San Fransisco.- Regarding the need to utilise the strength of Hellenism Abroad in the effort to confront the economic crisis
In the midst of the special conditions of the economic crisis, Greece has great need of Greeks abroad. Greeks abroad have always been a strength of our country. Today, we need this strength more than ever before, and I won’t hide from you the fact that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, with the proposals of Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, is essentially going to set in motion and give specific direction to the utilisation of this strength of Hellenism Abroad, in ways that may have been unknown to us in the past.
Moreover, of course, it is of great importance at this critical time – and this is the message I want to convey to every Greek woman and man, wherever they may be, in whatever corner of the world – that you become ambassadors for our country. In this great effort the country is making to recover from the difficult economic state of affairs and regain its credibility, we need the contribution of world Hellenism.
Regarding the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE)
The World Council of Hellenes Abroad has been of major concern to us in recent years. For me, it has been one of the top priority issues for two and a half months now, from the moment I took on the position of Deputy Foreign Minister. The SAE began with many and great expectations, with visions, with ideas. If one assesses these now, one will see that almost nothing that we hoped for when the SAE was created has been carried through. I think we have reached a point where a major cycle of the SAE’s operation has been completed. It is vital that with the completion of this cycle we keep what is positive, on the one hand, and on the other hand assess and evaluate more seriously the negative points of this cycle. The latter will probably outnumber the former. The continued operation of the SAE on the terms and under the conditions of the past will in no way honor the Greek state or the Hellenes abroad who are theoretically represented by the SAE.
With all these various opinions, my political choice, with the consent of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, is to upgrade and reshape the SAE – to create a new SAE. This renewal will focus on three main points. All these years, the SAE has functioned with the generous funding of the Greek state. But Greece’s current condition does not allow for this. So the first thing is for the SAE to become self-funded. The second is that the SAE needs to be self-determined. When the message being sent by the Greek state itself, which, under these special conditions needs the cooperation of three political parties in a government of national recovery, the message we have to send in every direction where there are Greeks abroad is the message that we have to leave behind the mindset of party aspirations. The third is that this new SAE has to represent every last Greek abroad. Till now, there have been exclusions, whether because they had to be represented on the level of primary or secondary Greek organizations, or because, in one way or another, through specific choices, people who wanted to participate in and help the SAE were excluded because they had no institutional role or institutional capacity.