Greece enters third century of freedom

March 24, 2022 - 08:48
Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to Việt Nam, HE. Mr Georgios Stilianopoulos sends a message ahead of Greek National day on March 25.

Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to Việt Nam, HE. Mr Georgios Stilianopoulos sends a message ahead of Greek National day on March 25.

For us Greeks, wherever we are, the anniversary of March 25, 1821, is an historical event we celebrate with great pride. The Revolution of 1821 in Greece for National Independence against the then Ottoman yoke also marks the awakening of other European countries, either for their own independence or for their support in a just liberation struggle. It also seals the long-term sacrifices of the Greek Nation for the creation of the Modern State of Greece.

It is my pleasure to share today with the readers of Việt Nam News the celebration of this Anniversary. After all, I believe that the peoples' struggles for national independence and peace have a timeless value and oblige all of us to turn to our ancestors with respect and draw lessons from their contribution to the supreme good of freedom. I would now like to share with you some of my thoughts: Freedom, equality before the law, national pride, social justice are not conquered all at once but require constant struggle, faith, unity, self-sacrifice so that our nations can continue towards development and progress, to face national and global challenges on an ongoing basis, strengthening their positions on the international stage. 

The President of the Hellenic Republic H.E Mrs Katerina Sakellaropoulou and the Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam H.E Mrs Võ Thị Ánh Xuân in Athens on November 1, 2021. —  Photo Courtesy of the embassy

Last year, we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the declaration of war for independence and the long journey of my homeland to what Greece is today: a modern and democratic state with a remarkable presence in the strong core of European states. The anniversary events organised under the auspices of the Commission "Greece 2021" both in Greece and in many other countries, including Việt Nam, were a prime opportunity to highlight, through its promotion of our country abroad, its advantages and possibilities but also to the extent of our forces, to strengthen our growth dynamics, to make it a pole of investment attraction, a source of innovation, for our country to move forward with demands in the new era.

I strongly believe that in a globalised world, it is vital that countries accomplish serious efforts towards establishing a network of bilateral relations for their mutual benefit, even when geographically located far apart from each other, as is the case of Greece and Việt Nam. In fact, during the 47 years, since the establishment of our diplomatic relations, we managed to bring our two countries to a level allowing them to cooperate within a sincere, functional and spotless atmosphere; we have achieved an important development in our bilateral cooperation and signed several agreements and economic contracts.

Greece was one of the first to ratify the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA), to support the early adoption of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as well as to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). We support the full implementation of trade and investment agreements which open up new opportunities for EU and Vietnamese operators to export and invest.

It should be noted that in recent years our bilateral relations were further enhanced through the exchange of high-level visits, the last one being that paid by the Vietnamese Vice President H.E Mrs Võ Thị Ánh Xuân to Greece last autumn during which the Greek President H.E Mrs Katerina Sakellaropoulou symbolically offered 250,000 doses of Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Vaccine to Việt Nam thus demonstrating the loyal friendship between our two nations. 

Rhodes Island, a tourist attraction in Greece. —  Photo Courtesy of the embassy

Greece, an EU member at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Southeastern Europe and Asia, possesses both the geographical location and transport infrastructure and the human capital to constitute a trade hub to support and develop trade investment in and out of Europe.

Bilateral trade between Greece and Việt Nam, despite having made encouraging progress over the last years, does not reflect the true potential of both countries. The two sides need to step up trade exchanges and develop potential areas such as maritime transport and logistics, shipbuilding, seaport exploitation, tourism, pharmaceutical industry and agro-processing. In addition, the cooperation between Vietnamese and Greek businesses presents opportunities for synergies and mutual growth in various sectors, particularly: transport, logistics, shipping and the energy sector.

Greece is one of the top tourist destinations globally, a country with myriad attractions, from its historical and cultural legacy to its diverse culinary traditions, high-end services and off-the-beaten-path experiences. We invite Vietnamese citizens to open sails safely to my country. 

Today, the world is still facing the COVID pandemic, which continues to test our limits and endurance. I hope that this year we will return to normalcy. Undoubtedly, the observance of sanitary measures and the vaccine, this gift of science, is our way to freedom. VNS