«Officers, NCOs, Privates, Seamen, Airmen, Civilians and National Guardsmen,
For the year 2019, I would like to extend to you my most heartfelt wishes for health, personal and family happiness, and accomplishment of your ambitions.
The year we are leaving behind has been critical for our country, as the sacrifices made by the Greek people during the past years, to which you have actively contributed, led to our economy’s recovery and our exit from the crisis, to the end of the concession of our national sovereignty.
Our country’s international position to the Balkan region, as well as to the Southeastern Mediterranean, was further upgraded in the past years. We carried on building coalitions with the states in our neighbourhood, a fact which brings advantages for our country in the areas of defence and finance. Greece has proven once more that it remains a strong pillar of stability in the area, as well as that it is the country which seeks after peace, cooperation and the implementation of international law and treaties.
At the same time, the enhancement of our Armed Forces’ combat and deterrence capability within an environment characterised by high expectations and challenges was preserved; the year that passed was proclaimed “Personnel Welfare Year” and emphasis was put on actions taken in favour of our personnel who, with professionalism and constancy, carried out in the best possible way their high mission, in favour of our country and the society in general.
For the year 2019, along with the military leadership, we have paved the way so as to resolve a series of other issues which concern the personnel, and we continue the innovative policies as far as the National Guard and the Reserve Force are concerned. We are determined to move along the way we have paved throughout these years, with meritocracy, democracy, equality of rights and virtuous command. It is the least we can do for you, who guarantee peace for our country, territorial integrity and national sovereignty, so that the Greek people can progress untrammelled and build their future.
For the next year, continuing the targeted realisation of our programmes and other actions concerning the maintaining and enhancement of the Armed Forces’ combat capability, remains our priority; the shaping of the drive which will allow their transformation, so that they can successfully respond to future challenges is included in this context.
Women and men in the Armed Forces,
As a result of the escalating challenges from our neighbours, as well as the emerging requirements in the field of security in our broader region, the need to be alert and face collectedly potential schemes against our national sovereign rights is imperative. We should not forget that the occupation of part of the territory of Cyprus, a member-state of the European Union, continues against all international treaties and rules.
Throughout these years, I have lived with you your everyday activities on land, sea and air, and they led me to the conviction that the Nation has the power and the capability to handle the future with confidence and certainty, serving our national interests, as well as international peace and stability. This is why I feel very proud for each and every one of you.
Our thoughts are with those who safeguard our islets, Ro, Stronghili, Aghia Irini, Panaghia; with those who serve in the region of Evros, at Lagos; with the crews of our vessels, on the wheelhouses and at the engines; with the Readiness, the flying crews and the mechanics of our Air Force; with our National Guardsmen who, along with the Army, protect the country’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Your effectiveness and quality, through your successful multileveled social contribution, have attracted the Greek society’s admiration. You have enhanced the indissoluble bond and the strong reliance relations between the Armed Forces and the Greek people; a fact that raises further obligations from our part, so as to respond to our fellow citizens’ expectations.
For this reason, this new year shall be proclaimed “Social Contribution Year”, in order to convey and enhance your critical contribution to the assistance of the state mechanism and the society.
Women and men in the Armed Forces,
I invite you all to carry on your national mission with equivalent vigour, devotion and bravery, thus ensuring our Country’s territorial integrity and national independence.
I wish that 2019 will be the dawn of a new creative era for the Greek people and the Armed Forces.
However today, besides the order of the day, I would also like to specifically refer to the families of the Armed Forces personnel. To the wives, the children, the parents of the Armed Forces personnel of all grades who, in their turn, having the responsibility of their families, very often without having them by their side, also hold a great share for successfully gaining the Greek peoples’ trust.
I would like to thank in particular the wives, the children, the parents, the relatives of the Armed Forces’ personnel. They also help to the fulfilment of the Armed Forces’ mission.
As Minister of National Defence, who has the political responsibility, I am not the only one who feels proud. The entire Greek people are proud of you. Besides, the fact that in all relative surveys the Armed Forces have the Greek people’s trust by 95%, is not coincidental.
Along with the Alternate Minister of National Defence and the Deputy Minister of National Defence, we would like to thank the Chiefs, Officers, NCOs, privates and National Guardsmen, for your excellent work.
I would like to thank you and, at the same time, assure you that the Greek people is aware of the fact that the Armed Forces’ personnel conduct has greatly contributed to overcoming the crisis; you have all succeeded into making our country a geopolitical power. Greece, from part of the problem, was transformed to a solution; it became the axis of stability, the “plan A” country, as referred to by our international allies, through the US Minister of State.
This is the reason why Greece has reached at a point when, in 2019, it will exploit its natural resources, become a natural gas producer and energy hub, it will have a leading role in the Mediterranean and the Balkans.
My most heartfelt wishes and many happy returns to you all.
Happy New Year, with health and vigour.
May the Defender General protect your families and may Saint George, Sainte Barbara and Prophet Elijah be by the side of the Hellenic Army personnel; may Saint Nicholas be at the prows, on the decks and by the engines of our vessels and by the side of the families of the Hellenic Navy personnel; and may the Taxiarch Archangels be on the wings of our airmen and by the side of the families of the Hellenic Air Force personnel.
We shall proceed to this year with vigour and health, taking a step forward, towards the future. A step that will hand over the Armed Forces to the hands of new leaders, the chiefs of the Three military schools and the chiefs of the NCO schools. Under their command, in the years to come, shall emerge a Greece that will be different than the one we received.
Happy New Year”.