Greece’s Difficulties in Delimiting an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) due to Her Neighbour Countries by Antigoni-Maria Vrochidou
This research study investigates the difficulties Greece is facing in delimiting her Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). More specifically, it analyses the regulations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) regarding the EEZ and its delimitation, it thoroughly examines Greece’s relationships with her neighbour countries, with which she has maritime borders, and it probes three relevant maritime boundaries delimitation cases.
EEZ is one of the maritime zones, which was first introduced by UNCLOS 1982. States that have ratified UNCLOS 1982 have to delimit their maritime boundaries according to it, while the other states have to act according to customary International Law. Greece has ratified UNCLOS 1982 and wishes to delimit her EEZ according to its provisions.
Unfortunately, Turkey claims that if Greece decides to delimit her EEZ, it will be considered as a hostile gesture. Additionally, she does not recognise to the Greek Kastellorizo island its right to have an EEZ. Furthermore, Turkey tries to influence the rest of Greece’s neighbour countries in order not to sign any agreement with her. Greece has maritime boundaries with Albania, Italy, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus and Turkey.
Apart from Turkey, Greece does not have great disputes with the rest of her neighbour countries.
According to UNCLOS 1982, when two states cannot settle on a maritime boundary delimitation agreement, they should appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and follow its decree. Turkey does not want to go to the ICJ because she does not approve of ICJ’s jurisdiction and prefers to enforce her positions.
However, the cases of Saint Pierre and Miquelon islands (1992), Romania v Ukraine (2009) and Nicaragua v Colombia (2012) have proved that each case is unique, as it has different characteristics and no one can forecast ICJ’s decree.
Thus, Greece should stop being afraid of Turkey’s protests and appeal to the ICJ for her EEZ delimitation. Either way, a solution has to be found so that the rich in hydrocarbons seabed of the Aegean and Ionian Sea can be exploited.