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EU: Bonino – 2014: Year of the Mediterranean – Meeting with Venizelos, Presidencies with common priorities

With its consecutive Greek and Italian EU presidencies, 2014 is going to be the “year of the Mediterranean” for Europe, Minister Emma Bonino commented at the end of a meeting in Rome with her Greek colleague Evangelos Venizelos. “We enjoy excellent relations, but the focus of our discussions was on our two presidencies (Greece in the first half of the year and Italy in the second half), on various themes and sectors, such as the southern Mediterranean, but also on the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion”, the minister reported.

Mediterranean an opportunity for all of Europe

Italy and Greece a to underscore that in Europe “there has to be growth and opportunity, a future – not austerity alone, which is a means and not an end”, the minister added. “We are determined to demonstrate that the Mediterranean is not optional, but instead offers opportunities for all of Europe. We have no miracle solutions, but we can draw attention to the Mediterranean. The south is not a geographical accident, it’s an opportunity”. “The elections in Germany will not change our position; we are not against budgetary discipline, but austerity is a means and not an end. We have to promote growth and jobs”.

Venizelos: restore faith in the European dream

“We have to restore our peoples’ faith in the European dream”, said Venizelos, underscoring that “with our consecutive presidencies we are going to have an opportunity to introduce a Mediterranean parameter into European policy. Our priorities will inclde energy – with the new TAP, which is a geographic link between our two nations – border security, immigration and, naturally, the proclamation of the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion”. For the Greek deputy premier and foreign minister the Mediterranean parameter “is not a political option. We must accept our common destiny, which is both European and Mediterranean, and revive discussions on growth, social cohesion, jobs and the historic quality of our continent”.

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