(1 January-30 June 2014)


On the 1st January 2014, Greece took over for the fifth time since its accession to the European Union in 1981, the Presidency of the Council of the EU, which is considered as a crucial moment both for Greece and the EU. Greece will hold the Presidency in the first half of 2014 and will hand over reins to Italy on the 1st July 2014.

The impact of economic crisis in the EU has without doubt necessitated the implementation of restrictive fiscal policies in order to maintain fiscal stability and consolidation of public finances. These restrictive measures in turn affected negatively the confidence of European citizens towards EU institutions; therefore significantly decreased the level of trust towards the functioning of these institutions as they initially failed to present a reliable economic policy and  to implement effective policies to recover prosperity and employment around Europe.

In this context, and despite the negative impact of the economic crisis, Greece aims to show during its Presidency tenure that it is capable of dealing with these challenges at the European level successfully.

In order to achieve its goal of successfully managing these challenges Greece has prepared an ambitious yet feasible working plan for its Presidency term. Briefly, the main priorities of the Greek Presidency include the development and creation of new jobs around Europe; achieving consistency in the decisions concerning the Eurozone, (particularly related to the banking union), establishing a common policy on illegal migration and security as well as integrated development of maritime policy through the exclusive economic zone, and effective management of energy resources in European seas.

Last but not least, Greece aims to reinforce EU democratic legitimacy and accountability by preserving integrity and solidarity among the EU Member States, and by expanding civil rights.


Economic recovery, employment and cohesion

Greece aims at enhancing civic and society engagement in order to rebuild trust and confidence of EU citizens towards EU institutions. In this regard, Greece plans to adopt and implement policies and initiatives responding to the concerns and insecurities of the European citizens. In that respect, Greece seeks to focus on economic recovery, employment and cohesion. The main priorities of this field of action include:

• The completion of legislative work on strengthening the consolidation in terms of development of the Multiannual Financial Framework;
• The promotion of the completion of the Action for a Common Market I and II, with a focus on the deployment of broadband high-speed networks, e-procurement, as well as all the elements that will bring us closer to a truly single digital market by 2015;
• The strengthening of the lending capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the main providers of jobs in the European economy;
• The implementation of the initiative for youth employment, in order to create jobs for the most vulnerable segment of the population;
• The intensification of actions in the field of foreign trade in order to accelerate negotiations on trade agreements with the USA and other strategic partners.

Further Integration of the EU - eurozone

Greece aims to promote policies and initiatives in order to improve deficiencies in the Eurozone architecture which became apparent with the ongoing economic crisis. In order to achieve this, Greece will focus on the deepening of the integration of the Financial and Monetary Union in order to sustain the common currency and progression on banking union (Single Resolution Mechanism). In that respect, Greece will particularly pay attention to:

• The strengthening of the political agreement on the regulation of the Single Resolution Mechanism. At the same time, Greece will promote issues related to tax evasion and the tax on financial transactions;
• The establishment of the foundations of a well-coordinated Union with the right balance between financial stability and solidarity as well as the institutional autonomy of the EU Member States. The project will be built on the current comments on partnership for growth, jobs and competitiveness, based on Herman Van Rompuy's “road-map” and the strategic plan of the Commission.


Greece aims to adopt an effective immigration and border management strategy as well as the regulation of the internal and external mobility of EU citizens under the European security policy framework. The main idea of this field of action is the development of an area of freedom, security and justice. In that respect, the main objectives of this field of action can be listed as:

• The effective prevention and reduction of illegal immigration whilst ensuring respect for human rights and fight against criminal networks for smuggling and human trafficking;
• The improvement and better organization of legal immigration and mobility support;
• The coordination of effective policies for the repatriation of illegal immigrants;
• The enhancement of the interaction between migration and development through the use of qualified human resources.

Maritime Policy for the EU - horizontal policy

Greece aims to introduce a horizontal strategy that will include all matters related to maritime policy. The main objective of this field of action is to redefine and reorganise the EU maritime policy in all its articulations. The main aim is to adopt a version of the European Council in June 2014 regarding maritime strategy that focuses on security and development.


Turkey hopes that the momentum provided in relations with the EU particularly after the opening of “Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments” (Chapter 22) on the 5th November 2013 and the commencement of visa exemption talks on the 16th December 2013, can be broadened during the Greek Presidency in the first half of 2014.

However, despite the fact that Greece has reiterated that it is in favor of Turkey’s accession to the EU, it did not include enlargement policy to its priority list during the Presidency tenure. Whilst Turkey is expecting to enhance the pace of accession negotiations by opening more chapters, it is argued that there might be a smaller chance for a real breakthrough due to the Cyprus issue.

Turkey nonetheless compels the EU for the removal of blockage over Cyprus issue so that the awaiting chapters on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights (Chapter 23) as well as Justice, Freedom and Security (Chapter 24) can be opened which are considered as key chapters for the completion of the EU accession process.

On the other hand, it can be argued that the Greek Presidency has gained more substance as it coincided withthe beginning of a new round of talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots with a view to the reunification of the island Since Turkey and Greece are both guarantor countries of Cyprus, they both play a crucial role in peace and reunification talks. The Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU may be an opportunity to reinforce Turkey’s bid for EU membership in parallel with injecting a fresh impetus to the Cyprus talks.

So far Turkey has opened 14 chapters and only one has been provisionally closed as it can be seen from the table below:

EU term presidency
Chapter(s) opened
Chapter(s) provisionally closed
Austrian EU Presidency
(01.01.2006– 30.06.2006)
Chapter 25: “Science and Research”
Chapter 25: “Science and Research”
German EU Presidency
(01.01.2007– 30.06.2007)
Chapter 20: “Enterprise and Industrial Policy”,
Chapter 32: “Financial Control”, Chapter 18: “Statistics”
Portuguese EU Presidency
(01.07.2007− 31.12.2007)
Chapter 28: “Consumer and Health Protection”,
Chapter 21: “Trans-European Networks”
Slovenian EU Presidency
(01.01.2008– 30.06.2008)
Chapter 7: “Intellectual Property Law”,
 Chapter 6: “Company Law”
French EU Presidency
(01.07.2008− 31.12.2008)
Chapter 4: “Free Movement of Capital”,
 Chapter 10: “Information Society and Media”
Czech EU Presidency
(01.01.2009– 30.06.2009)
Chapter 16: “Taxation”
Swedish EU Presidency
(01.07.2009− 31.12.2009)
Chapter 27: “Environment”
Spanish EU Presidency
(01.01.2010– 30.06.2010)
Chapter 12: “Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy”
Lithuanian EU Presidency
Chapter 22: “Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments”  

 Further information on the Greek Presidency 2014 can be found at

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