to answer to eventual reservations according to which these agreements and contracts restrict our national sovereignty or reduce our capability as sovereign state to exercise or defend our national interests”.
Later on, the Minister of National Defence clarified that the participation of Greece in NATO multinational operations will have to be evaluated, in the light of defence of the long-term national interests of Greece and not under the lenses of some short-term benefits that refer to an accounting perception of national policy. In this frame, he made a relevant reference to NATO military operations in Libya which once again, promoted the central, geostrategic role that the country can and must play in the frame both of the North-Atlantic Alliance and the European Union.
Mr. Beglitis stressed “…we are dynamically present with the best personnel of the Armed Forces there where the broader allied interests that could directly or indirectly affect the country’s respective interests, are really shaped”. On the other hand, the Minister stated that in order for the Ministry to operate more efficiently and make better use of relevant expenditures, cuts to personnel serving abroad and termination of some corresponding agencies had to be implemented. However, the Minister reassured the Committee that the said changes do not weaken in any way the country’s national interests, in the sense that additional personnel that were dismissed could serve neither the operational nor the military – defensive diplomacy of Greece. He stated in reference: “Fiscal circumstances are just the excuse. Even if it was not there, this reform would have to be carried out”.
Finally, the Minister reported that our country proceeds with the development and consolidation of military, defensive, technological and industrial relations with Israel. This national strategic choice, as Mr. Beglitis decisively said “will not have any effect neither on the development and consolidation of our historic relations with the Arab world, nor the development and further consolidation of our relations with Turkey”. On the occasion of the development of bilateral cooperation relations of Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, an area where instable geopolitical balances are shaped, the Minister of National Defence depicted the political frame of the national strategy in the defensive and diplomatic field: “With regard to the country’s foreign and national defence policy, we do not act impulsively. We believe that further development of relations with all active agents in the wider area will contribute to the stability and security of our area. These are our broader strategic goals: peace, security and stability in our area, because through implementation of these three goals, Greece will be able to develop and not just defend its national interests and its policies, during a very critical and difficult time period”.
In the frame of the works of both relevant Parliamentary Committees, Mr. P. Beglitis reassured the MPs that his main intention is to intensify the dialogue, the information provided and the control over the actions of the Ministry of National Defence.