Minister, Deputy Minister of Public Works, son of this land, Mr. Kalogiannis, colleagues Antonis Foussas and Kostas Tassoulas, MPs from the department of Ioannina, Mr. President of the Region, Mr. President of the Pan-Epirus, Mr. President of the Region of Argyrokastro, gentlemen accompanying the Albanian Minister, Chief of the Albanian Fire Brigade Mr. Kristouli, Mayor of Ioannina, Head of Department, Generals, let me welcome you all.
As the Chief of the Fire Brigade Andreas Kois just said, this is an act and a day to write history. We have signed a cooperation agreement to join our forces and fight against natural disasters, destruction and fire.
You may know Minister that, in 2001, today’s Prime Minister was then Head of the Opposition and we had together paid a visit then to the areas burnt down in Aghia Marina to see all the other villages that had suffered. It was a heart-breaking scenery as a burnt down land always is and we were dominated by the idea that if we had had the opportunity to go in, to confront the fire and stop it, we could have minimized losses and damages.
I remember it very well. This idea was not only ours, it was a pure result of common sense, and this is what led us to today’s act. In addition to that, we have the luck to sign and conclude this Act today.
Fire, natural disasters, disease and all the other calamities know no borders. The wisdom of man and our own political will are the only two incentives to build up our defense. This is what we are doing today. Whatever we wish to stipulate as a provision, whatever sort of cooperation we wish to put in place, we have included it in the text of the agreement, we shall translate it into administrative action and we dedicate it to our respective peoples.
This is how we have opened the great chapter related to the protection of the environment, so as not to lose forests, property and human lives. The Fire Brigades of both countries guarantee that we shall have the best of results, thanks to the text of our agreement but also thanks to their coordinated action.
Let me send this message to our friend and neighbor, the people of Albania: our political will for cooperation must be taken for granted. Our administrative capacities turn us to developing our cooperation. Our wisdom and the reality of things tell us to divert from all roads leading to differences and take the highway of agreements and partnerships.
We can achieve the cooperation between governments and peoples to the greatest level. Ioannina proves of that today, not to mention our recent experience from the past 15 years. I am fairly optimistic as to the good course followed by both countries and peoples within the European Union.
All actions undertaken constitute at the same time partial actions within the European framework. From this region we offer this Greek-Albanian cooperation as a token of contribution to the European Union regarding West Balkans. I salute the conclusion of this agreement and I would like to make a somehow peculiar wish: let us be lucky enough to never implement this agreement, since if we ever have to, it will mean that a fire has broken out somewhere.
Thank you very much.