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Past Greek Presidencies

Past Greek Presidencies

1st July- 31st December 1983 

Greece held the Presidency of the EEC for the first time in the second half of 1983. Among the main results of the Greek Presidency of 1983 were the enactment of the new supplementary budget in 1983, substantive progress in the third round of negotiations for enlargement, the commencement of negotiations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States on the signing of the Lome III Convention and the signing of a Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Andean Pact.


1st July – 31st December 1988

The second Greek Presidency took initiatives to discuss major issues relating to the future role of the Community and the content of the process of European integration. Characteristic examples in this respect were initiatives for the international role of the Community, the single European area, environmental protection and general discussions on East-West relations. The second Greek Presidency came to an end in the impressive surroundings of the Knight’s Castle on Rhodes, where the necessary foundations were laid for the adoption of the Community Social Charter.


1st January 1994-30th June 1994

It was a Presidency completely different from the two previous ones. The Treaty of Maastricht establishing the European Union had just entered into force and there were a number of exceptionally complex and difficult issues relating to the process of European integration which had to be tackled. The driving force behind the Presidency was the idea of European integration, thus its programme had a purely European orientation.

At the Corfu Summit held on 24– 25 June 1994 efforts to enlarge the European Union with the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden were completed with the signing of the respective Acts of Accession. During its third EU Presidency, Greece promoted the prospect of EU enlargement towards the south and east of Europe so as to ensure stability, development and collaboration in South-eastern Europe.

A particularly important policy area which was successfully handled by the third Greek Presidency was that of Justice and Home Affairs. Seeking to contribute in a substantive manner to the establishment of a new institutional identity for the activities under the Third Pillar of the European Union, the Greek Presidency promoted:

  • The stepping up of work to prepare a Treaty for the establishment of Europol
  • The stepping up of implementation of the Dublin Convention as well as promotion of the idea of signing a parallel convention with non-member states in order to achieve a broader, harmonised European policy on asylum
  • Preparation of an overall strategy to combat illegal drug activity
  • Support for judicial cooperation and joint action as part of efforts to fight international organised crime.


1st January 2003 – 30th June 2003

The presentation of the draft European Constitution along with the Signing Ceremony for the Accession Treaty of 10 candidate countries constituted two landmark events in the development of the European Union, during Greece’s fourth EU Presidency. The latter, the Signing of 10 Accession Treaties, marked the last phase of the largest wave of enlargement in the history of the EU and set the seal on the re-unification of Europe. It was a supreme moment of the Presidency, celebrated at the foot of the Acropolis.

The fourth Greek Presidency (2003) prioritized enlargement in the Western Balkans and pushed for a clear EU commitment to the European future of the Western Balkan countries. The Thessaloniki Agenda, adopted in June 2003 included a set of concrete measures aimed at achieving this important objective.

The Greek Presidency’s curtain fell in a climate of praise for Greece’s contribution, with the first-half 2003 presidency being characterised during the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg on July 1st 2003 as a “model for the effectiveness of medium-size countries in exercising the Presidency” (Maij Wegen, European Popular Party), while the Greek Presidency was also praised for its ability to handle affairs in a “humanitarian spirit” (Carlos Lage, Socialist Group). In addition, it was stressed that the Greek Presidency managed “with great leadership skills to hold the rudder on a course that was no cruise but an Odyssey” (Baron Crespo, Socialist Group).

Read more about the results of the fourth Greek Presidency.