Nikolaos Kotzias, GCM is a Greek diplomat and politician who served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece from 23 September 2015 until his resignation on 17 October 2018. Nominated by SYRIZA, he was sworn in as a member of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in January 2015. Kotzias studied Economics and Political Science and Philosophy in Athens and Law and Politics of European Integration at the University of Giessen in Germany. According to his online biography worked as a researcher and taught at the Universities of Marburg and Cambridge and he holds from 2008 on the position of Professor of Political Theories and International and European Studies at the University of Piraeus, he has specialized in issues of policy and political systems and foreign policy of Brazil and Russia. He has been a member of many globally recognized international research teams on contemporary issues. In addition to numerous other publications, he wrote 24 scientific books, published the German philosopher in the tradition of critical theory Jürgen Habermas in Greece and released a collection of poems.
Kotzias was active as a student in the Lambrakis Democratic Youth and during the right-wing military dictatorship in Greece was a member of the Communist Youth of Greece. He was a secretary of the Federation of Greek Fraternities in Germany as well as the coordination point of the anti-dictatorship student organizations, he was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece and was condemned by military courts. During his years in the Greek Communist Party, he became the party's ideological instructor, he was praised for his masterful rhetoric and his profound knowledge of Marxist philosophy. During the 1980s, he praised the Polish government's crackdown on the Solidarity movement. Kotzias broke with the Communist Party after the majority's decision to co-ally with the conservatives in order to bring Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou to trial for corruption. Along with other party members, he characterized that decision as an "unholy alliance" and declared their resignation which subsequently led to the creation of a new leftist group.
He is a founding member of Nikos Poulantzas leftist think tank, named after a Franco-Greek, Marxist oriented sociologist and political philosopher. From 1993 to 2008, he was in the diplomatic service in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the rank of ambassador beginning in 2005; as a chief diplomat, he was involved in negotiations on the Amsterdam Treaty, Agenda 2000, the Greek-Turkish relations and the European Constitution. Kotzias played an important role during the "spring" of the Greek-Turkish relations in 1999, implementing the "earthquake diplomacy" at the time when the two countries were struck by catastrophic earthquakes, he has supported the Greek-Turkish rapprochement as a new policy doctrine and introduced the confidence-building measures. He was the Greek representative in the 2002 Helsinki agreement which regulated Turkey's candidacy status for EU membership and paved the way for Cyprus' accession in 2004. In September 2012, Kotzias founded the progressive and democratic political movement named Pratto, whose purpose is "to form a radical, patriotic and social movement, advocating the interests of the country, the Greek people, the workers and the Greek natural environment".
Current Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection and MP Nikos Toskas is a founding member of Pratto. In one of his interviews in Spiegel Online on 9 February 2015 he noted, he speaks Greek, German as native and fluent English. Since January 2015 Kotzias is Foreign Minister in a cabinet in coalition with Independent Greeks, a right wing conservative party that opposes austerity. Nikos Kotzias is an advocate of a multidimensional and democratic attitude towards foreign policy, he supports the view that a small state, in terms of economic power, can take advantage of the changes that occur in a global context and increase its capacities to allow it to exercise an autonomous foreign policy according to the national interest. Supporting the view that the world has begun to move towards multipolarity, Kotzias believes that states that wish to increase their influence and capacities should seek to forge concrete relations with the emerging powers. In one of his latest books "The Colony of Debt", Nikos Kotzias claims that the European Union is developing empire characteristics, as it perceives markets, the bureaucracy in Brussels and Germany as focal elements of its structure.
In this way, he argues, the EU is rendering in a two-tier region of a rich poor South. On 27 January 2015, Nikos Kotzias was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs, despite not being a member of parliament. During the ceremony of the handing of the ministry, Kotzias gave a notion of his political approach stating: "We look forward to bridges with the new emerging world. We do not see our membership in European institutions as conflictual to our relations with emerging powers."In the same night of Kotzias's appointment, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement, issuing Greece's unwillingness to agree to key passage of statement, delaying agreement for further EU sanctions against Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine, before the extraordinary meeting of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers, scheduled on 29 January 2015 in Brussels. The new minister argued that "certain of our partners attempted to present us with a fait accomplis before the new government had been sworn", he underlined that Greece "would not relinquish its sovereignty a
Politics of Greece
The politics of Greece takes place in a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Greece is the head of government, of a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in the Hellenic Parliament. Between the restoration of democracy in 1974 and the Greek government-debt crisis the party system was dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement; the Judiciary is independent of the legislature. The Constitution of Greece, which describes Greece as a "presidential parliamentary republic", includes extensive specific guarantees of civil liberties and vests the powers of the head of state in a president elected by parliament; the Greek governmental structure is similar to that found in many other Western democracies, has been described as a compromise between the French and German models. The prime minister and cabinet play the central role in the political process, while the president perform some executive and legislative functions in addition to ceremonial duties.
