Germany and Greece are linked by a deep friendship. This friendship is founded on a set of common values and manifold contacts between the citizens of both countries as well as between national and local officials. It is the basis of a close political partnership – on the bilateral level as well as within the European Union and NATO.
On 5 March 2010, Federal Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Papandreou agreed to renew, expand and intensify the German-Greek partnership. They confirmed this commitment in their meeting in Berlin on 22 February 2011.
In order to implement this common commitment, Greek and German delegations headed by Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs Dimitris Droutsas and State Secretary Wolf-Ruthart Born met in Athens on 24 June 2010. They elaborated a roadmap of cooperation in various fields such as environmental policy, energy and climate policy, civil protection, research policy, immigration, asylum and integration policy, education, civil society contacts and cultural exchange, tourism, health policy, transport and a dialogue among economic stakeholders and on social and labour policies. The importance of this partnership was again confirmed in a meeting between Ministers for Foreign Affairs Dimitris Droutsas and Guido Westerwelle on 9 November 2010. This cooperation is an important contribution at a time when Greece is implementing far-reaching economic and social reforms to create a new basis for sustainable development. In this strenuous effort, Greece is fully supported by Germany an the other partners in the E.U
In the course of 2010 and 2011, officials of both governments have met several times, signed agreements on bilateral cooperation and are continuously working together on coordinating their strategies in the above mentioned policy fields.
In order to evaluate the current state of implementation and to further develop the successful cooperation, Greek and German delegations headed by Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou and State Secretary Wolf-Ruthart Born met in Berlin on 17 March 2011 and agreed to cooperate closely on the following issues:
1. Environmental policy
- German and Greek partners of the public and the private sectors have already been involved in preparing co-operations on waste water treatment and management. In this respect an exchange of relevant experience will be organized in Athens in autumn 2011. Greece will be represented by the Hellenic Union of Water Supply Municipal Enterprises (EDEYA), participants of the private sector, Greek authorities and scientists. Germany will be represented by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), the German Water Partnership (GWP), the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA), the sector of public waste water management (Hamburg Wasser, Zweckverband Wasser & Abwasser Rügen (ZWAR)) and scientists. GWP and UBA suggest end of September – beginning of October.
2. Energy and climate policy
- Greece and Germany will further intensify best practice exchange on national support policies and the possible use and design of the Cooperation Mechanism in the context of the Concerted Action “Renewable Energy” (CA RES) on the implementation of the Renewable Directive 2009/28/EC. Next meeting: 10-12 May 2011. Furthermore, both parties will jointly explore the possibility of an event between market actors in order to further promote exchange of know how and technology in the fields of RES, Energy Efficiency, regulation and electricity market.
- Greece has formally expressed its wish to join the International Feed-in Cooperation. The Federal Environment Ministry supports this request and has initiated consultations with Spain and Slovenia in order to advance the Greek accession.
- Greece has announced its intention to involve Greek companies in a common project with Germany, in the framework of the SET plan.
- In the framework of the German Energy Efficiency Export Initiative, missions have already been launched, as the German trade mission that took place in Thessaloniki February 2011. Such missions will allow both sides to further elaborate ways of promoting Greek –German Energy Cooperation.
3. Civil protection
- An exchange among experts regarding structures to prevent disasters and counter potential threats, as well as support in training crisis managers in such areas as IT-supported systems will take place from 30 March to 2 April 2011 in Bonn. Further, two workshops will be held in Greece as follows: (i) on volunteerism for civil protection/volunteer fire brigades (until June 2011) and (ii) on crisis management."
4. Dialogue between economic stakeholders investment and business cooperation
The development of bilateral economic relations between the two countries can be achieved, inter alia, in the following projects and developments (areas and issues), which had been presented by the Greek delegation:
- Large strategic investments, to which Law 3894/2-12-2010 refers;
- Cooperation with the Agency “Invest In Greece” concerning all types of investments in Greece;
- Program for the procurement of PPP and Privatisation contracts for the years 2011, 2012;
- Promoting exports of Greek products in Germany, in cooperation with HEPO;
- Cooperation between Greek and German SMEs through EOMMEX (Hellenic Organisation of Small and Medium Enterprises and Handicraft) SA;
- Investments that will benefit from direct and indirect aid under the new investment Law 3908/1-2-2011;
- Partnerships between enterprises and banks in both countries in order to develop financial tools within the framework of the NSRF and ETEAN (Hellenic National Fund for Entrepreneurship and Development);
- Promotion of the cooperation between young entrepreneurs of both countries.
In the context of the consultations on 17 March 2011 in Berlin Industrie (BDI) and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) held a meeting with company representatives from both sides, dealing with the topics
- refinancing of future investments for the real economy as well as
- a possible Business Summit in Athens organised by BDI, SEV and the German-Greek Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Further projects proposed:
- A workshop in Athens in April 2011 to present e‑government projects supporting administrative reforms in financial and budgetary monitoring.
- A workshop to evaluate aspects connected with the issue of modern identification documents
5. Dialogue on social and labour policies
- Reforms of pension system. The two sides will organize a joint workshop in Athens between 15 September and 15 October 2011 to exchange ideas and information on issues related to pension systems reforms that have been put through, and are still being put through.
