Ambassador Pyatt’s Remarks on Memorandum of Cooperation with Ministry of Citizens Protection

April 4, 2019

Καλημέρα σας,

First of all I want to say thank you very much Minister Gerovasili for having us all here today and for all of your efforts to deepen our law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation, building on understandings that were reached between our two governments during the Strategic Dialogue in Washington D.C. last December.

We greatly value our partnership with the Ministry of Citizen’s Protection and with the Hellenic Police, and we very much appreciate their steadfast support.

I also want to welcome here today my friend and colleague, Alina Romanowski from the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, which is offering to help support Greece in implementation of its Passenger Name Record law.

We have just signed a memorandum of cooperation that follows up on the very constructive discussions that we had during the Strategic Dialogue on issues of law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation.

There, with Secretary of State Pompeo and Foreign Minister Katrougalos presiding, we recognized Greece’s positive progress on its commitments within the United States Visa Waiver Program.  We also agreed at the Strategic Dialogue to further enhance our law enforcement cooperation, on information exchange, on border security cooperation, and the work we do together to counter illicit activity.

This Memorandum of Cooperation marks serious progress in all of these areas, and I am very pleased to announce that, after today’s signing, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will initiate the process to restore the validity of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA for Greek citizens to two years.

That means that Greek citizens traveling to the U.S. for business or pleasure for to 90 days  are eligible to complete the ESTA form online and will not have to renew it for two years, instead of every year as they have been required to do since 2016.

I want  you to know again how much we value our continued cooperation with the government of Greece on law enforcement and counterterrorism.  This is a partnership that keeps both of our countries and all of Europe safe.

So thank you very much, Minister Gerovasili, ευχαριστώ πολύ.