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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-16

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 16, 2003





  • [01] A UNION OF "25"
  • [04] ELECTIONS IN 2004



  • [01] A UNION OF "25" The Europe will take on political dimensions, with the accession of 10 new members under the shadow of the Parthenon, which are drawing nearer to the geographic dimensions. In an article in "Monde", Prime Minister Costas Simitis characterized the enlarge ment the restitution of the rift that had been created in Europe by the cold war.
  • [02] CYPRUS WITH EUROPEAN SECURITY Violations of Greek airspace and the downgrading of Turkish representation from the Prime Ministerial level, to that of the Vice President of the government, was the Turkish reaction to the confirmation of Cyprus' accession to the EU, while a short time ago Ankara said that accession would mean they would annex the north part of the island. Former Presidents Cleridis and Vasiliou are in Athens.
  • [03] ENLARGEMENT AND ANTIWAR PROTESTS Protest marches against the war are being organized in Athens by political organizations and parties, mainly due to the presence of Mr. Blair and Mr. Aznar. Rallies have been forbidden near the site where the ceremony is to be held and on the roads from which European leaders will pass. Public services in Athens will remain closed today and great changes have been made to the capital's mass transit system.
  • [04] ELECTIONS IN 2004 His decision for elections to be held at the end of the 4-year tenure, specifically in May 2004, was repeated by the Prime Minister in his interview to "Ta Nea" newspaper, with which he responded to the Karamanlis appreciations of early elections. Mr. Si mitis repeated that he does not govern according to the results of opinion polls.
  • [05] EUROPEAN COUNCIL WORKS BEGIN The Summit Meeting for the enlargement of the EU, for a Europe of "25" began in Athens this morning, with the arrival procedure of the 25 European leaders, the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, the President of the European Parliament Pa t Cox, and the President of the European Convention Giscard D'Estaing at the Zappeion Megaro, which was completed at 9:30 this morning.

    The signing of the treaty for the accession of the 10 new member states will take place in the Stoa of Attalus, below the Acropolis, in the presence of 41 European leaders and the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan. The new members will become offic ially accessed on May 1, 2004.

    Special importance has been given to the participation of President of the European Convention on the Future of Europe Valery Giscard D'Estaing, who is expected to brief European leaders in the framework of the European Council's Meeting on the progress of the Convention's works.

    Above and beyond the historic significance of the Union's enlargement, the European leaders and the President of the European Convention are prepared to reinstate the Union in a new, more stable "orbit" of integration.

    The crisis that sent shockwaves throughout Europe, due to the war in Iraq, seems to have been overcome, and European leaders are prepared to reevaluate their opposite policies.

    The Greek Presidency's belief about the new status quo in post war Iraq, is also evident by the presence of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the signing this afternoon. The UN has never been connected to the institutional moves of the Union. And the me ssage, on behalf of the Greek Presidency, is clear.

    In the new order, being formed after the war in Iraq, the European Union still firmly believes that the UN must have the first word. In inviting Mr. Annan, the Greek Presidency is sending out a clear message that it does not want the limiting of the UN's

    role to the distribution of humanitarian aid.

    Meanwhile, the accession of 10 new members today has also opened the path for the preparation of those countries for the Euroelections to be held on June 12-13, 2004. It should be noted that candidate member-states will become official members on May 1st

    of that year.

    The citizens of the enlarged Union will elect their representatives at the new European Parliament, the tenure of which will be from 2004 to 2009. The new European Parliament will have 732 seats.

    The European Committee recommends that new members move to the immediate transfer of Direction #93/109/EK, in order to legally institute the right to elect and be elected in the 2004 elections.

    Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanof chose Thessaloniki as a stop on his way to Athens.

    Mr. Ivanof arrived in Thessaloniki last night, spent the night in the city, and will visit Mt. Athos today. After completing his visit there, he will leave for Athens, where, tomorrow, he will represent Russia at the European Convention of the 25 members -state leaders and the leaders of the countries with common boarders.

  • [06] ATHENS FORTIFIED Athens has been turned into a fort today, due to the works of the EU's Summit Meeting, wile it is a holiday in the Attica basin for most public services. .

