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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-13

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece wants speedup in Finnish presidency's efforts

  • [01] Greece wants speedup in Finnish presidency's efforts

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who represented Greece at the European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers on Monday, stressed Greece's desire for the Finnish presidency to speed up its efforts on the issue of Cyprus so that in the event that they fail the EU will have the time to draw necessary conclusions.

    "Our position is that the time that will be given to the Finnish presidency must not be so much that we will be coming very close to the next General Affairs Council on December 11. That at some time it must be clarified whether the Finnish proposal has possibilities of success or not, to enable us to pass afterwards on to the more substantive discussion on how we see Turkey's European prospects developing," Bakoyannis said, terming Monday's discussion on Turkey as an "acquaintance" one on their general views on the issue of relations between the EU and Turkey.

    Bakoyannis said that the general picture existing among the "25" is that the EU has opened its door to Turkey, but Turkey must accept and honour its commitments to avoid any rift.

    Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, which provides for the opening of its ports and airports to Cyprus. The EU Finnish Presidency is conducting negotiations to reach an agreement in order to prevent a crisis between the EU and Turkey.

    Referring to other issues examined by the General Affairs Council on Monday, foreign minister Bakoyannis said that an initial discussion was held on the EU's enlargement towards the Balkans.

    "Greece is firmly positive on enlargement towards the western Balkans and that we had the opportunity once again of stressing the significance of the appropriate and positive message to the countries and peoples in the region," she said.

    Bakoyannis further said that Greece and a number of EU member-states believe that the course of Croatia's accession must be speeded up, while with regard to Serbia she supported a "slackening" of terms and preconditions by which Serb citizens can obtain visas to visit European countries.

    On the question of Kosovo, the foreign minister pointed out that Greece was satisfied in seeing the EU share its view that decisions on its final status quo must be adopted after the elections taking place in Serbia at the beginning of next year.

    Lastly, referring to the resolution adopted by the "25" on the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians following the dramatic developments in Gaza, Bakoyannis stressed that the resolution's text "was able to cover all, not as they would have liked" and that "it provides a new opportunity for the Palestinian leadership to ultimately facilitate a national unity government" so that the dialogue between Israel and Palestine can resume.

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