Greece’s Foreign Policy in the IMEC Framework

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Various alternatives have been developed to solve the energy crisis in Europe, which has escalated with the Russia-Ukraine War. Among these alternatives, the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) stands out as a remarkable project. The corridor, which is not limited to energy, is expected to provide cooperation opportunities in many fields. While the IMEC aims to connect Asia, the Middle East and Europe, the corridor is planned to pass through the Port of Piraeus. Therefore, Greece is taking the initiative to lead in the new emerging environment.

At the G20 Summit held on September 9-10, 2023, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the European Union (EU), India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America (USA) on a multinational railway and port project.[1] Considering the political dimensions of the new corridor to be created by this project, it is believed to be an outcome of the power struggle between the main actors of the international system. This project stands out mainly due to the prospects for facilitating energy and trade flows between the regions.

The Athens administration has recently made various moves to deepen its relations with Western actors. At this point, it can be argued that Greece’s desire to become an alternative energy supply provider in Europe’s energy crisis aligns with IMEC. In the context of this overlap, it can be said that the Mitsotakis administration aims to be a bridge connecting East and West and thus a diplomatic center in the region due to the geopolitical location of the country. Based on this goal, it can be stated that the Athens administration is endeavoring to establish good relations not only with Western actors but also with the critical actors of the Global South. In this framework, it is possible to mention that preparations for constructing the corridor in question have been ongoing for some time. The statement of Vassilis Korkidis, President of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on August 8, 2023, in which he said that he welcomes India’s interest in investing in Greek ports, especially the Port of Piraeus, for its exports to Europe is evidence of this process.[2]

While trying to maintain its foreign policy in harmony with the EU, Greece also lays the foundations for forward-looking multilateral diplomacy and aims to increase its influence in the international system. Renewable energy discourse is likely to be at the forefront of this goal. It can be argued that this goal of the Athens administration overlaps with the emphasis on clean energy and electricity in the IMEC project. [iii] Indeed, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech at the 78th United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 21, 2023, in which he stated that climate would be one of the two issues that

Greece would bring to the forefront of the council’s work in the event of the success of Greece’s temporary candidacy for the UN Security Council for the 2025/2026 period , may be an indication that renewable energy discourses will increase in the coming period.[4] At the heart of Athens’ diplomatic efforts is the goal of economic development. If the IMEC project is realized, Greece will become a gateway from the Middle East to Europe, which will have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

Therefore, it can be stated that the IMEC project has a significant place in Greek foreign policy. What should be emphasized here is that Greece’s strong relations with the West and its involvement in a major project create a favorable profile for both the country’s political stability and its long-term economic prospects. This is especially evidenced by Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ presentation of Greece as a force for stability and security in the region, his emphasis on the importance of his country in the energy sector, and his statement that Greece could serve as a bridge between Asia, the Middle East and Europe during his meeting with investors in New York on September 21, 2023. [5]

It can be argued that Greece’s foreign policy steps are consistent and mutually supportive. These steps are shaped by a win-win relationship for both Greece and the EU. Greece will act as a bridge in solving Europe’s energy problem and increasing commercial efficiency. At the same time, the EU will contribute to Greece’s economic development on the one hand and to the strengthening of its diplomatic position in the region on the other. In this context, Brussels is supporting the Athens administration in addressing the challenges it faces. This is evidenced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement that up to 2.25 billion euros from various funds could be made available to help Greece recover from the floods. [6]

As the Mitsotakis administration seeks to take the initiative in solving Europe’s energy problem, it engages in various contacts with IMEC actors. In this framework, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited the United Arab Emirates on September 6-7, 2023, and met with his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi. The discussions focused on promoting cooperation between the two actors and creating an environment of security and stability in the region. [7]

Greece plays an essential bridging role for IMEC. Considering Athens’ relations with the Washington administration, it is possible to state that this role will be supported. Indeed, the US aims to protect the existing system and its position against new power centers in global politics. At this point, it wants to deepen its relations with India, which it sees as a natural balancer and has a significant role for IMEC. This desire is positively reflected in the multilateral foreign policy of the New Delhi administration. For example, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti stated on September 20, 2023, that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited US President Joe Biden to the Republic Day celebrations in his country. [8]

In conclusion, IMEC is one of the outcomes of the global power struggle, and Greece plays a vital role in this project. The Athens administration aims to be a supply provider in Europe’s energy problem both to ensure its economic development and to become a diplomatic center in the region. It can be stated that the foreign policy of the Mitsotakis administration overlaps with the IMEC project. In the end, it can be said that Greece shapes its foreign policy through the plan of being a bridge between East and West, and in parallel with this, it gives messages that it will ensure the region’s security in the IMEC project.

[1] “US, India, Saudi, EU Unveil Rail, Ports Deal on G20 Sidelines”, Reuters,, (Erişim tarihi:09.09.2023).

[2] “Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Welcomes India’s Interest in Greek Ports”, Ekathimerini,, (Erişim tarihi:28.08.2023).

[3] “Mitsotakis Raises Climate Change and Migration at UN General Assembly”, Ekathimerini,, (Erişim tarihi:22.09.2023).

[4] “Thessaloniki Inks Climate Pact for Zero Emissions”, Ekathimerini,, (Erişim tarihi:09.09.2023).

[5] “PM Met With Investors and Fund Managers In New York”, Ekathimerini,, (Erişim tarihi:21.09.2023).

[6] “EU Ready to Weigh into Greek Recovery Effort”, Ekathimerini,, (Erişim tarihi:12.09.2023).

[7] “Strong UAE Ties Affirmed”, Ekathimerini,, (Erişim tarihi:08.09.2023).

[8] “Modi Invites Biden to India’s 2024 Republic Day Celebrations, Says US Envoy”, Reuters,, (Erişim tarihi:20.09.2023).