Voting in Greece is not enforced. The Cabinet of Greece, the main organ of the government, includes the heads of all executive ministries, appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister; the President of the Republic is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term, a maximum of two terms in office. When a presidential term expires, Parliament votes to elect the new President. In the first two votes, a 2⁄3 majority is necessary; the third and final vote requires a 3⁄5 majority. If the third vote is fruitless, Parliament is dissolved and elections are proclaimed by the outgoing President within the next 30 days. In the new Parliament, the election for President is repeated with a 3/5 majority required for the initial vote, an absolute majority for the second one and a simple majority for the third and final one; the system is so designed as to promote consensus presidential candidates among the main political parties. The president has the power to declare war, to grant pardon and to conclude agreements of peace and participation in international organizations.
An absolute or a three-fifths majority is required in exceptional cases. The president can exercise certain emergency powers, which must be countersigned by the appropriate cabinet minister; the president may not dissolve parliament, dismiss the government, suspend certain articles of the constitution, issue a proclamation or declare a state of siege without countersigning by the prime minister or the appropriate cabinet minister. To call a referendum, he must obtain approval from parliament; the prime minister is elected by the Parliament and he or she is the leader of the party controlling the absolute majority of MPs. According to the Constitution, the prime minister safeguards the unity of the government and directs its activities, he or she is the most powerful person of the Greek political system and recommends ministers to the President for appointment or dismissal. Greek parliamentary politics hinge upon the principle of the "δεδηλωμένη", the "declared confidence" of Parliament to the Prime Minister and his/her administration.
This means that the President of the Republic is bound to appoint, as Prime Minister, a person who will be approved by a majority of the Parliament's members. With the current electoral system, it is the leader of the party gaining a plurality of the votes in the Parliamentary elections who gets appointed Prime Minister. An administration may at any time seek a "vote of confidence". Conversely a number of Members of Parliament may ask. Both are rare occurrences with predictable outcomes as voting outside the party line happens seldom. On 4 October 2009, George Papandreou, president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement party and son and grandson of Prime Ministers, was elected as the new Prime Minister of Greece, following five years of government under New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, the nephew of long-time Prime Minister and President Konstantinos Karamanlis. Greece elects a legislature by universal suffrage of all citizens over the age of 18; the Greek Parliament has 300 members, elected for a four-year term by a system of reinforced proportional representation in 48 multi-seat constituencies, 8 single-seat constituencies and a single nationwide list.
288 of the 300 seats are determined by constituency voting, voters may select the candidate or candidates of their choice by marking their name on the party ballot. The remaining 12 seats are filled from nationwide party lists on a top-down basis and based on the proportion of the total vote each party received. Greece uses a complex reinforced proportional representation electoral system which discourages splinter parties and makes a parliamentary majority possible if the leading party falls short of a majority of the popular vote. Under the current electoral law, any single party must receive at least a 3% nationwide vote tally in order to elect Members of Parliament; the largest party gets a 50-seat bonus ostensibly to ensure elections return viable governing majorities. The law in its current form favors the first past the post party to achieve an absolute majorit
Foreign relations of Greece
As one of the oldest Euro-Atlantic member states in the region of Southeast Europe, Greece enjoys a prominent geopolitical role as a middle power, due to its political and geographical proximity to Europe, the Middle East, Africa. Its main allies are the United States, Italy, the other NATO countries, the European Union. Greece maintains strong diplomatic relations with Cyprus, Armenia, Egypt and Israel, while at the same time focuses at improving further the good relations with the Arab World and China; as member of both the EU and the Union for the Mediterranean, Greece is a key player in the eastern Mediterranean region and has encouraged the collaboration between neighbors, as well as promoting the Energy Triangle, for gas exports to Europe. Greece has the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor. Prominent issues in Hellenic foreign policy include the claims in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean by Turkey and the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. Greece has diplomatic relations with all the countries in the world, as shown in the map below.