    More than 10,000 police officers are on full alert. Also, four aircrafts of the Civil Aviation Authority, on Navy frigate, three police helicopters, and Coast Guard patrol boats with divers have mobilized for guard duty.

    Two F-16 and two Mirage fighter jets of the Air Force are on constant patrol over the Attica basin, while the Saronicos gulf is being patrolled by the "Navarono" frigate. Even the hotels where the heads of state and their delegations are staying have bee n turned into fortresses.

    Public services, local government organizations, schools, universities and technical schools are all closed today. Banks will be closed from 11am to the end of their shift, while mass transit services will run normally.

    It is not a holiday however, according to the Minister of the Interior, Costas Scandalidis, for hospital, emergency response unit, healthcare station, Civil Aviation Authority and court employees.

    Emergency measures have been taken in Athens by the Traffic Police since yesterday, which will last until tomorrow, in the area of the airport, roads and avenues on the routes to the hotels of the official delegations and from the hotels to the event and

    works sites. Parking and traveling has been forbidden on many major streets within the Attica basin.

  • [07] 17N TRIAL TO CONTINUE ON FRIDAY The trial on the crimes committed by the "17 November" terrorist group will resume on Friday April 18.

    The trial was interrupted due to the health problems alternate Judge of Appeals Mr. Papailiou is facing, who has been feeling ill since yesterday. The doctors

  • [08] PROTESTS IN ATHENS Thousands of protesters are expected to attend he rallies programmed for today in Athens, drawing on the presence of European leaders in the Greek capital for the European Convention.

    Specifically, two rallies and marches towards the offices of the European Commission and the US and British Embassies have been organized at 11:00 and at 17:00 in Syntagma square, be "Action: Thessaloniki 2003".

    The General Confederation of Greek Workers will also participate in the protests, while it has declared a walkout from 11am until the end of the shift. Participants in the protests include the Coalition of the Left and Progress, antiwar organizations, an d representatives of almost all unions on Athens workers and employees.

    The "Greek Social Forum" and EKA will also carry out a march to the British Embassy, the war museum, while they are expected to attempt an approach on the site of the European leaders' meeting.

  • [09] 8 MORE PEOPLE TO D.A. REGARDING TEMBI ACCIDENT - COX CONDOLENCES His deep grief on the tragic accident in Tembi and his warmest condolences to the families of the victims, were expressed by the President of the European Parliament Pat Cox.

    Speaking to journalists in the margin of his meeting with the leaders of the 25 leaders in Athens, Mr. Cox spoke of the tragedy that cost the life of 21 students, an event that shocked Greek society, with great emotion.

    The President of the European Parliament overcame the rigidity of political speech and showed a more human side, referring to the death of his own child in a car accident years ago.

    Complicity in mass manslaughter are the charges brought against 8 representatives of the lumber factory "Akritas", who - according to the Larissa DA - are implicated in the tragic accident that occurred in the Tembi valley. All 8 asked for and received a nd extension, and will be taken to the Examiner tomorrow.

    The director of the company, the shift supervisor, two machinery operators and two workers, against whom the DA set the same charges as he did against the truck driver, Dimitris Dolas.

    The truckload of melamine that severed the threat of 21 students' lives, was loaded onto the truck at the company factory, and according to information, a number of irregularities were discovered by the DA. The "Akritas" company announced that among othe r things that the shipping of the load was undertaken by a private individual, completely unrelated to the company.

    Meanwhile, the wreckage of the bus has been taken to the "Bugas" military camp in Larissa, while a specialist committee is continuing investigations as to the exact causes of the tragic accident.

    At the same time, "Agrotiki Asfalistiki" (Agricultural Security) representative Triantafyllos Lysimachos, stated that the truck was insured with their company at the lowest possible coverage, for 500,000 euro for bodily harm and 100,000 for material dama ges, while his trailer was uninsured at his own demand.

    It should be noted that present legislature considers trucks as much a potential risk as scooters, as both are covered for civic responsibility to third parties, with 500,000 euro, when a truck is a multiple potential danger.

