The EU is experiencing the worst energy crisis and economic hardship in its history. We can't see any positive signs about the progress made when it comes to these issues. As Europe holds its breath ahead of the looming 2023 winter season, the bloc awaits with bated breath the results of the EU Informal Foreign Ministers Meeting (Gymnich) to be held in Prague on 30-31 Aug. under the Presidency of the Czech Republic.
Prior to this meeting, however, another which will gather EU Defense Ministers for an informal get-together, slated to be held in Prague on 29-30 Aug., is also of note as it will see the ministers exchanging views on the developments in the EU's common security and defense policies, is also noteworthy.
While the EU is experiencing the worst period in its history in the fields of energy and economy, the fact that the famous concept of "EU solidarity", which I have tried to draw attention to in my previous column and which we have become so accustomed to seeing in EU statements on issues that directly concern Türkiye, is nowhere to be seen is making matters worse.
While EU sanctions on Russian oil were passed only in the sixth package and with many exceptions, Greek tankers tripled their share of Russian oil transport in the first ninety days of the Ukrainian war.
You may recall that in my May 19 column, I said that while the Greeks boast an oil tanker fleet of 45,786 DWT tonnage (approx. 400 oil tankers), Türkiye’s tankers boast only 1,698 DWT tonnage (about 100), as claimed by the Greeks wandering in the corridors of the Commission, oil transportation of EU member states is technically impossible in the short term for Türkiye to fill any vacuum immediately, which is Greece’s way of taking the entire EU hostage out of its Turkophobia in order to protect its own interests.
In my column, I had also stated that Greece, which owns 26% of the tankers carrying oil across the world's seas, generates massive income from the oil transportation sector, and a large part of this income is traded in numerous accounts opened by Russia in Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) banks. I also emphasized that the biggest fear of the Greek Cypriots is Russians emptying their bank accounts on the island.
And while the northern members of the EU imposed a visa ban on Russians, guess who in the bloc was strongly opposed to the visa ban proposal? Of course, Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration.
Recently, Greek and Greek Cypriot lobbies have been sharing photos of the yachts that Russian oligarchs moored while cruising on the shores of Turkey, and they have brought the issue before the U.S. and the EU. However, what Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration conveniently neglect to mention is where these yachts are registered, through which bank accounts the yachts are purchased, which bank accounts pay for the maintenance and operating expenses, and insurance services and fuels they are covered under. Of course, the address is Greek Cypriot banks. This is why Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration are strongly opposed to the visa ban for Russians. Their biggest fear is that the Russian capital will flee Greek banks.
The exodus of Russian capital from the Greek banks and the inability of Greek tankers to carry Russian oil will mean that Greece, which is the most indebted country in the world after Venezuela, with approximately 395 billion Euros of outstanding debt in the first quarter of this year, will sink even further, according to Greek Central Bank data.
The EU Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers will be held in Prague on 30-31 Aug. The meeting format, known as “Gymnich”, allows for the exchange of ideas on foreign policy developments of interest to the bloc.
At this critical juncture, there is no need to wait for the results of the EU Informal Foreign Ministers Meeting to be held in Prague, under the Czech Presidency, to see if Greek and Greek Cypriot Interests trump the so-called "EU Solidarity". The result is clear! Greek and Greek Cypriot interests come first, while the EU’s future comes second!
How is it that we know the outcome already? This critical meeting, in an informal format, was attended by those who used diplomacy to stop the conflict in the early days of the Ukrainian war, led the humanitarian aid to Ukraine during the war, ensured the safe evacuation of third-country nationals trapped in Ukraine, and opened a corridor in the Black Sea. EU candidate country Türkiye, which plays a mediating role for Ukraine to carry out its grain export in a sustainable manner, has not yet been invited!