Deputy FM Ioannis Amanatidis, in a speech yesterday [Dec-9] during the ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Greek government and the government of Australia regarding the regulation of issues pertaining to the Work and Holiday Visa, inter alia stressed:
“The restoration of the country’s international image and the strengthening, that is, of our national “brand name” runs through the eyes of “others,” mainly those who have first-hand experience of Greece, its culture, education and beauty.
This opportunity to get to know Greece is offered by the ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Greek government and the government of Australia regarding the regulation of issues pertaining to the Work and Holiday Visa, regarding which we are here today.
This is all the more true when the agreement allows for experiential knowledge of Greece for the young people of Australia, while also providing the potential for the strengthening of the Greek Australian community’s communication with our homeland.
At the same time, through the ratification of the “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Government of Australia, we are inaugurating a stable channel of communication with its authorities, investing in our cultural capital, and fueling our longstanding, strong bilateral relations.
Moreover, youth mobility offers experience and knowledge that contribute to the professional and social integration of citizens in a globalized and competitive environment.
The present Memorandum of Understanding is an international contract that was signed on 14 May 2014, between Greece, represented by the Tourism Minister at the time, and Australia, which was represented by its Immigration and Border Protection Minister.
As we know, according to article 28, paragraph 1 of our Constitution, international contracts are an intrinsic part of domestic Greek law when they have been ratified and put into effect.
Since 1996, Australia has undertaken the initiative of proposing to many European countries the conclusion of bilateral agreements on youth mobility. Australia has signed such agreements with Ireland, Italy, Poland, Cyprus, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Turkey.
The Greek community of Australia has shown strong interest in the implementation of the present programme. The first official discussions started in 2011, on the initiative of the Greek Community of Melbourne and other Greek Australian organizations. However, the efforts to draw up such an agreement go back some 20 years. Indicatively, I am submitting to the minutes, for your information, a front-page article from the Greek Australian newspaper “Neos Kosmos” regarding the upcoming ratification of the agreement.
Through the ratification of the present agreement, the Greek state aims to achieve the following goals and gain the following benefits:
We aim to strengthen the ties between Greece and Australia, a country where over 375,000 persons on Greek origin reside, and the 12th largest economy in the world.
We are pursuing international experience for youth, so that they can become familiar with the manners, customs and culture, as well as the educational and work environment, of another country, which will lead to the promotion and improvement of mutual understanding among the youth of the two countries.
Additionally, through the implementation of the present agreement, we will enable young Greek Australians to come to Greece for a long stay and tighten their relations with their original homeland.
We are boosting the youth mobility of both countries and we are providing opportunities for some kind of employment, always in combination with recreation, as well as the opportunity for education and training.
Finally, this programme provides the opportunity for young people to make contacts with the other country and learn about that country’s educational and work environment, giving them a personal appreciation of any later educational or professional collaboration.
The general assessment of the agreement under ratification, beyond the above-mentioned special benefits, must be that it is extremely positive for our national interests, as it imparts fresh momentum to Greek-Australian relations, particularly if considered together with the “Hellenic Initiative” programme, which is a programme for salaried internships for young Greeks at Australian companies, as well as the “Speak Greek in March” programme, which is being carried out by the Greek communities of Australia and is aimed at promoting and encouraging Greek language learning.”