Conference Venue: Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Giannos Kranidiotis auditorium (1, Akadimias str., Athens);

23 May, 2017

In the framework of the Eastmed Erasmus+ Project and the International Conference of the University of Piraeus entitled “ The World in Disarray” , the University of Piraeus organised a special policy panel at the Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Giannos Kranidiotis auditorium, on Thursday, 23rd of May. The subject of the panel was the “New Regionalism and the Eastern Mediterranean” while  Dr Foteini Asderaki coordinated the discussion, acting as the Chair of the panel. 

The main points of the discussion can be summarised as such:

- Eytan Gilboa, Professor, Bar-Ilan University (Tel Aviv, Israel).

Presentation of the “Effects of Shifting Alliances on the Eastern Mediterranean”.

He emphasized that alliances are shifting in the Eastern Mediterranean due to strategic considerations (including the Iranian threat, which is considered to be a lengthy fear of the Western world) and economic potentials in the area and he argued that the more ISIS loses territories, the more violent it will become.He proposed examples of different approaches between the Iranian empire and the Turkish state in terms of strategy and policy to be considered and suggested that he is witnessing a new shifting approach to the Middle East issue by the USA, averse to Iran.

- Christos Vaitsis, General (ret.), Honorary Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff.

Emphasised on the important aspect of “Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt: A Much Promising Security Partnership and the Question of Turkey”.

He presented a map of the Eastern Mediterranean area depicting the following eight countries: Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Libya, stressing that boarders in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean are being challenged due to the Syrian war.He addressed the main achievements of a good partnership (in terms of military and economic cooperation) between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, as well as, between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, providing the background of the instability in Egypt, the Israel’s fear of war with Hamas and Hezbollah, the refugee implications of the Syrian war and the dangerous attempt for an authoritarian regime to be imposed in Turkey.

- Panayiotis Ifestos,

Emeritus Professor, Department of International and European Studies, University of Piraeus.

Presented the background of “The transition towards a multipolar international system and the regions: Eastern Mediterranean”.

He suggested that the international system looks like being in disarray, but that in reality he witnesses a transition over the Middle East issues proposing that the use of nuclear power represents a challenge at a global level for redistribution of powers and shifting of balances in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean. He argued that the new US presidency is willing to actively shake the balances in the Middle East in the long term.  

- Aristotle Tziampiris,

Professor, Department of International and European Studies of the University of Piraeus, Academic coordinator of the Eastmed project

Stressed the importance of “The New Region of the Eastern Mediterranean”.

He summarised the presence of a unified historical background as an external recognition factor of the Eastern Mediterranean, bearing elements of a distinct regional subsystem representing the border between East and West as well as the Western world limit. He outlined the importance of Eastern Mediterranean definition as a new region in transition, comprising of both state and non-state entities, in employing strategy in such geographic area where powers are tested, thus affecting regional and non-regional security and energy dimensions.

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