Third High Level Cooperation Council Greece-Israel (Thessaloniki,
Today, June 15th, 2017, the Governments of the Hellenic Republic and the
State of Israel held the third round of their High Level Cooperation Council
in Thessaloniki. The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Alexis
Tsipras, and Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu,
co-chaired the consultations and were pleased to take note of the remarkable
advance in their bilateral relations since the previous consultations held
in Jerusalem on January 1st, 2016.
The Prime Ministers wish to take this opportunity to thank all those who
have worked diligently and efficiently in order to prepare this meeting and
help develop the relations between the two countries.
The following Government members participated in the consultations;
On the Greek side:
Prime Minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras; Minister of Economy and Development, Mr.
Dimitrios Papadimitriou; Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and
Media, Mr. Nikos Pappas; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nikos Kotzias;
Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr. Giorgos Stathakis; Alternate
Minister of Research and Innovation, Mr. Kostas Fotakis; Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Mr. Terens Quick; Alternate Minister of Environment and
Energy, Mr. Socratis Famelos.
On the Israeli side:
Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu; Minister of Infrastructure Energy
and Water, Dr. Yuval Steinitz; Minister of Environment, Mr. Zeev Elkin;
Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Mr. Ofir Akunis; Minister of
Economy and Industry, Mr. Eli Cohen; Deputy Head of the Innovation
Authority, Ms. Nili Shalev; Director General of the Prime Minister Office,
Mr. Eli Groner; Head of the Jewish Agency, Mr. Natan Sharansky; Head of the
National Economic Council, Professor Avi Simhon.
The bonds between the Hellenic Republic and the State of Israel are based on
their ancient history, rich heritage and resilience to adversity.
Both governments wish to underline their strong commitment to shared values,
democratic principles, and international law.
Their determination to work together and share their experience, knowledge
and know- how has resulted in a flourishing partnership that benefits not
only their peoples, but the entire region.
Both governments reaffirm their aspiration to further their cooperation,
work on joint projects of mutual interest, find solutions to common concerns
and promote interconnectivity and complementarity in their actions.
The Government of the State of Israel acknowledges the persistent efforts
made by the people of Greece throughout the prolonged economic crisis, as
well as the efforts of the Government of the Hellenic Republic, headed by
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, to enact a viable and credible model of
Both Governments express their hope for Israel's peaceful coexistence with
all its neighbors, in mutual recognition and respect and in secure and
recognized borders. In this context, they reaffirm their commitment to work
together to stabilize the region and ensure a peaceful resolution of
conflicts. The Governments strongly reaffirm the right of the State of
Israel to safeguard its security.
The Governments vigorously oppose the calls for the destruction of the State
of Israel. Denial of the Holocaust and all forms of anti-Semitism, racial
discrimination and xenophobia are wholly unacceptable.
The two Governments presented an overview of the current situation in the
Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Gulf, and exchanged views on
many issues of common interest.
The two Governments express their grave concern about the expansion of
terrorism and the proliferation of terrorist attacks against civilians at
both a regional and global level. The two Governments believe that there is
no possible justification for the perpetration of violence, and call upon
all countries to act together to provide a comprehensive and concerted
Both Governments discussed the impact of increased mixed migratory flows
from conflict zones in the Middle East and beyond on Europe and the wider
region. They stress the need to address all aspects of this crucial and
complex issue in a
comprehensive manner, including its causes, as well as its humanitarian,
social and financial implications.
Τhe two Governments stress their commitment to working together to enhance
the relations between the European Union and Israel in areas of mutual
interest, including continued cooperation on strategic and regional issues.
They emphasize the mutual benefits for both Israel and the EU in promoting
peace, stability, democracy and regional cooperation, and will explore ways
to make full use of the potential offered by relevant Euro-Mediterranean
the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Union for the Mediterranean and the
Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures. In particular,
encouraging scientific research, academic and cultural exchanges,
environmental protection, cooperation in the energy sector and the fight
against anti-Semitism are recognized as fields of cooperation of utmost
The Governments express their hope that the resumption of the negotiations
of the Middle East peace process will conclude in a just and lasting
The Hellenic Republic reiterates its willingness to act as an “honest
broker” and actively facilitate the creation of an atmosphere between
Israelis and Palestinians conducive to the resumption of peace talks.