- The two sides will exchange information related to the estimation and evaluation of the upcoming labour risks-threats, especially focusing on those related to socio-psychological aspects. To mention a few: demographic alterations, flexibility in workplaces, spreading - dissemination of new technologies at work, devaluation of traditional economic sectors and the amplification – rising of new ones.
- The two sides will also exchange information associated with changes in labour market and labour policies and organise a workshop up to the end of 2011 focusing on policies and programmes to support employment.
6. Research policy
- Bilateral instruments, such as a conference on innovation in the framework of the WBC – INCO NET will be jointly organized by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (General Secretariat for Research and Technology) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research until October 2011 in Thessaloniki.
- The collaboration by the Aachen Fraunhofer Institute with a research platform at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) in Thessaloniki is broadened and continued for a further two years.
- Deployment of all available means to secure stronger research ties in the context of the EU Framework Programme 7 and the coming FP8 as well as the collaborative research platforms, such as the Joint Technology Initiatives. Bilateral ties within the European Technology Platforms could also be strengthened in light of the common interest of cementing the European Research Area.
7. Immigration, asylum and integration policy
- Concerning asylum policy Germany supports the comprehensive Greek action plan on asylum reform and migration management in contributing to an Operational Plan Team (OPT) from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) by sending an asylum expert to Greece since 24 February 2011 and will as far as possible provide staff for the expected missions of the asylum support teams.
- Germany offers a study visit for representatives from Greece to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to ensure high quality in asylum procedures and further training on the asylum procedure.
- Germany has seconded a liaison officer from the BAMF to Athens since April 2010; and also offers the admission of a Greek liaison officer to the BAMF. During the Meeting of the Minister of Citizen Protection of the Hellenic Republic and the Federal Minister of Interior of Germany in Berlin (1/4/2010), a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed providing for the exchange of Liaisons between Greece and Germany in the field of Asylum management issues
- By contributing to joint actions at European level for more effective guarding of E.U. external borders advisors from the Federal Police have been sent to Athens airport in 2010 on a bilateral basis, with further Federal Police personnel sent to the sea ports of Patras and Igoumenitsa (one advisor each). In addition to that bilateral support Germany participated with up to 40 officers and a multitude of equipment in the Frontex RABIT operation.
- The German Federal Police will continue to be active in Greece in 2011, both bilaterally and within the context of staffing and technical support for Frontex. It is intended to send another border police support officer to Thessaloniki airport from August/September 2011. Germany is also going to participate in the Frontex Joint Operation Poseidon Land with two officers during the whole year.
8. Education, civil society contacts and cultural exchange
- German-Greek University Days focusing on Universities of Applied Sciences are planned for the first half of 2012
- A winter school for students of political and social sciences was held in Athens in December 2010, concentrating on global politics, the role of Greece in the EU and how to deal with the current crisis.
- Several media dialogues took place in Berlin, Frankfurt and Leipzig in 2010. Germany will continue to support these dialogue programmes in 2011 and in the following years.
- The Second German-Greek Assembly will be held in Thessaloniki from the 5th to 6th of November, 2011, with the aim of even closer networking amongst German-Greek friendship associations and amongst other relevant institutions as well as cities and regions.
- Improve the presence and presentation of German and Greek universities in the University Fairs
- Optimal usage of all EU mobility schemes, that is, Comenius for schools, Erasmus for higher education, Leonardo da Vinci for VET and Grundtvig for adult education.
- Setting up of relevant Information Offices within established cultural-educational institutions (such as the Goethe Institut in Athens) and / or diplomatic environments (such as the Cultural Attaches’ Offices).
9. Cooperation in the field of tourism
- To cooperate in the field of tourism a visit to Athens by the Bundestag Committee on Tourism is planned for May 2011.
- To develop cooperation in the field of tourism a meeting between tourism experts of the governments and tourism industries of both countries is suggested to take place in summer 2011 in Greece.
10. Health policy
- Greece and Germany signed on 16 February 2011 a Declaration of Intent for the intensification of co-operation in the field of health for 2011-2013 in the following priority areas: hospital management, pharmaceuticals, disease control and prevention, health promotion, emergency medicine, best practice in oncology and organization of European and international events. It is provided that co-operation will be taken forward through an exchange of experts and the organization of several workshops. Two workshops are scheduled to take place in the following weeks. The first on hospital management, procurement and merging of hospitals will take place on 28-29 March in Berlin and the second on pharmaceuticals will take place in Athens from 13-15 April to be followed by a workshop on public health issues.
- A partnership between the University Hospitals of Marburg and Ioannina is implemented.
- Cooperation concerning railway systems and freight transport centers amongst ministries and railway operators.
- Cooperation concerning the development of regional airports in Greece.
- Exchange of experiences concerning development and lisencing systems on road freight transport.
- Follow-up meetings during the next two months, and meeting of the ministers in summer.
Both sides agreed to implement the initiatives and cooperation programmes of the German-Greek partnership speedily. They will meet again in Athens by the end of 2011 to review progress in implementation and to explore perspectives for future cooperation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs