Greece in the European Union

By Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos; Argyris G. Passas | Go to book overview
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Greek foreign policy since 1974

From dissent to consensus

Theodore A. Couloumbis and Sotiris Dalis

Greece in the global context

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s ushered in a period of drastic change and necessary adaptation for the foreign policy planning agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Governments have had to adjust to momentous events such as the reunification of Germany, the break-up of the former Soviet Union, the wars of fragmentation in former Yugoslavia, and the uneasy and fragile transitions to democracy and market economy undertaken by the post-communist governments of the nations of the former Soviet bloc.

The tragic events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001 have sent a chilling warning message: no one - regardless of power considerations - can enjoy absolute security and invulnerability. In the West, the post-Cold War adjustment process was especially complicated for Germany due to the momentous political, economic and cultural impact of reunification. Greece (along with Portugal and Spain) had successfully completed their post-dictatorial (post-1974) transition processes leading to the establishment of consolidated democratic institutions (Couloumbis 2000). Greece, uniquely among the EU members, had been facing since 1974 a sustained challenge to its territorial integrity posed by Turkey, a neighbouring and fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member (Veremis 2002). However, following the Turkish general elections of November 2002 and the landslide victory of Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, Turkey - given its European option - may be entering a more stable and predictable era with significant implications for its relations with Greece.

Greece is usually described as a small and strategically located state seeking, as all states, to maximise its security. In this context, security stands for the preservation of the territorial integrity of the state on the one hand and the promotion of internal development of the nation’s quality of life, social balance, cohesiveness, democracy, and human rights, on the other. In the post-Second World War era, Greece joined the Western Alliance, which was designed to provide an environment in which a network of like-minded nations would work collectively toward common goals, with no expectation of war among them (Koliopoulos and Veremis 2002).


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