At a time of major changes and adjustments, stability in terms of values and principles is required. Greece is a European, Balkan and Mediterranean country whose foreign policy is based on the principles of democracy, respect for international law, as well as the expansion and development of human rights. A basic pillar of Greek foreign policy is, of course, to deepen the country's participation in the European Union. Moreover, Greece’s participation in both the EU and NATO gives the country strategic advantages in Southeastern Europe, since it can and does play an important role in promoting cooperation in the region.
The crowning moment of Greece’s European policy in recent years was, of course, the Helsinki European Council in December 1999, at which Greek-Turkish relations were placed in a new context, that of a European Union governed by accepted principles and rules of international law. The Helsinki decision was an historic one for peace, security and growth in the region since it created a positive outlook for Greek-Turkish relations.
With the most recent EU enlargement and the accession of ten countries, the Union in effect has moved beyond the artificial divisions of Europe’s Cold War past and expanded the area of stability and democracy on the continent.
Having made a substantial contribution to the shaping of the decisions taken at the Helsinki Council, Greece stressed its political will to work in order to further strengthen the process of European unification.
Greece will continue to make an active and substantive contribution to the three central issues which dominate the European agenda. Firstly, it will continue to support the ongoing process of European enlargement with the gradual integration of the whole Balkan region into the European family in order to safeguard peace, stability, democracy and development in the region. Greece considers that the European perspective is the most reliable and attractive direction for the region and that the Union should send a message to the Balkan countries telling them that they are potential candidates for membership. (The Greek positions on the European perspective of the Balkans is included in the memorandum of the Greek Presidency on the situation in the region. See the newspaper ‘To Vima’, 12 January 2003).
Secondly, European foreign policy and security and defence policy should be strengthened, as should the ability of the Union to intervene in its own right in order to prevent and manage crises and restore peace.
Lastly, the third critical issue to which Greece attributes particular importance is the need for European enlargement to be accompanied by a deepening of integration. With specific proposals on the institutional reform of the Union, Greece will contribute to strengthening the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the Union.