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Nikos Dendias, Ypourgeio Exoterikon, YPEX
Φωτο: Konstantinos Tsakalidis / SOOC

Dendias: The Russian invasion of Ukraine requires a Europe-wide response

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister said that states are not able to deal with the challenge on their own, and are individually paying a heavy price to support common European values.

If the Russian invasion of Ukraine is an existential challenge for the world and for Europe's values, then the response should be equally serious, across all of Europe, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday at the 2022 Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia.

Speaking at a panel on "How many challenges for Europe?," Dendias said that states are not able to deal with the challenge on their own, and are individually paying a heavy price to support common European values. "If we want to keep our societies with us, during times of inflation and an increase of inequality, we must act, otherwise we will see a populist reaction and the entire political environment in Europe will change fundamentally," he noted.

Responding to his Hungarian counterpart's comment that one owes appreciation to Turkey for its initiative in the Black Sea for deliveries of wheat, Dendias said it might be true, but there is a great "but". Turkey, he said, "is the NATO member that has not imposed any of the economic sanctions on Russia," while "Russia is using the Turkish economy as a way out of European sanctions." If there is a way out of the policy of sanctions, then they will not work out or they will take longer to work out, he said.

Dendias also noted that European policy should become greener, and European Union should move faster, as "there is no choice: climate crisis is here, and we cannot survive if we do not face it."

At a meeting with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in Athens Nikos Dendias said that all countries neighboring Greece ought to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

"When the conference was held in Chile, Chile ratified the Convention," Dendias said. "Couldn't we then invite all our neighbors to ratify it? We should and we can protect our marine environment." Greece will use the opportunity of the conference to ask countries in the region to observe the rules of protecting the sea, he underlined.

The two officials also discussed boosting Greek-US cooperation on climate action and protecting the marine environment and the broader developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Foreign Ministry posted on Twitter.

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