[Anna Karayiannopoulou]: The priorities of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union were the topic of Deputy Minister of Development and Competitiveness Panagiotis Mitarakis’s speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington. In statements to the Greek Service of Voice of America, Mr. Mitarakis highlighted that there are four axes on which Greece will promote during the first semester of 2014. [Panagiotis Mitarakis]: The four priorities of the Greek Presidency are firstly, growth and job creation in Europe. All of Europe has been deeply affected by the economic crisis and we must not only return to a year of growth but also achieve a growth trajectory with jobs. Secondly, the priority of the Greek Presidency is cohesion in the Eurozone and the promotion of decisions primarily concerning Banking Union. The third priority is something that Greece introduces as a topic of discussion in Europe, which is a common policy on illegal immigration and security. Because we, the countries at the borders of the European Union, have been disproportionately affected by the big wave of refugees we have seen from various other countries. Fourthly, as a maritime country, we want to promote an integrated maritime policy, which concerns special economic zones, management of energy reserves located in our seas, as a development priority. [Anna Karayiannopoulou]: By assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union at this moment, Greece strengthens its position, noted Mr. Mitarakis. Greece has made huge efforts, which are evident in the economic results. It has made significant changes, however, we are going through a profound social crisis. We are going through a crisis with 27% unemployment and over 50% among the youth. Therefore, the great priority of our European Presidency is job creation. [Anna Karayiannopoulou]: As part of this exact effort towards creating new jobs through investments, the promotion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the United States stands, which Mr. Mitarakis characterized as one of the goals of the Greek Presidency, although he stressed that the cooperation between the European Union and the United States is deeper than a mere economic agreement. The Greek Deputy Minister of Development stated that Europe’s economy would increase by 120 billion euros when this agreement is implemented, which, as he said, will significantly benefit the Greek economy. [Panagiotis Mitarakis]: The big bet for Greece is the extroversion of the economy, the increase of exports, the improvement of the tourist climate, the improvement of the investment climate towards investments in Greece. We are a country that should not have, and wrongly in the past, feared competition. We are a country that benefits when the world is open to Greek products. The TTIP agreement, as well as the agreement reached ten days ago in Indonesia, at the World Trade Organization, creates a more positive climate, which mainly smaller countries and small and medium-sized enterprises, which are disproportionately affected when there are barriers from the large multinationals that have the know-how to face them. Thus, smaller countries will have a disproportionately positive outcome from a more open global economic environment. [Anna Karayiannopoulou]: Greece has secured the respect of its partners for the great efforts it has made so far and this gives us stronger political arguments for the various issues concerning the country, pointed out the Greek Deputy Minister of Development and Competitiveness. Anna Karayiannopoulou, VOA, Washington.