The two Governments, through their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs,
will continue to enhance and deepen the existing political and strategic
The two Governments express their satisfaction concerning the implementation
of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed during the 2nd High Level
Cooperation Council, and agree to extend their cooperation in the field of
diplomatic training by organizing conferences and short-term exchange
Infrastructure, Energy and Water
Cooperation between the two countries in the field of natural gas is
paramount since Israel is poised to become an important exporter of natural
gas. Greece, already possessing vast experience in the field of natural gas
exploitation technologies, aims to become a strategic partner for the export
of Israeli gas to Europe, which is a very important market. In this respect,
the two countries are part of a multilateral cooperation scheme with Cyprus
and Italy, with the assistance of the European Commission, to promote the
East Med pipeline project.
Renewable Energies, Energy Efficiency, Alternative Fuels
Cooperation can also be enriched in the fields of renewable energy and
energy efficiency, especially with regards to electricity production. To
this end, both countries can exchange knowhow and best practices, organize
seminars and encourage cooperation between relevant agencies and
institutions, as well as the private sector. We strongly encourage
cooperation in the field of renewable energy, in line with the current
market rules ensuring low prices and market stability.
Strengthening Economic Cooperation in the Field of Energy
Both Governments express their satisfaction about the level of cooperation
in the fields of natural gas and renewable energy, as well as their resolve
to deepen and strengthen this cooperation. They also wish to expand their
cooperation in the field of electricity, through the Euro Asia
Both sides would like to continue working together in order to engage the
economic and business communities in Greece and Israel in the wide range of
projects and business opportunities which exist, thus enabling them to fully
exploit the full potential of the energy sectors in both countries.
The two Governments engage in the exchange of good practices, new
methodologies, innovative programs and scientific information in the fields
of water management and desalination.
Both Governments shall do their utmost to finalize the negotiations on the
Agreement regarding Water Cooperation. They further stress the need to
establish joint projects for water supply solutions, with an emphasis on
desalination projects, especially in the islands area. These types of
projects are needed in both countries and will benefit the citizens of both
countries and the entire region.
Given the importance of international cooperation in the field of
environmental protection, the Governments will collaborate and exchange
knowledge on environmental issues, with an emphasis on the prevention of
marine pollution and the preparedness and response to it, particularly
pollution which might stem from oil and gas excavation activities.
The Governments will conduct joint training on inspection and enforcement
procedures for offshore installations and ships, and a joint assessment of
the cross-border environmental effects of projects, including the
construction of drilling and production facilities in the Mediterranean Sea.
Recognizing the imminent threat of climate change, the Governments will
cooperate in the field of adaptation to climate change, including through
the exchange of information based, inter alia, on a relative monitoring and
observation mechanism, best practices and know-how.
In view of the challenges that Israel and Greece both share in the water
sector, the Governments will encourage: cooperation to prevent water
pollution, wastewater treatment and water reuse.
Research and Innovation
Greece values the opportunities that arise from bilateral cooperation in
promoting joint initiatives in research and innovation, particularly those
involving young scientists from both countries with high specialization.
Topics such as energy, the environment and marine research transcend the
borders of both countries and can be successfully tackled through common
efforts. The results of research can be turned into innovative products,
thereby strengthening the position of both countries through the development
of a knowledge-based economy. Especially for Greece, the evolution of a
knowledge economy is critical for facilitating economic recovery and
counteracting the current intense brain drain. Twinning activities between
innovative companies and startups, particularly in the framework of existing
science and technology parks, is considered a useful instrument in this
Both countries agree to expand cooperation in the fields of electronic
technology, telecommunications and electromagnetic compatibility,
undertaking measures intended to encourage companies to use the relevant
European standards for design, production and certification of their
products and services.