    The driver of the truck, Dimitris Dolas, will be taken to the Examiner today in order to defend himself regarding the charges of mass manslaughter brought against him by the Larissa DA.

    The health the three seriously injured students - out of a total of 31 who were injured in the accident on Sunday - and according to the doctors treating them at the Larissa and Thessaloniki hospitals their condition is critical, but stable.

    Archbishop Christodoulos visits injured students

    Archbishop Christodoulos, who visited the injured students in the General Larissa Hospital stated that he was shocked from the Tembi accident.

    "The reason of this visit is to come close to the injured children, who have lived through a great trial. From the very first moment, local metropolites hasted to the accident scene to support the families, to comfort them and give them any help they cou ld."

    The Head of the Greek Church then went to the accident scene, where a memorial psalm was held in the presence of the victims' families.

  • [10] PAT COX: A POWERFUL EUROPEAN COMMISSION GUARANTEES DEMOCRACY The need to strengthen the responsibilities, rights and functions of the European Commission was pointed out by the President of the European Council, Pat Cox, in the margin of his meeting with the leaders of the EU member-states, of the 10 countries und er accession and the President of the European Convention, Valery Giscard D'Estaing, pointing out the importance of the European enlargement.

    As far as the enlargement is concerned, the President of the European Parliament appealed to European leaders to ensure that the deadlines for the full accession of the new EU members will be respected.

    Regarding the Convention and the issues raised by the Greek Presidency on the strengthening of decision making procedures, Mr. Cox stressed, in a press interview he gave, that any presidency could play an important role in this sector. "An enlarged presi dency, which is one of the main goals of the Convention, will secure Democracy in Europe", said Mr. Cox.

    Regarding the issue of the European Commission's rights and responsibilities, Pat Cox pointed out that it would be good if the European Parliament elected the President of the European Commission, who must have the authority, the right to select the rest

    of the Commissioners and assign roles to them. "Give him authority. This is the security valve on objectivity", he said characteristically.

    Finally, the President of the European Parliament referred to the head of EU Foreign Policy, stressing that the crisis in Iraq has taught us that effective foreign policy does not just demand specific political treaties and agreements, it also requires p owerful political will.

  • [11] KARAMANLIS STATEMENTS ON EU ENLARGEMENT The greatest enlargement of the EU is being sealed today, the greatest peaceful unification of democratic states in history, stressed President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis, on the signing of the Treaty for the accession of ten new member states to

    the European Union.

    Mr. Karamanlis welcomed the new members and noted that the EU should respond quickly and effectively to the demands of modern times and move to political unification.

  • [12] 10TH ROUND OF GREEK-TURKISH EXPLORATORY MEETINGS IN ATHENS The 10th round of exploratory meetings between Greece and Turkey will be held in Athens tomorrow, between Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Anastasios Skopelitis, and his Turkish counterpart, Ambassador Ugur Zijal, as was announced by

    Foreign Ministry Press Spokesperson Panagiotis Beglitis.

  • [13] PAPARIGA: THE ENLARGEMENT IS A BUSINESS AGREEMENT "The business deal being signed between the warmongering and peace profiteering Europeans", was the characterization given to the enlargement of the European Union by the Secretary General of the KKE , Aleka Papariga.

    "Unfortunately, this is how things are. This agreement will not strengthen unity among them, it will only strengthen their ability to exploit the peoples. The European Union is doomed to be united at the expense of the peoples and divide over how they sp lit the loot", she stressed.

  • [14] G. MAGRIOTIS IN ARMENIA TOMORROW Deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Magriotis will depart for Erevan, Armenia, tomorrow, in order to participate in the enlarged Meeting of the
  • [15] DECLARATION OF ATHENS "We the representatives of the citizens and States of the European Union meet today on this symbolic site, under the Acropolis, to celebrate an historic event: The signing of the Accession Treaty for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

    Our achievement is unique. This Union represents our common determination to put an end to centuries of conflict and to transcend former divisions on our continent. This Union represents our will to embark on a new future based on cooperation, respect fo r diversity and mutual understanding.

    Our Union represents a collective project: A project to share our future as a community of values.

