Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas met here on Tuesday with his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini.
Droutsas underlined that Italy “stood by Greece from the first moment”, adding that Italy’s confidence in Greece was underscored in the meetings he had in the Italian capital.
Responding to a question by ANA-MPA, FM Droutsas stressed that the Italian foreign minister underlined Italy’s solidarity to Greece and the Greek people and added that “the efforts made by Greece in the past year are being acknowledged, namely the efforts made by the government and the Greek people, in particular”.
Droutsas presented to his counterpart the deficit figures showing that it was reduced by 5 percentage points in the past year, as well as, the reforms made in the social insurance system and local government pointing out, however, that “we still have a long way to go”.
He also referred to the outcome of Monday’s cabinet meeting in Athens and the promotion of the medium-term stability programme and planned privatizations, underlining that Italian companies have expressed interest in investing in Greece.
Greek experts will visit Italy very soon to present investment opportunities to Italian companies. “This is a very important result and message coming from the meeting. It is a tangible proof of Italy’s confidence in Greece, its economy and its potential,” Droutsas stated.
The two foreign ministers also discussed developments in North Africa, the crisis in Libya in particular, an issue on which Athens and Rome are closely cooperating.
On illegal migration, Droutsas said “the European Council in June will discuss the EU political approach on the issue. It is important to take advantage of this opportunity so that the concerns shared by Greece and Italy will be conveyed to the other EU partners focusing on the need for tangible European solidarity and shared responsibility”.
Droutsas and Frattini also referred to Turkey’s EU accession prospects sharing the position that Turkey should become a full EU member.
FM Droutsas underlined “the self-evident”, namely, that “Turkey first will have to meet all its obligations toward the EU and its member-states”.
He said that as regards the visa issuance, “Greece has a direct interest in facilitating the Turkish citizens wishing to travel to Europe. Rome and Athens share a common policy line on the issue”.
Referring to the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2014, Droutsas said that “the goal is to organize a summit meeting with the Western Balkan countries, like the 2003 meeting in Thessaloniki,” to draw up a “road map” for the accession of the Western Balkan countries into the EU.
As regards the energy sector, the two countries reaffirmed their support to the ITGI pipeline.
After the meeting with the Italian foreign minister, Droutsas met with Italian Chamber of Deputies Chairman Gianfranco Fini and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Lamberto Dini.