Maritime deal between Greece, Italy comes into effect

Dendias di Maio

Greece and Italy completed on Monday the approval of a maritime borders agreement delimiting an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between the two countries.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio met in Rome on Monday to exchange the so-called instruments of ratification, a procedure whereby each country gives notice to the other that it has completed its domestic constitutional process for approval and implementation of the deal.

The agreement, signed in June 2020 in Athens, is an extension of a 1977 accord, which paves the way for Greece and Italy to explore for and exploit marine resources.

“This symbolic act is very important. It concludes an issue that had been pending for 45 years and demonstrates our exemplary relations with Italy, both within the EU … and on a bilateral level,” Dendias said at a joint press briefing with Di Maio.

“We have close ties that cover the entire range: trade and investments. Italy has one of the most important positions in the Greek market. We have achieved a great deal but we can achieve even more, in sectors such as tourism, culture and education where we work together closely,” he added.

On his side, Di Maio said he and Dendias discussed a range of issues, from bilateral relations with neighbouring southern countries, economic matters and energy issues.

He said the exchange of the instruments of ratification is “an act that signals the start of its effect at an international level.”

“It is a major success for both countries and very important for cooperation in the Mediterranean, which we wish to become an example and a point of reference for the future,” the Italian minister continued.

“Only with constant and constructive dialogue between all the countries of the region, something that Italy will continue to encourage, can stability in the Eastern Mediterranean be achieved,” he said.

Di Maio also said that he reiterated in his meeting with Dendias the importance of supporting the political process in Libya and the immediate withdrawal of mercenary troops and foreign fighters.