    We are proud to be part of a Union founded on the principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. A Union committed to furthering respect for human dignity, liberty and human rights. A Union devoted to the practice of tolerance, justice and solidar ity. The essential value of this project lies in the ability of the Union to empower both its citizens and its member states. By working together we and our countries can hope to confront the challenges of tomorrow.

    On the threshold of this enlargement, we confirm that the European Union should focus on those tasks that are crucial to the well-being, security and prosperity of its citizens.

    We will continue to uphold and defend fundamental human rights, both inside and outside the European Union, including the fight against all types of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnic origin, religion or convictions, disability, age or s exual orientation.

    We shall act together to foster sustainable development locally and globally, to combat environmental degradation, and to guarantee a better quality of life for future generations.

    We underline our commitment to a dynamic and knowledge-based European economy, open to all, focused on sustainable growth and full employment, but also on social inclusion and economic cohesion. We shall make the Union a genuine area of freedom, security and justice, and shall continue to uphold each of these core values.

    We shall respect the dignity and rights of third country nationals living and working in the EU. The values we cherish are not reserved for our own nationals but apply to all those who submit to the laws of our lands.

    On this historic day, as we celebrate the enlargement of our Union, we reaffirm the commitment we made in Copenhagen to "One Europe", our collective desire to see it continue to develop into an inclusive Union.

    Accession is a new contract between our citizens and not merely a treaty between states. As citizens of this new enlarged Union we proclaim our commitment to the citizens of the candidate countries. We are also committed to developing ever deeper ties and bridges of cooperation with our neighbours and to share the future of this community of values with others beyond our shores.

    We believe the Union has an essential role to play in the world. We shall work for a more open and equitable global economy and a truly shared global information society, to the benefit of all, especially people in less favoured parts of the world. To th is end, we will promote relentlessly the dialogue among civilizations and contribute uncompromisingly to strengthening the institutions of global governance and expanding the reach of international law.

    We are committed to facing up to our global responsibilities, we will support conflict prevention, promote justice, help secure peace and defend global stability. We are determined to work at all levels to tackle global terrorism and stem the weapons of mass destruction. To this end, the Union will continue to enhance its civilian and military capabilities to enhance stability beyond its borders and further its humanitarian goals. The Union pledges its support to the United Nations and its efforts to ass ure international legitimacy and global responsibility.

    Our collective project, our European Union, is a dynamic one. Constant renewal, while learning from our rich traditions and history, is our very nature. We look forward to the proposals of the Convention on the Future of Europe and to further reassessme nts of both the structures and the membership of the Union. Our future Europe belongs to all its citizens, without exceptions or exclusions.

    We pledge our commitment to defending the fundamental freedoms upon which democracy depends. The democratic ideal must be the rock on which our community of values flourishes, not just for the citizens of today, but for our children and their children. O nly through the active participation of its citizens and civic organisations will the Union continue to grow in strength and legitimacy. Reaffirming our commitment to democracy as the fundamental value underpinning the Union, we recognise it also constitu tes the fundamental challenge confronting us today.

    Our Europe is a Europe for all".

  • [16] PRESIDENT OF THE EESC SPEAKS TO MPA The President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Roger Briesch, sees the enlargement in a positive light, appreciating that the accession of 10 new countries to the EU will strengthen the economic dynamics of the Joint Market. Mr. Briesch jus tified the worries expressed by part of the Greek people and noted that all other countries had the same worries when Greece, Spain and Portugal were accessed to the EU. But their fears were not confirmed. He traced a lack of coordination in what is calle d unified European economic policy, despite the will that has been expressed and is in favor of a more federal direction for the European Union.

    In his interview to the Macedonian Press Agency, the President of the EESC, the fourth institutional body of the EU, also spoke about the discomfort caused to US President George Bush by the influence of the European model on South American countries, an d the methods used by the US in order to weaken the European structure.

    "First of all", he said, regarding the new member states, "we must incorporate these countries to their real, natural family, that of Europe. At the same time it is an economic action and a generous action. The entire procedure that led these countries t o make an effort in order to conform with the criteria for accession to the EU, that contributed to the rise of their economic, social and industrial level".