Representation through: embassy – Greek embassy in another country general consulate – liaison office – no representation – Greece Greece continues to reject the use of the term Macedonia or "Republic of Macedonia" to refer to its northern neighbour. The Greek government opposes the use of the name without any qualification such as'Republic of Northern Macedonia' to the post-1991 constitutional name of its northern neighbour, citing historical and territorial concerns resulting from the ambiguity between the terms Republic of Macedonia, the Greek region of Macedonia and the ancient kingdom of Macedon, which falls within Greek Macedonia. Greece objects to the use of the terms "Macedonian" to denote ethnic Macedonians and the Macedonian language, as these terms have a different meaning in Greece; the dispute has escalated to the highest level of international mediation, involving numerous attempts to achieve a resolution, notably by the United Nations. The provisional reference the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is still used in relations involving states which do not recognise the constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia.
All the United Nations member-states have agreed to accept any final agreement resulting from negotiations between the two countries. The ongoing dispute has not prevented the two countries from enjoying close trade links and investment levels, but it has generated a great deal of political and academic debate on both sides. On 13 September 1995 the two countries signed the Interim Accord, whereby Greece recognized the Republic of Macedonia under its provisional reference; as of August 2011 negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute are ongoing. Under Greek pressure, the European Union and NATO agreed that in order for the Republic of Macedonia to receive an invitation to join these institutions the name dispute must be resolved first; this resulted in a case at the International Court of Justice against Greece for violation of the Interim Accord. The Court deemed Greece was wrong to block its neighbour's bid to join NATO. No penalties were imposed but it is now politically more difficult for Greece to object to its neighbour's any future application to either NATO or the EU.
On 12 June 2018 the Prespes agreement was signed between the two countries which changed the constitutional name of "Macedonia" to Republic of North Macedonia. Opposition arose in both countries but in the end the agreement was mutually ratified; as the island of Cyprus was heading towards independence from the United Kingdom the Greek and Turkish communities became embroiled in bitter inter-communal fighting sponsored by the two "motherlands". EOKA-B and the Turkish Resistance Organization were responsible for many atrocities which resulted in cementing tensions and led to total isolation of the communities with Turkish Cypriots withdrawn into enclaves. In 1974 the US-backed Greek junta – in power since 1967 – in a move to draw attention away from internal turmoil and unsatisfied with Makarios' policy in Cyprus, on 15 July attempted a coup to replace him with Nikos Sampson and declare union with Greece. Seven days Turkey launched an invasion of Cyprus to reinstate the constitution but which resulted in blooded conflict, partition of the island and mass ethnic cleansing.
The overwhelming Turkish land and air superiority against island's weak defenses led to the bringing of 37% of the land under Turkish control. 170,000 Greek Cypriots were evicted from their homes in the north with 50,000 Turks following the opposite path concluding the de facto division of Cyprus. In 1983 Turkish Cypriots proclaimed independence unilaterally with only Turkey recognizing them; as of today the north is under an embargo as a measure against the illegal partition of the island. Since both countries along with the two communities of the island are engages into a vicious cycle of negotiations which led to little. In 2004 the Annan Plan for Cyprus was put to vote but whilst it was accepted by the north, it was rejected by the Greek-Cypriots as it meant in their eyes, endorsing a confederal state with a weak central government and considerable local autonomy; the Republic of Cyprus is a constitutional democracy which has reached great levels of prosperity, with a booming economy and good infrastructures, part of the United Nations, European Union and several others organizations by whom it is recognized as the sole legitimate government of the whole island.
