January 21, 2022

 

Evangelos Venizelos 

Article published in Kathimerini   

 

EastMed and the new circumstances

 

In May 2020, the Greek Parliament ratified (Law 4687/2020), by a broad majority, the intergovernmental agreement of Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy on a gas transportation system from the Eastern Mediterranean to European markets, the EastMed pipeline. Surprisingly, only the first three countries signed the agreement. Italy’s name remained in the document, but the signature was not added. It simply stated its support for the project in a letter. 

At the same time, many people were confusing the EastMed pipeline with the EastMed Act (Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019), introduced in the US Senate by Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio, or with the international organization EastMed Gas Forum, which includes eight (at the current moment) actors of the region. 

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January 2, 2022

 

Evangelos Venizelos 

Article published in Kathimerini 

 

A recontextualization risk for Greek-Turkish relations

 

Greek-Turkish relations, as well as the Cyprus question, might be under a recontextualization risk in 2022. Such a recontextualization will perhaps entail their submission to developments that will take place in the sphere of relations between the US – and consequently the West in general (if we accept that the West is a strategic entity) – and Turkey.

Even this difficult relationship between NATO member-states will be fundamentally affected by the curve drawn by relations with the US and the EU on the one hand and the Russian Federation on the other, mainly due to developments in Ukraine. Obviously, the strategic positioning that the US and China are pursuing in their relations with each other are placed in the background of all this. In this dipole, the US would obviously want a friendly or at least a neutral Russia.

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November 16, 2021

 

Evangelos Venizelos 

Article published in Kathimerini 

An enforced Prespes deal is in Greece’s interest 

 

With the Prespes agreement, Greece secured the immediate change of the international name of its northern neighbor to “North Macedonia” (a compound name with a geographical qualifier). This was, to a large extent, in agreement with the widely accepted Greek national line. This arrangement was also introduced into the internal legal order of the neighboring country through the revision of its constitution. However, the domestic use of this compound name, according to the agreement, will be gradually extended in line with the pace of North Macedonia’s accession negotiations with the European Union. Therefore, it depends on the evolution of a process that is under the political control of the EU member-states and not the parties of the Prespes agreement.

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September 23, 2021

 

Evangelos Venizelos 

Article published in Kathimerini 

 

A wiser Angela Merkel

 

The 2009-19 Greek adventure seemed to have a special place in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s farewell reflection. Quite reasonably so. The crisis, or more precisely the difficult management of the consequences of the crisis that had been incubating for decades before becoming unmanageable in 2009, coincided with about two-thirds of Angela Merkel’s total term of office at Germany’s helm and, de facto, that of the European Union.

Moreover, Merkel experienced the whole Greek affair from beginning to end. She was in office during the same time as all the Greek prime ministers of the 2005-21 period. She obviously remembers the discussions on the fiscal and macroeconomic data of the 2005-09 period and the initial pan-European measures of 2008 that were taken under the illusion that the entirety of the eurozone member-states could avoid the vicious cycle that transformed the financial crisis into a fiscal crisis and vice versa. In a period spanning less than two years, this proved to be a false hope, unfortunately.

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June 14, 2021

Evangelos Venizelos

Article published in Kathimerini 

 

The Greek-Turkish summit coincides with the Biden-Erdogan meeting, which will also take place on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels. When Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with the Greek prime minister, he will be expected to have finalized his own answers to the clear strategic questions that President Joe Biden is posing to all NATO member-countries, the vast majority of which are also members of the European Union. 

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April 13, 2021

Article published in Kathimerini 

 

National duty for self-reflection and truth

 

The public debate during the past few days between two former prime ministers, Kostas Simitis and Kostas Karamanlis, has created the need for an introductory remark on the conditions and purposes for a public discussion on foreign policy issues, especially when it involves persons who have managed said issues and possess presumption of knowledge and responsibility.

