Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses the 3rd EU-Arab World Summit in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 29, 2018. More than 500 delegates from over 30 countries, including heads of state and government, senior EU officials, ministers and influential business leaders and scholars participated in the 3rd EU-Arab World Summit entitled "Shared Horizons" here on Monday. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- European and Arab leaders urged for the enhancement of collaboration between the two rapidly changing regions in order to deal with common challenges and build the foundations for a shared better future during a forum hosted here on Monday.
More than 500 delegates from over 30 countries, including heads of state and government, senior EU officials, ministers and influential business leaders and scholars participate in the "3rd Euro-Arab World Summit" entitled "Shared Horizons".
During the two-day event they are seeking paths to strengthen the political dialogue, economic ties and cooperation in tackling issues of common interest such as migration, extremism, climate change, energy transition and institution building.
"The European economy is facing challenges. The Arab world is going through difficult times. However, it is in this challenging time that we need to put our friendship to work together and to strengthen cooperation and explore new avenues," Tawfic Khoury, Chairman of the Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal media and event management group, one of the organizers of the forum, said in the opening remarks.
Greece has always been a bridge between Europe and the Arab world, supporting inter-regional collaboration, in particular in difficult times, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, said while delivering a speech.
"Today's summit is a critical summit taking place at a critical momentum, at a significant conjuncture for EU-Arab and Greek-Arab relations which I would say have great prospects... In this period it has become clear that Europe and the Arab World must work even closer together," the Greek leader said.
EU-Arab dialogue is instrumental for the peace, stability and economic growth of the greater region, he stressed.
"The serious challenges we need to address together require the strengthening of partnerships as well as of the interaction between Europe and the Arab League," the President on the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades stated, addressing the event.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov who was also among the keynote speakers, pointed to Greek-Bulgarian cooperation as an example for bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, joined the Athens summit representing the European Commission, noting that his presence marked the European support to initiatives and efforts to deepen inter-regional collaboration.
"In this period of geopolitical instability in the wider region of the Middle East and North Africa which de facto has an impact on Europe, this dialogue contributes to the creation of a climate of mutual respect, understanding and trust," Avramopoulos said during his speech.
The two sides must work together to address the migration crisis at its roots, underlining that better protection of the EU's borders does not mean closing borders, he added.
The Mediterranean Sea should unite Europeans and Arabs and not divide them, Lahcen Daoudi, Minister Delegate to the Head of Morocco's government, stressed on his part, supporting closer cooperation to promote peace and prosperity for all.