Panagiotopoulos: Greece has an important role in defending EU interests in the Eastern Mediterranean

National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos.

Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said that European defensive initiatives are of maximum importance for Greece.

Greece plays an important role in defending the security interests of the European Union in the Eastern Mediterranean, stressed Panagiotopoulos, who participated in the bilateral work of the annual conference of the European Defense Agency on Friday.

As announced, Panagiotopoulos participated in a high-level discussion on "increasing European defense cooperation in times of crisis," with the Chair of the European Parliament's Security and Defense Committee, Nathalie Loiseau.

Among other things, Panagiotopoulos stressed the need to achieve a strategic autonomy in the Union by strengthening its operational capacity and resilience, developing the defense capabilities of Member States, and building cooperation between them to promote the role of the Union as reliable security provider.

He emphasized the importance that Greece attaches to European defense initiatives, which, should not only focus on crisis management through the Common Security and Defense missions, but also on the security of European citizens and Member States by strengthening their defense capabilities and developing a Common Defense Policy.

Answering questions posed by the audience, the minister stressed that Greece maintains a stable defense budget of over 2% of GDP, even at a time when the pandemic is creating huge economic problems.

In particular, when asked about the reasons for the successful presence of Greece in the European Industrial Development Program, Panagiotopoulos referred to the systematic work that has been done and the cooperation that has been developed between the Armed Forces, industry, academia and the research community.

To this end, he added, a high-level working group has been set up at the Ministry of National Defense to coordinate efforts to be able to succeed in a European environment that is expected to become even more demanding.