Greek minister of state for EU affairs Dimitris Kourkoulas is optimistic that Greece can “reflect the spirit of the times” as the country takes over the EU’s rotating six-month presidency. Kourkoulas kicks off our Greek presidency special issue by saying that “Europe needs to move forwards not backwards”, adding, “We need more integration, not less”. The minister continues, saying, “ We need good jobs and sustainable growth and we must ensure that our policies are aligned with these popular demands”. According to the Greek official, unemployment is the most pressing issue stemming from the present economic crisis, the repercussions of which he describes as “troubling”. Kourkoulas also emphasises the importance of maritime industries, not just for Greece, a “traditional maritime country”, but also for “Europe as a whole”.