|Tuesday, 10 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-12-17
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE DRAFT CONCLUSIONS OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCILBrussels, 17 December 2004 (17:19 UTC+2)
The Dutch EU Presidency presented to the EU member states the final text of paragraph 19 aimed at lifting the strong objections of the Turkish side concerning the signing of the protocol for Turkey's customs union with Cyprus.
The draft text of the Dutch EU Presidency approved by the European Council has as follows:
The EU welcomes Turkey's decision to sign the protocol of adaptation of the Ankara Agreement, taking account of the accession of the ten new EU member states, including Cyprus.
In this light, the EU welcomes the declaration by Turkey that "'the Turkish government confirms that it is ready to sign the protocol on the adaptation of the Ankara Agreement prior to the actual start of the accession negotiations and after reaching agreement on and finalising the adaptations which are necessary in view of the current membership of the Union."
 BULGARIA AND ROMANIA WILL SIGN THE EU ACCESSION TREATY IN APRIL 2005Brussels, 17 December 2004 (13:56 UTC+2)
Bulgaria and Romania will sign the EU accession treaty in April 2005 in order to become full EU members on January 1, 2007.
The above were reported by the Bulgarian state radio citing a draft resolution by the EU Summit that is being completed in Brussels today.
According to Sofia newspaper Standart, the signing will take place on April 25 or 26. The European Council will announce the exact date today.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 17 December 2004 (17:23 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.58% at 2704.99 points, while the volume of transactions was at 158,4 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 70 had gains and 218 had losses, while the value of 132 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE ACTING GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON EXPO 2008Athens, 17 December 2004 (17:03 UTC+2)
The selection of a host city for EXPO 2008 is a long and complex process that does not come to a conclusion within a few weeks. The Greek delegates do not vote and those participating in the voting do not always vote based on Greek criteria, stated acting government spokesman Vangelis Antonaros.
There are many parameters that play a decisive role in the selection of a host city for such an event, stated Mr. Antonaros, responding to questions on the rejection of Thessaloniki's bid to host EXPO 2008.
 CHARGES FILED AGAINST THE TWO ALBANIAN HIJACKERSAthens, 17 December 2004 (15:18 UTC+2)
The two 24yearold Albanians, who hijacked a bus in Athens on Wednesday and held hostages 23 passengers for over 19 hours, will be led before the examiner to testify on Monday, December 20.
The two have already appeared before an Athens prosecutor and apologized for their actions.
Both of them are charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors for hijacking a bus, murder attempt, assault, and illegal arms possession and use.
 THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE IN BRUSSELSBrussels, 17 December 2004 (20:25 UTC+2)
We did well. We have met all our goals, stated Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in a press conference he gave in Brussels this afternoon after the end of the European Council Summit meeting.
The first goal, stated the Prime Minister, was to help make our neighbourhood a European neighbourhood and the second, to meet all our sensitivities in the issue of the EU-Turkey relations.
Referring to the issue of Turkey, he said that the European Council decided the opening of accession negotiations on October 3, 2005 aiming at Turkey's full accession into the EU. However, he clarified that Turkey's EU accession cannot be regarded as certain, because it depends on Turkey's will and ability to meet its obligations during the long process of its adaptation to the European standards.
Mr. Karamanlis stated characteristically that Turkey, based on the text of conclusions, will not be able to become a full member of the EU before the year 2014.
The Prime Minister characterized as positive the development, which creates the preconditions for Turkey's westernization and the creation of good neighborly relations with Greece and Cyprus.
He expressed the wish that this way a path will open for Turkey itself to be able to consolidate the democratic structures, its international behavior, based on international rules of behavior, the principles and values of the EU, as well as, to acquire the development pace of a European country.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that the first goal for Greece was the creation of a European framework for Turkey's behavior toward it that will lead to a stable course of normalization for the Greek-Turkish relations. He said that this goal was met because Greece ensured Turkey's absolute and firm commitment on good neighborly relations with Greece.
The second goal, stated Mr. Karamanlis, was to have an effective mechanism of continuous supervision of Turkey's European course by ensuring that it meets the European criteria, terms and principles. This goal was met because every step of progress made by Turkey in its 10-year-long negotiations will be ratified by a unanimous decision of all EU member states.
The third goal was to have reliable safety valves and restrictions to the implementation of the free movement of persons.
The fourth goal was to ensure that Turkey respects human, religious and minority rights, among them, the reopening of the Theology School of Halki, the issue of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the living conditions of the Greeks living in Turkey including those living in the islands of Imvros and Tenedos.
The fifth goal stated Mr. Karamanlis was to link Turkey's adaptation to the European reality with a pledge to have progress in its relations with the Cypriot Republic. He said that this goal was also met because after hard and complex negotiations Turkey was committed to sign the Protocol to expand the customs union with the Cypriot Republic before the opening of its EU accession negotiations. It is the first time in the history of the EU that a statement-commitment of a third country is being included word-by-word in the European Council text, stressed Mr. Karamanlis.
 QADAFI:TURKEY IS THE TROJAN HORSE OF THE ISLAMISTS AND BIN LADEN IN THE EURome, 17 December 2004 (14:40 UTC+2)
Libyan leader Muammar Qadafi called Turkey a Trojan Horse filled with islamists and Bin Laden associates, stressing that its accession into the EU is dangerous.
Speaking in a talk show of the Italian television RAI to be broadcast tomorrow, he stated that the Muslim extremists, among them Bin Laden, are glad because Turkey will become an EU member, stressing that the country for them is a Trojan Horse.
Qadafi stated that he does not care whether Turkey will become an EU member or not but he simply wants to remind what will happen in case it enters the EU.
 TURKEY'S EU ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS WILL OPEN IN OCTOBER 2005Brussels, 17 December 2004 (13:40 UTC+2)
The negotiations for Turkey's EU accession will open on October 3, 2005, according to a decision reached in yesterday's formal dinner of the 25 EU leaders.
Details will be made known as soon as the consultations that are underway on the final text of conclusions are completed given the fact that Ankara appears displeased because it should proceed with the recognition of the Cypriot Republic and, also, because it was looking forward to the opening of the accession negotiations in the spring next year with a pledge that Turkey will become an EU member as soon as the negotiations are completed after at least 10 years.
The 25 EU leaders agreed that Turkey's EU accession negotiations will open without a guarantee for the outcome and will be launched on October 3, 2005, while Ankara is called to improve its relations with the EU member states.
Dutch Prime Minister and EU President Jan Peter Balkenende had a two-hour meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the dinner of the EU leaders yesterday.
Athens and Nicosia express satisfaction. The rumors that Mr. Erdogan will leave Brussels were not confirmed.