Further Greek Interest in BRICS

June 19, 2015

On Wednesday, on the eve of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's attendance at the June 18-20 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Panagiotis Roumeliotis, the BRICS advisor to the Greek government, told Sputnik that Greece was both interested in joining the BRICS New Development Bank, and would also be interested in attending the BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia, on July 9-10.

"Of course we are interested in participating in the Ufa Summit; it would be a great occasion to continue our discussion with the Russian authorities on the creation of the New Development Bank and the functioning of the Bank, and how Greece could be an active member," Roumeliotis said.

On the anti-Russia sanctions, Roumeliotis, who is now in St. Petersburg, also confirmed to Sputnik that "Our government has a clear position on that: It is against sanctions. ... We should try to work on the European level to overcome the difficulties and the political and economic problems in order to establish and enhance relations with Russia."

Deputy Defense Minister, and co-chairman of the Russian-Greek Interstate Commission Costas Isychos could hardly be more upbeat in his remarks to Sputnik yesterday:

"The Greek party which will be visiting St. Petersburg, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, considers this to be an excellent opportunity — I would even say, a historical opportunity. It opens a window for Greece in a region, in an area where we do have traditional relationships — historical, religious, economic, and so on."

"I think that the BRICS Development Bank seems to be an alternative... [the IMF is] "a monopoly that has led to tragedies and catastrophes of thousands of people over the last decades...Of course, we don't have anything in hand yet, it's very early to say; it's in the stage of formation and we don't have any practical ways to analyze the BRICS development bank, but in theory there are opportunities for us to gain."

Tsipras is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 19 on the sidelines of the conference. Tsipras's Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis is included in the delegation, since the Turkish-Greek Stream gas pipeline is expected to be on top of the agenda of talks.

As relations between Russia and Greece are developing, the semi-official wire service Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) will sign a cooperation agreement with the Rossiya Segodnya — the parent company of Russia Today. ANA-MPA writes that the agreement aims at "upgrading the relations between Russia and Greece." The two agencies will jointly implement programs covering national and international news, in addition to specific areas of cooperation between Greece and Russia in energy, commerce, investments, tourism, and culture. The contract was signed by ANA-MPA president and general director Mihalis Psilos and the general director of Rossiya Segodnya, Dmitry Kiselev.