Greece looks to form ‘Partnership of Equals’ in Egypt during EU presidency

The Greek ambassador to Egypt said on Sunday that his country is seeking to use its six-month presidency of the European Union to help foster Egypt’s growth for the future.

Christodoulos Lazaris said that Greece’s policy during the presidency would focus on four areas tackling such issues as growth and employment, further Eurozone integration, illegal immigration and expanding integrated marine maritime policies. The theme of the presidency is “Partnership of Equals”, according to the ambassador.

The ambassador stated “business cooperation is going to be our flagship.” Lazaris pointed out that this “is not an empty promise” because Greece is the fifth largest European investor in Egypt, which amounts to $3.2bn of invested capital.

“The ongoing euro crisis makes it imperative to address the problems stemming from it first,” he said, stressing the need for growth for not only the EU member states, but also for its strategic partners, including Egypt.

The ambassador said of the marine and maritime policies set forth by Greece that “Egypt stands to be among those that will mostly benefit from the success of these policies.” The policies include security, nautical and coastal tourism and contributing to maritime transport growth. Lazaris said that the three areas that contribute to this success are the “Suez Canal, undersea energy resources [and] port development.” He said “[the] expanded port of Piraeus stands out almost blinking, even if it is not traced on any map; but it is there and the ships plying this route are already passing through the canal and they will keep coming.”

The Greek presidency is expected to convene two conferences that would include Egypt. The EU-Africa Business Forum will be held at the end of March in Brussels followed by a conference held in conjunction with the Arab League with a focus on Euro-Arab Cooperation as the theme.

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