Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias received Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Enzo Moavero Milanesi on Thursday in Athens, where they expressed their joint will for building closer, institutionalized, regular cooperation between the Greek and Italian foreign ministries.
Dendias said that "it is the second time already that we meet within a month and this is indicative of the excellent relations between Greece and Italy."
"Both countries belong to the EU's core, we share a common cultural past, we share the same values, our peoples have shared those for thousands of years and maintain a close relationship, a very friendly relationship," Dendias remarked in statements with his Italian counterpart after their meeting.
A wide range of issues, both bilateral and European were discussed, with an emphasis on the situation in the eastern Mediterranean. Energy, Brexit and immigration were also on the table.
Referring to the blatant violation of Cyprus' sovereign rights and sovereignty, Dendias thanked Milanesi for the stance "he has taken on the issue and the direct formulation of his thoughts in the Council of Ministers, in defense of European values and European solidarity," he added.
Particular mention was made of energy issues, on the impending completion of TAP as well as the East-Med pipeline, which ends in Italy by design. Dendias underlined Greece's determination to sign the East-Med agreement as soon as possible.
On European issues, the two FMs referred to changes in the EU landscape and what risks the Union faces by Brexit.
Special mention was also made of immigration. "We discussed how we can form a common position, how we can cure not only the symptom, but mainly the causes that make people leave their home countries, and how the EU can help these countries with investments, so that these people should not be forced to migrate," Dendias said.
Speaking on the same issue, the Italian Foreign Minister stressed the need for a common EU policy, and said that "we have much more to do on this issue of immigration than to be mere spectators."
The two foreign ministers also discussed Western Balkans and (EU) accession prospects there, with Italy's foreign minister designating it a geographical area of great interest to both Greece and Italy.
"We are in the center of the Mediterranean basin, looking to the eastern side and the political situation there poses challenges, but also offers us new opportunities," said Milanesi and highlighted how stability in the Mediterranean means a new economic opportunity for Greece and Italy alike.
He also spoke of possibly rebuilding a large commercial space in the Mediterranean that could offer economic opportunities to Greece and Italy, while stressing the need for the two countries to coordinate on port infrastructures.
Milanese made a separate statement on energy issues, stressing that "once again we find a common denominator (...) and praised the "dimension of S. European, Mediterranean energy passing through Greece, and through Italy ends in the heart of Europe."