Ambassador of Greece to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Dimitrios Papandreou talked about the possibilities of improving cooperation and general relations between BiH and Greece, as well as political issues related to both the situation in BiH and regional stability.
Ambassador Papandreou has been in BiH since 2019, and at the beginning of the conversation he reflected on what has marked his mandate so far.
“Since November 2019, I have been working as the ambassador of Greece to BiH. During this period, there have been many positive political developments between the two countries, including the visits of our foreign minister to Sarajevo in January 2021 and May 2022. Greece also secured financial aid for three hospitals in BiH, in Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka, helping those who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic. There was also help from 100,000 vaccines to fight against the coronavirus,” noted Papandreou.
When it comes to the focus of cooperation between the two countries, the ambassador referred to the work of the “Greek Corner” project in BiH. These projects were launched at universities and schools throughout BiH, and the project serves as a kind of cultural bridge between the population of BiH and Greece.
Among other things, the main activities of these corners are related to free Greek language courses, lectures, exhibitions, competitions.
“In the last two years, the establishment of nine Greek corners has been unnoticed,” the ambassador said.
Fields of cooperation between the countries that can certainly be used additionally are tourism and energy. Among other things, the ambassador emphasized in the conversation that Greece is an extremely popular destination for BiH citizens.
“We know that Greece is a popular tourist destination for the citizens of BiH. We are convinced that there is a large space for cooperation in all fields of tourism.
There are indications for the establishment of the Banja Luka – Athens airline, which would also represent a generator for the further development of tourist flows,” Papandreou points out.
When it comes to energy, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias spoke about possible alternatives to Russian gas in BiH during his visit in May. Among other things, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) was mentioned as a project.
“It is true that the recent turmoil in energy prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, highlighted the need for our countries to diversify energy resources and routes and to eliminate dependence on Russian natural gas. In November 2021, Sefik Dzaferovic, after visiting Baku, stated that Azerbaijan can supply BiH with natural gas through TAP and the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP). Since both pipelines pass through Greece, we can play a key role in supplying natural gas to Albania, Montenegro and BiH. TAP is operational and the consortium could increase its capacity as needed,” said the ambassador.
He also stressed how this infrastructure will ensure new sources and quantities of natural gas for the supply of the Greek and regional Southeast European markets, including BiH.
“I use this opportunity to add that the Greek government considers renewable energy sources and the use of hydrogen to be the future of the energy sector. Therefore, we actively promote ‘green projects’. In this sense, we would welcome any cooperation between our two countries or between Greek and BiH energy companies,” explained Papandreou.
At the end of the conversation, he referred to the plans and projects that the Embassy of Greece in BiH plans to implement in 2023.
“Of course, this embassy will continue its efforts to further strengthen bilateral relations at all levels, political, economic, touristic and cultural. Also, we will also work on the European perspective of the country. We hereby invite you to follow the activities of the nine Greek corners in the country,” concluded Dimitrios Papandreou, the ambassador of Greece to BiH, Klix.ba reports.