Greece calls for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus
Kapodistrias reform is the common name of law 2539 of Greece, which reorganised the country's administrative divisions. The law, named after 19th-century Greek statesman Ioannis Kapodistrias, passed the Hellenic Parliament in 1997, was implemented in 1998; the administrative system was changed again at the 2010 Kallikratis reform. Before and after the Kapodistrias reform, the difference between municipalities and communities was a matter of size. Municipalities were larger and had a more urban character than communities, which were as small as a single village; the reform reduced the number of municipalities and communities sharply: from 5775 to 1033. Municipalities and communities varied in population from 745,514 to 28 with an average of 10,603.5 and a median of only 4,661.5. The following chart illustrates the range: Municipalities and communities varied in land area from 873.552 km2 to 0.800 km2, with an average of 127.618 km2 and a median of 105.669 km2. List of municipalities and communities in Greece Administrative divisions of Greece Law 2539, Government Gazette 244, 1997
Greek passports are issued to Greek citizens for the purpose of international travel. Biometric passports have been issued since 26 August 2006, with old-style passports being declared invalid as of 1 January 2007. Since June 2009, the passport's RFID chip includes two index fingerprints as well as a high-resolution JPEG image of the passport holder; every Greek citizen is a citizen of the European Union. The passport, along with the national identity card allows for free rights of movement and residence in any of the states of the European Union and European Economic Area; the Greek passport follows the standard European Union passport design, with a burgundy red cover and the national emblem emblazoned on the centre of the front cover. The word ΔΙΑΒΑΤΗΡΙΟ is inscribed below the coat of arms, while ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΗ ΕΝΩΣΗ and ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ appear above. A Greek diplomatic passport has the same size and design as the standard one, but it features a black cover and the text ΔΙΠΛΩΜΑΤΙΚΟ ΔΙΑΒΑΤΗΡΙΟ inscribed below the coat of arms.
Greek passports are valid for 5 years. All fields on the bearer's page are indicated in Greek and in English, with the translation in the other EU-languages elsewhere in the passport; the main information of the bearer are transcription from the Greek to the Latin script. The following fields are shown: Type Passport number Country Surname [Greek/Latin script) Name [Greek/Latin script) Nationality Date of Birth Place of birth Sex Issue Date Expiry Date Issuing Office The bearer's page contains a machine readable strip starting with P<GRC. The latest version of Greek passport meets international standards as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization. New features include secure lamination, color-shifting ink, pages with intricate designs, watermarks, security threads, images visible only with ultraviolet light, raised printing, a chip; the data stored on the chip are protected by using advanced digital encryption techniques. Greek passports are issued by the National Passport Centre.
Applicants have to apply in person—in case of a child under 14, accompanied by a parent—at the local police department or at a Greek Consulate Authority. Upon submitting all the requirements, the police department begins the issuing procedure. All passports are manufactured centrally at the N. P. C main building in Athens. Depending on the circumstances, passports are issued in 3 to 9 business days and must be picked up at the police department in which the issuing request was made. For this, an applicant must carry with her/him a special receipt. Standard passports are valid for a period of 5 years for people 14 years old and older, 3 years for children under 14. Greek passports cannot be extended. A holder has to make a request for a new one if his/her passport expires within the next six months of the request and he/she plans to use it after the expiry date; the issuing of a standard adult passport costs €84.40, while that of a child costs €73.60. Reissuance of an existing and still-valid passport with no blank pages is possible with a validity date equal to the previous passport and a cost of €53.
Visa requirements for Greek citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Greece. As of 3 July 2018, Greek citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 183 countries and territories, ranking the Greek passport 6th in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index. Additionally, Arton Capital's Passport Index ranked the Greek passport 3rd in the world in terms of travel freedom, with a visa-free score of 162, as of 3 July 2018. Greek identity card Visa requirements for Greek citizens Visa policy of Greece Greek Nationality Law Passports of the European Union Greek passport on PRADO Video presentations of the new Greek biometric passportInformation from the Greek Foreign Ministry
Prime Minister of Greece
The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, colloquially referred to as the Prime Minister of Greece, is the head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek cabinet. The incumbent prime minister is Alexis Tsipras, who took office on 21 September 2015; the prime minister's official seat is the Maximos Mansion in the centre of Athens. The office is described as Prime Minister or President of the Government; this is the reason why the prime minister is addressed as "Mr. President"; the prime minister is appointed by the President of Greece. According to Article 37 of the Greek Constitution, the President shall appoint the leader of the political party with the absolute majority of seats in the parliament as prime minister. If no party has the absolute majority, the president shall give the leader of the party with a relative majority an exploratory mandate in order to ascertain the possibility of forming a government enjoying the confidence of parliament. If this possibility cannot be ascertained, the President shall give the exploratory mandate to the leader of the second largest party in Parliament, if this proves to be unsuccessful, to the leader of the third largest party in parliament.