The review of various periods or even moments, when these were pivotal, the clarification of factual data and honest and unbiased self-reflection, can facilitate the elaboration of the national strategy, the familiarization of the public opinion with the complexity and difficulty of the issues, without simplifications, covering up and ornaments and finally the formation of the necessary national consensus. Defending past choices is not only the right, but also the obligation of those who have handled national policy in the name of the Greek people. This, however, is secondary to the obligation of everyone participating in the constant exercise of truthfulness about the facts, deeper understanding of the situation and foresight as to the developments and risks, which is the meaning of the national strategy.

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December 1, 2020

 

Evangelos Venizelos 

Article published in Kathimerini 

 

"The discourse on the dialogue: The context of Greco-Turkish relations"

 

Turkey is well aware that Greece is not Syria, Libya, nor Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey appreciates the fact that Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952 (the year of its accession along with Turkey) and a member of the European Union and the eurozone – more than a significant part of Greek public opinion does. It takes into account the high level of Greco-American relations and takes this parameter into account now that it is trying to assess the new American landscape following the election of President Joe Biden. It knows that over the next 55 days presidential authority will be exercised by Donald Trump, but over the exact same period the president-elect will be shaping his basic decisions. 

The first decisions of this kind, I believe, along with many others, will be to restore the strategic status of the West based on Euro-Atlantic relations. If this happens, ambitious regional players who have rushed to exploit the large gaps and internal dysfunctions and contradictions of a strategically relaxed West will see a significant reduction in the margin of their initiatives.

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September 23, 2020

 

Evangelos Venizelos 

Article published in Kathimerini 

The commitments arising from the invocation of international law

 

The delimitation of the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has the “advantage” of being an institutionalized and compulsory procedure under international law (articles 74 and 83 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS]) that includes consultations, negotiations, agreement between states with opposite or adjacent coasts and whose potential areas of jurisdiction overlap or, in the event of an inability to reach an agreement, recourse to the procedures provided for in the UNCLOS and in the end a “procedural” agreement for a joint recourse to an international judicial or arbitration procedure. 

Diplomatic initiatives to delimit the continental shelf and the EEZ are therefore an obligation under international law. This does not mean that the other side will agree or that it will not attempt to involve other matters in the process. It is important that the Greek position is clear. For a country like Greece, which always states that the axis of its foreign policy is respect for international law, such initiatives should be a given. This is after all showcased in the recent agreement between Greece and Italy on the conversion of the 1977 continental shelf delimitation agreement to an EEZ delimitation agreement, before it was even declared, without a change in the overall limits, and it is also evident in the even more recent partial EEZ delimitation agreement with Egypt west of the 28th (to be exact of the 27.59th) meridian and up to the 26th meridian.

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Evangelos Venizelos 

Published on Verfassungsblog, May 27, 2020

 

Passive and Unequal: The Karlsruhe Vision for the Eurozone

 

1. The decision of the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG) on the European Central Bank’s PSPP program did not come as a shock. All the critical arguments of that decision can be found explicitly or implicitly in the BVerfG’s referral to the Court of Justice of the EU on 18 July 2017. The CJEU replied through the preliminary ruling of 11 December 2018 (Weiss and Others, C-493/17).

2. The real object of the decision of the BVerfG is the economic governance of the Eurozone or rather the big bet of European solidarity and European integration, in the midst of a pandemic even. These are all of particular interest to Greece, which has acted as a lever of pressure and as a laboratory to test new institutions of economic governance and even quantitative easing.

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June 17, 2020

 

Evangelos Venizelos 

Article published in Kathimerini

 

Delineating maritime zones

  

With the agreement signed on June 9, 2020 between Greece and Italy, the delimitation line of the 1977 bilateral agreement on the demarcation of the continental shelf of the two countries will now be used for the delimitation of the other maritime zones, in which the two countries are entitled to exercise their sovereign rights or jurisdiction under international law.

In practical terms this means that when Greece declares an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in general or only in the specific area, that zone will already be delimited and its area will be the exact same as that of the continental shelf already demarcated since 1977. Article 2 of the agreement provides that if one of the contracting parties decides to declare a maritime zone, practically an EEZ, it is obliged to inform the other party as soon as possible.

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