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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-29

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: priority to reforms, illegal migration

  • [01] PM: priority to reforms, illegal migration

    The Greek government's priorities are to accelerate reforms and tackle illegal immigration, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Monday as he delivered the opening address at a European Peoples' Party (EPP) Group Study Days meeting taking place in Athens.

    "It is the Greek government's choice to promote reforms in the economy, the public sector, security, education and health," Karamanlis said, adding that the country had to be ready when the crisis started to abate.

    "The international economic crisis calls upon us all to proceed more rapidly, to reform whatever must be reformed, to change what must be changed in order to ensure sustainable development," the premier underlined.

    At the same time, he noted the necessity for "a balance between the market economy and social justice, between individual enterprise and social cohesion."

    Karamanlis welcomed the first signs that the global economy was stabilising but warned that several things remained to be done.

    "Only through coordination and cooperation can we restrict the repercussions of the international crisis on the European economy and create a positive environment for growth," he stressed.

    The prime minister then referred to the ever-worsening problem of illegal immigration, pointing out that Greece was currently bearing a larger part of the burden in a problem actually shared by all of Europe, since illegal immigrants eventually made their way into all European countries.

    "Active solidarity and a fair distribution of the burden involved in dealing with them is needed," he stressed, adding that the issue was a top priority for Athens.

    Karamanlis also pointed to the progress made in setting up a European coast guard, adding that joint European exercises had taken place in the framework of the EU's FRONTEX agency.

    Regarding protection of the environment, which is one of the themes of the MEP's meeting, Karamanlis said that the EU can and should be at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment and prevent climate change.

    "We want tangible results at the Copenhagen summit on global climate change, with commitments by countries for a measurable reduction in gas emissions and a stop to climate change," he stressed.

    Finally, Karamanlis underlined the EPP's good results in the European Parliament elections and said this indicated the faith of European citizens that the party was best able to deal with the global recession, illegal immigration and climate change.

    At the same time, he stressed that the abstention of 60 percent of voters from the election was important and that the European political agenda had to be made easier to understand, fairer and more accessible for the average European citizen.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA file photograph of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

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