Each exploratory mandate shall be in force for three days. If all exploratory mandates prove to be unsuccessful, the President summons all party leaders, if the impossibility to form a cabinet enjoying the confidence of the parliament is confirmed, he shall attempt to form a cabinet composed of all parties in parliament for the purpose of holding parliamentary elections. If this fails, he shall entrust the president of the Supreme Administrative Court or of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or of the Court of Auditors to form a cabinet as accepted as possible to carry out elections after he dissolves Parliament. Therefore, the election of members of a certain party to parliament is the equivalent to a vote for that party's leader for prime minister. Before taking office, the Prime Minister is sworn-in at a religious ceremony inside the Presidential Mansion. Prime Ministers are sworn in by the Archbishop of Athens, the head of the Church of Greece; the Archbishop begins with a few prayers and the Kyrie Eleison, the Prime Minister-Elect places his hand on the Bible placed in between two lit candles, all on a table between him and the Archbishop.
Following after the Archbishop, the Prime Minister-Elect recites the oath: The Archbishop recites a few more blessings, the participants make the sign of the cross three times. The Archbishop congratulates the new Prime Minister, who shakes hands with the President before the pertinent documents are signed. In 2015 Alexis Tsipras, a self-proclaimed atheist, became the first Prime Minister to opt for a secular affirmation instead of the traditional religious oath, he was sworn in by President Karolos Papoulias instead of the Archbishop of Athens, and, in place of the above oath, recited the affirmation: He shook hands with the President, who congratulated him, before proceeding to sign the official documents as normal. When Tsipras assumed the premiership again, on 21 September 2015, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos decided that the affirmation had to be more formal, as it follows: The Maximos Mansion has been the official seat of the Prime Minister of Greece since 1982, it is located near Syntagma Square.
Although the building contains the offices of the Head of the Greek Government, it is not used as the residence of the Prime Minister. During the Greek War of Independence, different regions of Greece that were free of Ottoman control began establishing democratic systems for self-government, such as the Peloponnesian Senate. Meanwhile, a series of overarching National Assemblies, such as the First National Assembly at Epidaurus, met from time-to-time to provide overall coordination; the First Assembly elected a 5-member executive council, headed by Alexandros Mavrokordatos. The Executive continued to govern Greece until 1828, when Ioannis Kapodistrias assumed the governance of the state as "Governor of Greece"—simultaneously head of state and of the government. Kapodistrias was assassinated in 1831 and his government, presided over by his brother Augustinos, collapsed the following year, it was replaced by a series of collective governmental councils, which lasted until 1833, when Greece became a monarchy.
In 1832, Greece's nascent experiment with democracy was ended and a monarchy was established with the underage Bavarian Prince Otto as king. The government was led by a regency council made up of Bavarians; the president of this council, Count Josef Ludwig von Armansperg was the de facto head of government under Otto. Otto dismissed his Bavarian advisers and wielded power as an absolute monarch as head of state and his own head of government. King Otto's reign as an absolute monarch came to an end when agitators for a constitution rose up in the 3 September Revolution in 1843. Otto was forced to grant a constitution and Andreas Metaxas took power. However, two factors maintained significant power for the crown: the Greek party structure was weak and client-based and the monarch was free to select any member of parliament to form a government. In 1862, Otto was deposed and the Greek
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Greece)
The Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a government agency of Greece. The Minister for Foreign Affairs controls the agency; the ministry has its headquarters in Athens. Georgios Katrougalos holds the Foreign Ministry post, succeeding Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who held the post from 20 October 2018 until 15 February 2019; the Ministry for Foreign Affairs was first established in 1822 by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus as the Secretariat for External Affairs. In 1844 it was designated the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Minister for Foreign Affairs: Georgios Katrougalos Alternate Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs: Sia Anagnostopoulou Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Markos Bolaris and Terence Quick Secretary General: Dimitrios Paraskevopoulos Secretary General for European Affairs: Panagiotis Pavlopoulos Secretary General for International Economic Relations: Ioannis Brachos Deputy Secretary General for International Economic Relations: Nikolaos Exadaktylos Special Secretary for Religious and Cultural Diplomacy: Efstathios C.
Lianos Liantis List of foreign ministers of Greece Minister for Foreign Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official website