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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM details Athens' stance on EU-Turkey talks
  • [02] Papandreou suppport for allowing private universities

  • [01] FM details Athens' stance on EU-Turkey talks

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis again detailed Athens' oft-enunciated policy vis-?-vis increasingly complex relations between the European Union and EU hopeful Turkey, especially ahead of a closely watched General Affairs Council in Brussels this week.

    In statements carried in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily 'Eleftheros Typos', Bakoyannis reiterated that Greece wants a "unified European position that clearly includes a message over the future of Turkey's negotiations with the EU."

    Asked about the timely issue of establishing a timetable and evaluating procedure for gauging Turkey's accession course, Bakoyannis said what was significant was for "whatever decisions to remain at the council of ministers' level.

    "In other words, decisions should be taken by the 25 member-states, or, in the future by the 27. This is what has heightened significance, because unanimity is mandatory."

    Regarding the most recent counter-proposal by the Erdogan government to open one port and one airport on Cyprus, Bakoyannis was mostly dismissive, saying the idea "obviously serves PR needs ... the real facts at the moment are that Turkey has not honored its signature" to implement the customs union protocol.

    Conversely, she reminded that it was both in Greece and Cyprus' interests to keep Turkey "on the path towards Europe".

    [02] Papandreou suppport for allowing private universities

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday outlined his positions favoring the revision of controversial Article XVI, the constitutional provision that prevents the establishment of recognised non-state universities and colleges in Greece.

    The prospect of overturning the unique -- by western standards -- ban, has generated impassioned debate over the past year, with the Karamanlis government unwavering in its intent to allow non-state institutions in the face of resistance by the leftist political opposition, trade unions, certain student groupings and the university professors' union.

    On his part, Papandreou's standing support for the revision has run up against some opposition from within his own party, although in published comments on Sunday he clarified that PASOK MPs have the right to vote freely when constitutional revision draft bills arrive in the next Parliament.

    In differentiating his stance with that of the government's, Papandreou referred to "two lines leading to different directions, which converge at only one point".

    Moreover, he again aired his proposal for a referendum on a variety of education issues, including the revision.

    "Our (PASOK) position is clear, but I understand that there are certain issues that, for instance, deal with religion or other matters, where some people may have another view. However, PASOK has an official position," he noted.

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