    "With the completion of the enlargement, we will have an economic market policy with a social content, democracy and freedom", he added, continuing to say that, "in a globalized world we face difficult negotiations and conflict within the World Trade Org anization".

    "A second point that interests us is our relationship to third world countries, because we want to show them, within the framework of the World Trade Organization, that we want what is best for them, and that with cooperation we can help eradicate their problems".

    Regarding developments in Iraq, Mr. Briesch stated that "suddenly, the war in Iraq brought certain realities to light". "The US are playing their game in order to be able to weaken the European structure. And they are doing this by offering significant f inancial aid".

    To the question on whether there is a real common European economic policy, after the questions created by the different approaches on the issue of Iraq, the President of the EESC stated that the answer is both "yes and no". "As years and various treatie s go by, the Maastricht treaty, the Amsterdam treaty, the Lisbon treaty, a will has been expressed for the coordination of economic policies".

    "This will, of course, and the effort to coordinate has brought forth some results, there has been progress, but it is inadequate as far as economic development, economic enlargement and employment is concerned. This happens because we leave the choice o f coordination to individual countries, and they deal with their own best interest first of all, and with the general best interest afterwards, and for that reason, in my opinion, federalization the only solution".

  • [17] POSITIVE ANNAN-BLAIR MEETING ON RECONSTRUCTION OF IRAQ The role of the UN in the reconstruction of Iraq was the topic of the meeting between Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which was held in the margin of the EU meeting in Athens today. "We must cooperate with th e specific region of the world", stressed Mr. Annan, immediately after their meeting, while the British Prime Minister pointed out that he agreed with the UN Secretary General on the UN's role in the region.

    "I believe that the United Nations will play an important role in the future, and as we move into the next few weeks, the picture will become clearer. The Prime Minister of Britain and I are certain that we can cooperate with the rest of the leaders and members of the Security Council, in order to find a common course", said Mr. Annan.

    On his side, Mr. Blair said that he agreed with Mr. Annan on the important role of the UN in the Iraq conflict. "It is a role that does not just concern humanitarian relations. It also concerns issues of political reconstruction", said the British Prime Minister, while adding: "I think that really everybody agrees that our first concern should be the Iraqi people. This country must be reconstructed after years of Saddam Hussein's reign. Proper protection of human rights is necessary, and the government t o come about must be as representational in the eyes of the Iraqi people, as it is in the eyes of the international community".

  • [18] ENLARGEMENT WITH MINOR INCIDENTS There were minor incidents during the protest marches in Athens. The police used tear gas in order to drive back "Action 2003", which was trying to break through the police line and approach the event site. Approximately 200-300 hooded individuals threw rocks at the US Embassy, where the march of the Greek Social Forum was supposed to end.
  • [19] PAPANDREOU: TODAY IS A DAY OF CELEBRATION Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou expressed Greece's great joy for the signing of the EU Accession Act by Cyprus in statements he made on the sidelines of the European Union Summit taking place in Athens for the accession of ten new members into the European Union. Mr. Papandreou pointed out that for decades Greece has worked hard to see this moment materialize and underlined the efforts made by Prime Ministers Andreas Papandreou and Kostas Simitis and former Foreign Ministers Pangalos, Papoulias

    and Charalambopoulos as well as Greek opposition parties.

    He said that this day is a day of celebration for Greeks and this momentum, sooner or later and hopefully sooner, will bring the solution of the Cyprus problem, pointing out that the Turkish Cypriots themselves want to be part of the great European struc ture.

    Speaking about the enlarged Europe, he stressed that the walls that existed for decades came down and in essence the EU enlargement means that all countries will adopt the basic principles of freedom and democracy, solidarity and human rights. He underli ned the significance it has for the European citizens to feel that they are part of the EU decision-making process.

    The Foreign Minister stated that the debate on the future of Europe has already begun and today a first essential discussion was made at state leaders' level with the participation of all 25 member states. He stated that a decision has not been reached b ut at least there is greater consensus than expected on the issue of the EU Foreign Minister.

