|Monday, 20 May 2019|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-17
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 EU leaders urge Turkey to fulfill obligations, Greek PM satisfied with summit conclusionsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/CNA) - European Union leaders called on Turkey to fulfill its obligations under the Association Agreement and its
Additional protocol, which include opening its ports and airports to Cyprus, and noted the need for Turkey to maintain good neighbourly relations with all EU member-states, in the conclusions adopted following the two-day EU summit held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking to reporters after the summit, expressed satisfaction with the conclusions reached by the European Council, particularly those regarding Turkey.
In the European Council presidency conclusions, the EU leaders stress that in 2006 they will follow up on all the issues included in the 21 September 2005 EU Declaration which apart from the protocol also refers to improving relations with Nicosia and stop preventing Cyprus from participating in international organisations.
The paragraph on T u r k e y is as follows:
''The European Council reviewed progress made in the acquis screening and welcomes the start of substantive accession negotiations with Turkey. Turkey is expected to share the values, objectives and the legal order set out in the treaties. The Union is committed to support Turkey in its efforts to comply with the Union's standards and membership obligations, including the Copenhagen criteria.
The European Council recalls, in line with previous conclusions, that the current negotiations are based on each country's own merits and that their pace will depend on each country progress in preparing for accession measured against the requirements set out in the Negotiating Framework.
This includes the fulfillment of Turkey's obligations under the Association Agreement and under its Additional Protocol, full implementation of which will be evaluated in 2006 as agreed in the Declaration of the European Community and its Member States of 21 September 2005, as well as the implementation of the revised Accession Partnership. The European Council recalls that the Council will ensure, in the course of 2006, a follow up on the progress made on all the relevant issues included in the above mentioned Declaration.
The European Council calls on Turkey to intensify the reform process and to implement it fully and effectively, so as to ensure its irreversibility and sustainability as well as to progress towards the complete fulfillment of the Copenhagen political criteria, including the commitment to good neighbourly relations. In this context, any action which could negatively affect the process of peaceful settlement of disputes should be avoided''.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis expressed satisfaction with the conclusions reached by the European Council on Friday, especially those regarding Turkey, and stressed that they contained two important elements.
He underlined the European Council's call to Turkey to make progress in fulfilling criteria set by the Union, while stressing that this included a pledge to maintain good neighbourly relations.
In addition, the summit conclusions urged Turkey to avoid any action that would negatively affect the peaceful resolution of differences, Karamanlis noted.
The Greek premier also pointed to references to Ankara's obligations arising from the September 2005 statement, related to the additional customs union protocol, that were contained in the summit conclusions.
Asked to comment on a statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that his country would not open its ports and airports to Cyprus ships and planes even if this meant suspending Turkey's accession talks, Karamanlis stressed that Greece supports and encourages Turkey's European prospects.
He pointed out that Ankara had specific obligations, that the agreement between the EU and Turkey was very clear, while stressing that Turkey must fulfill specific commitments that were clear-cut and could not be circumvented.
In response to other questions, Karamanlis expressed disagreement with an "absorption capacity" criterion for enlargement, saying that this might send the wrong message to the countries of the western Balkans.
According to Karamanlis, there was also a question of whether Turkey had a sufficiently strong motive to meet its EU obligations.
"The less clear the end, the more restricted the motive," he told reporters.
Turning to trade regulations between the EU and the Turkish-Cypriots in occupied northern Cyprus, Karamanlis said that this could not be linked to the fulfillment of Turkey's obligations to the EU.
At the same time, he conceded that there were different opinions concerning the regulations within the EU.
The Greek prime minister also denied speculation of cooler relations between Athens and Nicosia, stressing that there was constant and close cooperation with the Cypriot government, good personal communication between himself and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and close contact.
"We supported Cyprus' fundamental concerns and the results were positive. This is how things are," Karamanlis emphasised, stressing that there was no room for "alternative interpretations" or facile misunderstandings.
Referring to his recent meeting with main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou - and the latter's call for a 'new' national strategy toward Turkey - Karamanlis said that he did not hear anything new and stressed that there was a specific strategy that is being implemented, is unfolding and is going well.
European leaders on Friday issued a stern warning to Turkey to agree to the Ankara Protocol, opening its ports and airports to Cyprus, by the end of the year.
"We expect that by the end of the year these commitments should be truly fulfilled," Austrian President Wolfgang Schuessel was quoted as saying after the end of the two-day EU summit.
