ND’s Koumoutsakos at NY Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe

New Democracy’s Shadow Foreign Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Hristos Bonis)

NEW YORK – The prospects for the Eastern Mediterranean region following a strengthening of ties between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, as well as energy developments, dominated an investment conference organised by the Economist in New York with the participation of the Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and Cypriot Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis, Francis R. Fannon, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources, analysts, diplomats and representatives of energy and investment companies.

Among the participants was New Democracy shadow foreign minister George Koumoutsakos, who participated in a panel with former US Deputy Foreign Minister John Negroponte and AJC Executive Director David Harris. The topic of the conference was the changing geopolitical landscape in the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe.

Koumoutsakos said that the Eastern Mediterranean region plays a crucial role for international stability, security and economic growth, and the energy sector is a key factor, acting as a catalyst that creates the potential for closer cooperation in the region. He also underlined that the EastMed pipeline is an “ambitious project to transport gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe through Greece and Italy [that] contributes to Europe’s energy security.”

The Greek MP said that no country is excluded from the trilateral and other partnerships in the region, but Turkey does not participate in this cooperation network, having been self-excluded because it does not accept the rules of the game.

He noted that all the countries in the region have delimited their EEZs apart from Turkey, which has problems with all its neighbours.

“Turkey’s doctrine of zero problems with its neighbors has turned into one of zero neighbours without problems,” he said, emphasising that all Mediterranean countries should send the right messages and be optimistic about the future.