    Asked to comment on the absence of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul from the Summit, he responded that Turkey will be represented by its ambassador. On the issue of Iraq, he said that views will be exchanged during certain contacts and in the discus sion on international issues.

  • [20] D' ESTAING - PRODI: UNANIMITY ON THE ISSUE OF THE EU FOREIGN MINISTER The need for the appointment of a Foreign Minister, who will take over from the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, has won the unanimous support of the EU members. The above were announced by the Future of E urope Conference President Valery Giscard D'Estaing in a press conference in Athens, characterizing this fact as very important. He said that Europe must have one interlocutor, stressing the US and Russia both have Foreign Ministers and the same should be

    done in the EU as well.

    Mr. D' Estaing referred to the proposal for the incorporation of the Fundamental Rights Charter into the future EU Constitution (the basic principle of equality) and to the proposal calling for the EU institutions to be limited to 5 from 12 today.

    Regarding the timetable for the discussion of the Constitutional Treaty Draft Plan, Mr. D' Estaing gave the assurance that it will be observed, in spite of the fact that time is limited, and it will be presented in the Thessaloniki Summit meeting on June


    European Commission President Romano Prodi characterized as excellent the climate and atmosphere in the Athens Summit and added that there is unanimity within the EU not only on the issue of the EU Foreign Minister but on the need to strengthen the Europ ean institutions, incorporate the Fundamental Rights Charter into the future Constitution of Europe and strengthen the state Parliaments.

    He admitted that there were different views on the role the "big" and "small" countries will have in the Constitutional Assembly as well as on the role of the European Commission. However, he stressed that the progress made is so notable that there is we ll-founded hope that the EU Constitution draft plan will be presented in Thessaloniki in June.

  • [21] GREEK PRIME MINISTER AND EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT SPEECH AT THE ACCESSION TREATY SIGNING CEREMONY "Today is a historic day: Because we are overcoming the division of European countries into two opposing camps, Eastern and Western Europe, a division caused by the Second World War Because almost all the countries of Europe are now participating in the European Union Because this unified whole is inspired by the principles and values which inspired the struggles of our societies for freedom, democracy and social justice Because today it is once again affirmed that cooperation and solidarity among us has created a political and economic area with an important role in developments in the global community, an area which attracts and inspires, an area that is respected and

    heeded. Today is a historic day. Because our achievement today creates new obligations for us: To see the present and the future with sincerity and creativity Not to settle for just managing our achievements to date, but to advance the process of unification. To give the configuration we have created a more complete form and new content To give the Union greater substance vis-a-vis external policy, security and defense, so that it can play the role befitting its potential and aspirations. So that we are not simply called on to handle the situation in the aftermath of war, but have a de cisive say about 'if' and 'when' To serve in the international community as a pole of peace, cooperation and support to peoples. To press ahead with this unprecedented experiment of a process which unifies but also endeavors to safeguard our particularities. Cooperation which binds us but also expands our freedoms. To further the experiment of many countries with different levels

    of economic growth and social development, which are however intertwined in a single area of freedom and democracy. This day creates new obligations: To ensure employment and prosperity for our citizens by combating unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. To adjust the European social model to the new social conditions, so that our progress ensures greater social cohesion and justice. To win the battle for sustainable development and put an end to the downgrading of the environment. To promote a society of knowledge with responsible, informed and competent citizens. A civil society. Here, in this place, the Agora of Athens, two and a half thousand years ago, people from different races and countries, people with different convictions, came into contact. They met one another with a feeling that they were in one of the centers of the c ivilized world. Here we can realize that there is no end to history. Life will continue after today. It is up to us whether this continuation will be a history of peace, creation, cooperation and solidarity. This is what we want from the European Union".

  • [22] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.40% at 1.622,54 points, while the volume of transactions was notable at 105.2 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, only 50 recorded gains and the overwhelming majority of 277 had losses, while the value of 48 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [23] THE EURO-ZONE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION INCREASED IN FEBRUARY Marginal increase of 0.2% at a monthly basis was recorded in the Euro-zone industrial production in February, overturning speculations made by analysts who predicted a drop of 0.4%.

