Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister: ‘We want to strengthen our ties with the diaspora’

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By Ilias Karagiannis.

In an exclusive statement to The Greek Herald, Greece’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Giorgos Kotsiras has expressed his hope that the government will secure the required parliamentary majority to pass the proposed bill aimed at easing voting restrictions for Greeks abroad.

At only 38 years of age, Mr Kotsiras took over the portfolio for Greeks Abroad as Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister. Immersed in politics from an early age, he holds a doctorate from the Law School of the University of Athens, specialising in European Law.

He was elected for the first time as an MP with New Democracy in July 2019 in Western Attica.

In January 4, 2021, Mr Kotsiras was promoted to the position of Deputy Minister of Justice, responsible for International Cooperation and Human Rights.

In his statement to The Greek Herald, Mr Kotsiras said his priority as minister was to strengthen Greece’s ties with the diaspora.

Giorgos Kotsiras
Giorgos Kotsiras.

“It is a special honour for me to serve Greece from the position of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, taking on the issues of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy,” Mr Kotsiras said and thanked Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for entrusting him with the role.

“My main priority will be the further strengthening of Greece’s ties with its active diaspora. I will make every effort so that the voice of Greeks everywhere continues to be heard loudly.”

The Expatriate Vote and Travel to Australia:

The bill aimed at easing voting restrictions for Greeks abroad appears to be gaining traction after a debate that started in a parliamentary committee last Thursday.

To apply the legislation at the next election, over 200-MP votes in favour of the bill are required (two thirds of the total MPs in Parliament).

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Kotsiras (L) and Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis (R).
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Kotsiras (L) and Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis (R).

According to Ekathimerini and based on the initial positions of the parties in Parliament, a majority of 220 MPs appear to be agreeing with the legislation.

In his statement, Mr Kotsiras expressed the Greek government’s hope that “the required parliamentary majority will be secured.”

The Deputy Minister also praised the Greek diaspora in Australia for their achievements and for continuing to bring important issues of concern to the attention of the Greek government.

“Australian Hellenism, with its significant achievements and its strong presence in the political, economic and social life of the country, is one of the most alive and dynamic cells of our homogeneity worldwide,” Mr Kotsiras said.

Giorgos Kotsiras
Giorgos Kotsiras (L) and President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis (R).

He also expressed his hope for “fruitful collaborations” with the Greek community in Australia and said he hopes to visit Australia soon.

“I aim to continue the important work that has already been done in the last four years in the field of the diaspora and with a strong sense of responsibility, we are setting the bar even higher. I am sure that we will have a substantial and effective cooperation with Greeks everywhere,” Mr Kotsiras concluded.

“Addressing, especially, my compatriots in Australia, I look forward to our systematic and fruitful communication, and hope to meet you all in person as soon as possible.”

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