|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-05-10
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PAPANTONIOU IN FAVOR OF A SPEEDIER EU POLITICAL AND DEFENSE UNIFICATIONAthens, 10 May 2003 (16:35 UTC+2)
The need to accelerate the political and defense unification of Europe to be able to protect more effectively its values and principles, was stressed by Greek Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou. Mr. Papantoniou made the statement speaking in the seminar, on security for the people of the Mediterranean region, taking place in the Ionian Sea island of Corfu.
A European Union more united institutionally will deal less frequently with phenomena like those recorded in the past few months in relation to the issue of Iraq, stated Mr. Papantoniou.
He also referred to the initiatives undertaken by the Greek EU Presidency toward the development of a common approach on the issue of the European defense and the strengthening of the relation between the European defense and the European defense industry.
Mr. Papantoniou also expressed Greece's support to the prospect to extend the European Rapid Reaction Force actions to fields outside the peacekeeping missions and the incorporation of the mutual assistance clause, like in the case of NATO, if a member state is under attack.
He also referred to the Mediterranean dimension of the European defense and security policy, stressing that decision-making and the political management of Mediterranean security should not be exercised unilaterally without the direct and active contribution of the Mediterranean peoples. He added that Mediterranean cooperation should be strengthened and a creative political dialogue should be developed on the Euro-Mediterranean region security and Europe's international role.
 INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF COMMUNIST PARTIESAthens, 10 May 2003 (15:49 UTC+2)
The Greek Communist Party will be the host of the new International Meeting of Communist and Labor Parties on The Movements against war and globalization and the Communists that will take place in Athens on June 19-20.
A collective processing and evaluation of the goals and prospects of the struggles launched by movements around the world will take place in the meeting. Also, the delegates will discuss the decisive contribution of the Communist and Labor Parties and the experience from international cooperation. They will also promote new initiatives for the strengthening of the distinctive role of the communist movement.
 PAPANDREOU: VERY GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN GREECE AND FYROMAthens, 10 May 2003 (15:20 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou confirmed yesterday the very good relations between Greece and FYROM on the occasion of the visit to his office by FYROM's ambassador and former Foreign Minister Blagoi Hadjinski, the new head of FYROM's liaison office in Athens.
Mr. Papandreou also pointed out that Athens backs the efforts of FYROM to become part of the European structures and expressed satisfaction for the positive developments recorded on the Stability and Association Agreement and the course of the talks on FYROM's name within the framework of the UN.
On his part, Mr. Hadjinski expressed his country's gratitude for Greece's interest in the region of western Balkans and for the initiatives it has undertaken on FYROM's course toward the EU.
 SIMITIS-SPIDLA MET IN A FRIENDLY ATMOSPHEREPrague, 10 May 2003 (19:37 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis summarized the issues in which the seven new EU countries are interested, wrapping up his tour of the three Baltic and the four center-east European states.
Mr. Simitis stated from Prague that the basic issues with which those countries are concerned are the EU common foreign and defense policy, Europe's new Constitution and the improvement of the quality of life of their citizens.
In statements Mr. Simitis made after the meeting he had with his Czech counterpart Vladimir Spidla, congratulated the Czech people for the accession of their country into the EU. He stated that he discussed with Mr. Spidla issues that will be raised in the European Council meeting in Thessaloniki, the new Constitution of Europe, illegal immigration and international policy issues. He underlined that the goals of the Thessaloniki Council will be the preparation of the Inter-governmental Conference, the finalizing of the decisions on the common policy on immigration and Europe's positions on the common policy on security and defense.
Mr. Spidla characterized his meeting with Mr. Simitis as friendly and expressed appreciation for the contribution of the Greek EU Presidency and its moves during the crisis over Iraq. Responding to the question if there were differences between the positions of the Czech Republic and the Greek EU Presidency on the future reforms in the EU, he said that he discussed basic issues with Mr. Simitis and not details concerning the reforms.
 SIMITIS MET WITH THE SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER YESTERDAYBratislava, 10 May 2003 (18:45 UTC+2)
The need for the participation of more European countries in the EU to make it stronger, was pointed out by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis in Bratislava yesterday.
In statements he made after the meeting he had in Slovakia with the country's Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, Mr. Simitis stressed that Greece's experience from the EU accession is very positive, pointing out that many basic changes were made that created a much better environment for the people.
He mentioned that Greece managed to have a safe economic environment, stability and a growth rate among the highest in the EU, while its international relations with the rest European countries were improved.
Commenting on the threat of SARS, Mr. Simitis said that every country in the EU is afraid that the virus will reach Europe eventually, stressing that there is a need for a coordinated effort and this was discussed by the Council of Ministers which came to specific decisions.
The more countries in the EU the stronger it becomes, stated Mr. Simitis. He said that the goal is to have a stronger Europe and added that everybody in Slovakia should vote in the referendum to secure a strong, effective and operational EU for all European citizens.
On his part, the Slovak Prime Minister stated that he was briefed by Mr. Simitis on the issues that will be discussed in the Thessaloniki Summit meeting the most important of which will be the Constitutional Assembly and the Future of Europe.
He also stressed that in his meeting with Mr. Simitis they discussed the reform of the European institutions and the issue of the election of the President of the European Commission and its composition. Also, they discussed the common European policy for the protection of borders, the transatlantic cooperation and a number of theoretical issues such as, the common policy on defense and security and the armaments production policy.
Mr. Dzurinda said that he was briefed by Mr. Simitis on the likely dates of the Inter-governmental Conference and expressed the view that in any case it will have to take place before the Euro-elections.
 SIMITIS' RESPONSE TO ERDOGANPrague, 10 May 2003 (16:05 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis responded to the statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said during his visit to the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus, that the Cyprus problem can be resolved with dialogue between the two communities on the island outside the UN framework.
Mr. Simitis stressed from Prague that the Cyprus problem is a problem of occupation and that's why the United Nations imposed an embargo on Turkey and presented plans for the solution of the problem in Cyprus.
In a joint press conference with the Czech Prime Minister, Mr. Simitis stated characteristically, expressing Greece's position and the position of the Greek EU Presidency, that the problem should be resolved based on International Law and within the framework of the UN at the initiative of the UN Secretary General. He called on Turkey to accept the Annan Plan as the basis for negotiations between the interested parties for a decision to be reached by the two communities on the island based on the Annan Plan and under the UN auspices.
 SIMITIS: GREAT RESPECT FOR GREECE EXPRESSED BY THE NEW EU MEMBERSPrague, 10 May 2003 (15:00 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis in statements he made in Prague referred to the outcome of the talks he had with the political leaderships of 7 new EU members (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic). Mr.Simitis visited the countries mentioned in the period of May 6-10 within the framework of the scheduled tour of European capital cities in view of the European Council meeting in Thessaloniki in June.
In statements he made, Mr. Simitis said that all the countries he visited expressed great respect for Greece because Greece, in spite of being a small country, managed to be distinguished in the EU and they are looking forward to its experience and assistance. He also said that all the countries he has visited shared the belief that their accession into the EU will lead to a greater future for them.
Mr. Simitis stated that there are problems as well. He said that the new form of the EU, as it will be defined after the Thessaloniki Summit meeting, is under discussion. He added that the countries he has visited believe that the Europe of the "25" should be more effective and therefore, the existing regulations are not enough. However, he said that he is concerned over the likelihood that the institutional changes will be to their disadvantage while, more importantly, the memory of the Soviet past is still very strong. That is why, those countries are so concerned with issues of security, foreign policy, and defense, said Mr. Simitis.
Mr. Simitis also stated that those countries want to be certain that they will not relive past experiences.