According to French President Jacques Chirac, meanwhile, Turkey would be "putting in doubt itself its capacity to pursue enlargement," unless it complied.
PM welcomes EU summit's 'good neighbour' criterion for Balkans
Reporting on the results of the European Council, Karamanlis welcomed a decision by EU leaders to link the accession progress of western Balkan countries with their capacity to have and maintain good neighbourly relations with EU member-states.
He also particularly welcomed the Council's decisions for dealing with migration, such as developing adequate infrastructure for supervising EU borders at sea and the creation of a border Rapid Reaction Force, pointing out that Greece had proposed the creation of a European coast guard two years earlier.
He said the meeting between EU heads of state and government had chiefly discussed Europe's future, such as progress on the stalled constitutional treaty that has now been further postponed until 2008, as well as issues like enlargement and migration, or the handling of crisis situations and emergencies.
Karamanlis stressed the importance of a decision taken by EU leaders, who on Friday asked the European Commission to prepare a report on the course of future enlargement for the Union by this Autumn. He said this report would greatly facilitate an in-depth consideration of enlargement, especially as regards the EU's capacity to absorb new members.
The Greek premier emphasised that Greece wanted the EU to protect its cohesion in the future, so that it was able to function on a political, fiscal and institutional level.
 President Papoulias tours small Dodecanese islesPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Saturday visited Nisyros, as he continued a tour of the smaller islands of the Dodecanese grouping which he commenced on Friday.
Early in the day, he strolled through the centre of the port town of Mandraki, the island's capital, where he spoke with local residents.
Later, accompanied by the Dodecanese prefect and local MPs, he visited the village of Nikeia, which is situated at the peak of the island's volcano.
Papoulias was made an honourary resident of Nisyros, at a special ceremony on Friday night, during which he was also presented with the Medal of the City, by decision of the municipal council.
The President was due to leave Nisyros for the island of Tilos in the evening, where he was also scheduled to be made an honourary resident during a special ceremony.
Papoulias will remain on Tilos until Monday afternoon, at which time he will leave for Symi, the third island on his visit. On Monday night, Papoulias will be made an honourary resident of Symi, too, and be presented with the Key of the City.
 Deputy FM Stylianidis in EgyptDeputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis departed on Saturday for a working visit to Egypt, at the head of a large delegation of Greek entrepreneurs and business executives.
During the four-day visit, the 6th Greece-Egypt joint ministerial committee will convene, while the delegation will also take part in business conferences in Cairo and Alexandria.
The Greek deputy minister will also hold several meeting with high-ranking Egyptian government officials.
 Milk producers cooperative announcedThe only way to reinforce the position of the Greek cow-breeders and milk producers was organisation of the branch, deputy agricultural development and foods minister Alexandros Kontos said Saturday in Thessaloniki, announcing the creation of a Primary Branch Cooperative during a meeting he chaired attended by branch representatives.
During the meeting, held on the initiative of the Greek Milk Organisation (ELOG) with the participation of representatives of cow-breeders and dairy producers, Kontos said that the cooperative movement in the dairy sector was unorganised, and presented a strong inability in imposing terms to the branch's industries, resulting in a few large companies holding the 'power' in the formulation of the end cost, and thus widening the difference between producer prices and consumer prices.
Organisation of the branch will contribute substantially to improving the conditions of sales of milk, Kontos explained.
He announced that the government was drafting an omnibus bill on stockbreeding, stressing that the issue of standardisation of Greek milk, which concerned the majority of the agricultural sector, will have been cleared up within the next 10 days, following two months of collaboration with the development ministry.
Kontos further assured that systematic checks were being conducted on imported products from other countries.
The minister said that stockbreeding was one of the most dynamic branches of the Greek agricultural economy, and stressed that Greece had excellent, certified farms, but also young people employed in the sector, and in that framework the government had an obligation to support them.
Organisation of the agricultural sector was a top priority of the agricultural development and foods ministry, and concerned all branches comprising the sector, Kontos underlined.
ELOG president Polynikis Fassas told ANA-MPA that this year's milk production -- from April 1, 2005 to March 30, 2006 -- stood at 750,000 tons, just under the 820,000 tons EU quota for milk production by Greece. He said that the full quota would be achieved in the next dairy period, adding that later there might be a small overshooting of the quota.
As for milk prices, Fassas said that there was a 2 percent decline in producer prices, which reached 0.3528 euros per litre, over the corresponding period last year.
The ELOG president also said that there were 6,358 cow-breeders in Greece, with Greek milk production covering 70 percent of the domestic demand.
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