Special interest will be paid to cooperation in satellite manufacturing,
Earth remote sensing satellites, communication satellites and other relevant
space projects, and with regard to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
Both countries agree to encourage space technology, to work to implement
space projects, and to develop commercial satellites and mobile services,
mobile applications and enterprise solutions, software, microchips,
equipment providers, mobility services, and organizations in adjacent
With regard to frequency coordination, the two administrations will adhere
to the radio regulations outlined by the International Telecommunication
Union (ITU). In case of additional frequency needs and/or interference
problems, the two countries will make bilateral agreements based on ITU
In the area of a fiber optic undersea cable, the parties will support the
deployment of new cable interconnectedness between both countries. Such
infrastructure is a critical link between Europe, the Middle East and Asia,
and will enhance the volume of internet connections. Furthermore, it will
reduce international interconnection costs. Bearing in mind the plans for
energy infrastructure deployment, this is a great opportunity for
cross-sector synergy that will allow for huge savings. Moreover, it will
send a strong message to investors regarding NGA infrastructures. Bilateral
cooperation will expedite the implementation of these projects by
facilitating all the administrative procedures, e.g. permit granting, etc.
In the area of the internet of things and smart cities, both countries are
advancing the deployment of infrastructures that will facilitate the
implementation and operation of the internet of things, namely fixed NGA
infrastructures and 5G networks. Our cooperation will focus on the
deployment of integrated applications for smart cities, e.g. security
systems, smart transportation, energy management, etc. This is a
multidisciplinary sector that involves research institutions, industry,
academia, local authorities, etc.
In the area of innovation and entrepreneurship, the parties agree to promote
joint R&D and business development programs and joint activities between
Hellenic and Israeli startups. The sides will employ a common strategy for
lifelong learning, educational programs and institutions.
Finally, both countries will encourage the transfer of expertise and
consider a special section for Hellenic and Israeli startups and other
companies in the respective technology parks of each country, and will
support SMEs to transform their business with ICT, thereby becoming more
competitive in the marketplace.
Industry and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
The sides, recognizing the importance and mutual benefit that derives from
their cooperation in the industrial field, express their readiness to
develop and strengthen this cooperation in the manufacturing sector,
especially in specific sectors of mutual interest (e.g. pharmaceuticals,
construction materials, natural cosmetics, processed food), through the
encouragement of entrepreneurship, the promotion of business cooperation and
the creation of an attractive business environment, in order to develop
joint ventures in the field of manufacturing and at industrial/technological
parks, with the aim of taking advantage of investment opportunities, as well
as the overall promotion of innovation and sustainable industrial
Taking into consideration the role of small and medium sized enterprises
(SMEs) in development and economic growth, both sides agree to enhance their
cooperation in this field. Such cooperation could include an exchange of
information, knowhow and best practices in SME-support policies, with an
emphasis on innovation and internationalization in order to improve the
competitiveness of SMEs and enhance their access to international markets.
The sides, acknowledging the significance of startups as an engine for
economic growth and innovation, agree to explore partnership opportunities,
facilitate networking and collaboration between the startups, and initiate
joint programs for the promotion of entrepreneurship. The development of an
efficient, competitive and business-friendly entrepreneurial environment is
critical for the creation of sustainable economic growth and the reduction
The two countries reaffirm the strong ties of friendship between their two
peoples, a friendship based on shared history, cultural heritage and common
values, and they recognize the importance of cooperation between the
Diasporas of the two countries around the world.
Both sides strongly support close cooperation and dialogue between our
Diaspora communities, in parallel with the inter-governmental dialogue.
Both sides welcome the decision to implement concrete action plans in this
field and express their determination to enhance cooperation between the two
Diasporas in the fields of economy and business, education, culture, joint
programs for youth, science and new technologies.
The Prime Ministers reaffirm their attachment to continuous and close
collaboration between the two Governments and will convene to conduct the
next round of High Level Cooperation Council at a date to be determined.