Saturday

6th Jun 2020

Mediterranean region is 2014 priority, Greece and Italy say

Greece and Italy will make the Mediterranean region and alternatives to austerity the main priorities of their EU presidencies in 2014, the two countries' foreign ministers have said.

Next year will be "the year of the Mediterranean," said Evangelos Venizelos and Emma Bonino, who met in Rome on Tuesday (17 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Samaras said Greece will reach pre-crisis standards in 2019 (Photo: asterix611)

"Austerity is a means and not an end. We must promote growth and job creation," noted Bonino.

"We are determined to make sure everyone understands the Mediterranean is not optional, but represents an opportunity for the whole of Europe … the South is not just an incident of geography, but an opportunity." she added.

Greece will assume the EU's six month rotating presidency in January, tasked with brokering agreements between MEPs and national governments on remaining items of legislation ahead of the European elections in May. Italy will take over the reins in July.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, Greek premier Antonis Samaras said that Greece would return to pre-crisis living standards by 2019, adding that his country would soon be out of recession.

"According to most, we will not need a couple of decades, not a couple of generations, but only six years," said Samaras, who was in the EU capital for meetings with the Presidents of the European Commission, Council and European Parliament.

The Greek economy is expected to return to growth in 2014 after six consecutive years of recession. Economic output is around 23 percent lower than it was in 2007.

Samaras also said the Greek government would not make any further spending cuts to cover the anticipated funding gap in its budget plans.

Financial experts estimate that Greece will need an additional €11 billion in 2014 to its €240 billion loan in order to meet its debt repayments.

"Whatever gap emerges for 2014 and 2015 will be covered by structural changes that will have a positive impact on public finances, not through new measures,” said Samaras.

“Greece has the biggest cyclically adjusted and structural deficits in Europe and is close to a primary surplus,” he noted.

For his part, commission president Jose Manuel Barroso told Greece to keep faith with its austerity programme.

“I know that the Greek citizens are operating in extremely challenging and difficult circumstances, but I believe now we can say there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Magazine

If you build it, will they come?

As EU-backed projects go, the hydroelectric Alqueva dam in the Alentejo region of Portugal looks mighty impressive.

Opinion

The Mediterranean Sea: A migration border

Economic, social and political instability in neighbouring countries creates migration, but are more border controls the best response?

News in Brief

  1. Poland accused of 'blatant violation' of EU court injunction
  2. EU concerned by US approach to Kosovo and Serbia
  3. City morgues cast doubt on Putin's virus data
  4. ECB increases pandemic stimulus to €1.35 trillion
  5. New EU cloud computing platform 'moonshot'
  6. City of Berlin passes anti-discrimination law
  7. Iran hits record corona cases in second wave
  8. EU job losses tell tale of pandemic damage

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration
  2. Internal EU borders open by 15 June - bar V4, Portugal, Spain
  3. CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find
  4. After Covid-19, deserted Venice struggles to survive
  5. Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access
  6. How spies use women to steal EU secrets
  7. Hong Kong - when the Chinese Dream became a nightmare
  8. Right of reply: Letter from the Hungarian government

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us