    Compared to February 2002, industrial production in the Euro-zone increased considerably by 1.8%. In the EU of the "15", industrial production in February increased by 0.3% at a monthly basis and by 1.3% at an annual basis.

  • [24] THE RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITED MOUNT ATHOS Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov visited the Monastery of St. Panteleimon at the Monastic Community of Mount Athos in Chalkidiki, northern Greece.

    He arrived from Thessaloniki aboard a helicopter and was received by the monastery's Father Superior and monks, who are Russians. He was briefed on the monastery's operation and returned to Thessaloniki.

    He arrived in Athens by plane to attend the signing of the Accession Treaty by the ten new EU member states.

    Later in the afternoon, he will meet with the UN Security Council members (France, Britain, Spain, Germany), and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to discuss the "next day" in Iraq. Tomorrow, he will attend the European Conference on the EU relations with third countries.

  • [25] THE CYPRIOT PRESIDENT'S SPEECH IN THE ACCESSION TREATY SIGNING CEREMONY Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos speaking at the EU Accession Treaty signing ceremony in Athens expressed the great joy of the Cypriot people and stated that this is a historic hour.

    He expressed regret because the factitious walls of division do not allow the Turkish Cypriots to become part of the united Europe. He gave the assurance that he will make every effort to find a peaceful, operational and viable solution to the Cyprus pro blem that will reunite the divided people of Cyprus.

    Mr. Papadopoulos pointed out that with the EU enlargement a new chapter is being opened in history and the course of the renewed Europe.

    He also stated that Cyprus pledges to undertake and fulfil all obligations stemming from its accession into the European Union, adding that the Cyprus problem will not make Cyprus' presence in the EU problematic and will not stop the efforts for the solu tion of the Cyprus problem.

    The Cypriot President thanked the Greek EU Presidency, the EU member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament for their valuable assistance in the course of Cyprus toward the EU and for the opportunity offered to Cyprus to be where it belongs historically, geographically, politically and culturally.

  • [26] PROPOSAL ON POST-WAR IRAQ BY BRITAIN, GERMANY, FRANCE AND SPAIN A draft text with proposals on the role of the EU and the UN in post-war Iraq has been prepared by Germany, Britain, France and Spain, the EU members which are also members of the UN Security Council. According to information, the draft text will be pres ented to the rest EU members this afternoon.

    The draft text underlines the EU determination to have an active contribution in the stabilization process in Iraq.

    According to information, the four countries delivered the draft text to Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, who is also the President of the European Council, to present it this afternoon during the formal luncheon of the 25 EU leaders.

  • [27] PAT COX: THE TIME HAS COME TO LOOK AT THE STARS European Parliament President Pat Cox speaking in the Accession Treaty signing ceremony in Athens stated, while looking at the European flag, that it symbolizes the ideal of a developing Europe in time.

    The circle symbolizes perfection and incorporates the ideal of unity, he said, while the twelve stars symbolize the hours of the day and the 12 months of the year and remind of the progress that can be made in time. The circle is open and not closed and reminds us of what has been accomplished and what is left to be accomplished, said Mr. Cox.

    He also referred to what Vaclav Havel had said in Strasbourg in 1990 and reminded that he had said then that the 12 stars do not constitute a belief that Europe is a heaven on earth. It had been mentioned then that there can be no heaven on earth but the

    world can become a better place if we are brave enough to look at the stars.

    Earlier, the European Parliament President had pointed out that a week ago, when the voting in the European Parliament was taking place, and today there is a tangible feeling that Europe meets history.

  • [28] PRODI: EUROPE IS OUR HOME Today we have every reason to be proud of the achievements of Europe, stressed European Commission President Romano Prodi speaking in the Accession Treaty signing ceremony in Athens. He said that we should thank the people of the ten countries that becam e the new members of the EU for the quiet revolution they held for the past 12 years and added that today we embrace the 75 million new European citizens and welcome them home.

    The European Commission President stressed the need to strengthen the democratic institutions in the EU. Regarding the single currency, the Euro, he said that it is not used by every EU member yet, adding that there is still no close enough coordination

    of the economic policies of the EU countries in order to be able to combat unemployment and poverty.

