On Wednesday, lawmakers approved legislation to extend Greece’s territorial waters along its western coastline from six to twelve nautical miles.
The bill received 284 votes of approval, favoured by ruling party New Democracy, main opposition party SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, Movement For Change (KINAL), Greek Solution and MeRA25.
The Greek Communist Party declared itself ‘present’ in the proceedings, which does not count as a vote of rejection.
“For the first time since the Dodecanese (islands) in 1947, the national territory is enlarged by about 10%, with procedures completely based on the rules of international law,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during his address to Parliament.
“The expansion of the waters to the West inevitably sends a message to the East. It shows that violence does not produce justice, but that – on the contrary – it is this law that produces peace,” he said, adding that the extension is “a clear message to those who are trying to deprive our country.”
The full title of the bill is ‘Determination of the extent of the coastal zone in the Ionian Sea region and the Ionian Islands up to Cape Tainaro in the Peloponnese.’
On his part, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias stated that this is “a historical moment for our country.”
“Following the adoption, with a substantial majority of votes in favor, of the draft law regarding the extension of Greece’s territorial waters in the Ionian islands, and the Ionian Sea up to Cape Tainaron, Greece is expanding,” he posted on Twitter.
The minister clarified that the bill is: “In line with International Law and in particular the International Law of the Sea, which constitutes part of the European acquis, we reserve our inherent right to expand the territorial waters in the other regions of the country as well.”