Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The New York Times
Greek Finance Minister Moves From Crisis to Crisis
by Landon Thomas Jr. and Rachel Donadio
As he approached the end of another 16-hour workday, Evangelos Venizelos had one question on his mind: Will Europe come up with the money that Greece so desperately needs? As the new Greek finance minister, Mr. Venizelos is the man in charge of steering a nearly bankrupt economy back on track — and, perhaps, preventing another global financial crisis.
No sooner had he presided over the close passage of a new austerity bill last week, than he was contending with the growing controversy over how much money private banks would contribute by taking on more Greek debt.
21 May 2011
Q: What are the objectives of the military campaign that is underway since Friday night?
Ev. Venizelos: The operation’s objectives are none other than to implement the Security Council Resolution 1973. So, its goal is to protect the non-combatant population, to facilitate the deployment of the necessary humanitarian operations and to create the conditions that will allow Libyans to take, through democratic processes, crucial decisions about the future of their country, because the Security Council Resolution itself insists on the need to respect the integrity, national cohesion and national sovereignty of Libya.
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Q: Referring to Libya, how many months of operations can Greece sustain financially, given the monthly national cost of €6.5 million?
Ev. Venizelos: That cost is minimal. If you happened to listen to the briefing in the U.S. Congress or in other Parliaments of small countries that participate, such as Belgium, Norway or Denmark, you’d see that they bear costs much larger than that because they have fighting jets doing sorties all the time.
Q: But they’re rather well-off economically.
Ev. Venizelos: The figure of the €6.5 million that I mentioned in Parliament yesterday is the cost of Greece’s monthly contribution in accounting terms, assuming for a moment that, for national reasons, our frigate or the aerial radar would not engage. That is if we paid nothing for operating costs for the frigate, aerial radar and the Search and Rescue helicopter. That’s how Greece calculates its contribution to NATO. The real cost is much lower.
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Q: We all watch worried and confused what is taking place among the allied countries that participate in the strikes against Libya; we see mainly an incapacity by NATO to reach a decision. We see that the US, Britain and other countries seeking, in vain, NATO to take command. Tell me, to the best of your knowledge, where do discussions stand at the moment and how close is a decision by NATO?
Ev. Venizelos: As NATO Secretary General Mr. Rasmussen announced, the process for conducting an operation regarding an arms embargo has been completed. The process for an operation implementing a no-fly zone is still outstanding. All parties involved believe that a decision on the latter will have been made by tomorrow, or the day after, at the latest.
Monday, 21 March 2011
Q: We are happy and honored, ladies and gentlemen, to have on the phone the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Evangelos Venizelos. Good morning, Minister.
Ev. Venizelos: Good morning.
Q: How do you see the situation in Libya evolving?
Ev. Venizelos: We still have a lot of ground to cover, I must say. The situation is not at all simple and no-one can safely predict what will happen. The truth is, however, that an international correlation is now in force, applying strong pressure in the internal affairs of Libya as well.
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Q: Mr. Minister, we’d like a comment about the visit of Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Davutoglu, to Greece a few days ago. There were some comments made [by Mr. Davutoglu] that certain Greek media outlets deemed as provoking, such as the Minister’s statement on Kastelorizo island or the way Mr. Davutoglu behaved during his tour in Northern Greece’s northern Thrace region.I’d like to ask you whether you think that a new era in Greek-Turkish relations truly exists or if it’s a myth.
Ev. Venizelos: Greece is constructive and creative in its foreign policy but is not naïve. We believe in the need of a Greek-Turkish rapprochement, under a certain prerequisite: that Turkey believes in its path towards the West, meaning it has a diplomatic and military attitude that meets the rules and principles of western practices.
Monday, 14 March 2011
Q: During his recent visit [to Greece] Mr. Davutoglu persisted, perhaps using fresh language, in the old Turkish claim that the International Convention on the Law of the Sea cannot apply to the Aegean Sea and that Kastelorizo island, although it is Greek, it does not have neither a Continental Shelf nor a full Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). What is your assessment?
Ev. Venizelos: For Greece, its strategy of rapprochement with Turkey is reflected on the strategic choice by the neighboring country [Turkey] to fully integrate into western institutions, with all the consequences in terms of diplomatic and, primarily, military behavior and practice. Greece wants to see applied, in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, what is being applied in other NATO and EU regions. [Greece wants to see] common rules and common practices being upheld, as far as military aircraft and warship sails are concerned for example. To have common rules as far as the allocation of responsibility in search and rescue (SAR) is concerned, in the event of an air or maritime accident. To have common rules and practices as far as sea and under-sea explorations are concerned.