    On the Lisbon Strategy, he said that there are still important steps to be made to fully mobilize the human and technological powers in our society.

    On the war in Iraq, he said that it showed us to what degree we have to work together if we want to influence the international scene, have our voice heard and defend our principles. He also pointed out the need to develop a common EU foreign policy and develop the collective security and defense means.

    He said that there is a need for a framework of friendly countries along the EU borders beginning from Morocco and moving along the coasts of the Mediterranean and eastward to Russia.

    He sent a message of solidarity and friendship to the African countries, stressing that the cooperation with the EU will continue to be a priority, while a similar message was sent to the countries of Latin America and Asia.

    Referring to "our friends and allies, the Americans", he said that "nobody in Europe can forget that we owe you our freedom". He said that now is the time to overcome the recent differences, adding that it is time for a new cooperation between Europe and

    the United States that will constitute the basis for a stable peace in the world.

    Mr. Prodi also stated that in a world of globalization the principles we have inherited from the EU founders which come from the age of the Enlightenment: freedom, democracy, state of law, justice, tolerance and peaceful settlement of conflicts, have a m eaning only if they are implemented by everybody. He concluded that Europe is our home and our ambition is the creation of a fair world.

  • [29] THE EUROPEAN LEADERS WELCOMED THE EU ENLARGEMENT With references to Greece, the birthplace of democracy and the civilization, the leaders of the 15 EU member states together with the leaders of the ten new EU members welcomed the signing of the Accession Treaty in Athens today. They also referred to th e common European future and gave the assurance that their countries will contribute to the common European vision.

    The enlargement will not lead the EU to a paralysis and will not limit the value of the EU, stated Belgium's Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

    Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla stated that today is a historic day for the European continent.

    Historically and culturally we always belonged to Europe, stressed Estonian President Arnold Ruutel.

    Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the new members, stressing that today materializes the vision of a Europe for which generations of people have fought.

    The certainty that the EU will be strengthened by the enlargement, was expressed by Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, while referring to Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey wished for a favorable conclusion to their EU accession negotiations.

    We believe in the future of Europe, stated President of Latvia Taria Halonen expressing her country's wish to become a member in the union of free and prosperous countries.

    Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas underlined the great significance of the signing of the accession treaty.

    Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker stated that today is a historic conjuncture for Europe and congratulated the peoples of eastern and central Europe.

    Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy stressed that democracy and solidarity are celebrated today.

    Prime Minister of Malta Eduard Fenech referred to the symbolism of the signing of the enlargement agreement in Greece.

    Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Belkenende characterized the enlargement as the most ambitious undertaking of the EU in its history.

    Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel pointed out that the common political will for coexistence in the future as partners with equal rights is sealed with the EU enlargement.

    Poland's President Alexander Kwasniewski referred to his country's contribution to the European heritage.

    Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Barroso used the words of Aristotle that we become fair when we do the right thing, adding that Europe's door is opened today for ten countries that want to fulfil with us the common European vision.

    Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek referred to the efforts of Europe to live peacefully.

    Under the Acropolis we are bound by marriage with the EU, stressed Slovakia's President Rudolf Schuster, who referred to his country's history and its Christian principles and values.

    Finland's President Tarja Halonen agreed that the festive atmosphere reminds of the atmosphere of a wedding.

    Prime Minister of Sweden Goran Persson spoke about a family sharing common values like, freedom, solidarity and equality.

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair stressed that at a time of disagreement the Accession Treaty is a fundamental agreement of unity.

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder pointed out that this is a unique opportunity for Europe to become the continent of peace and prosperity.

    Spanish Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar congratulated the Greek EU Presidency and all the new EU members saying that they bring along a huge hope for the future.

    French President Jacques Chirac pointed out the need for the reform of Europe, saying that the time has come for Europe to be reformed. He stressed that Europe will not move forward only through its enlargement but through its unification as well.

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi referred to the significance this day has, the vision of the founders of Europe and the dream of the reunification of the citizens of Europe who believe in the same values.


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