|Monday, 24 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-06-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 23, 2003
 EU nudges western Balkans on road towards accession
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)The European Union on Saturday issued a clear message to western Balkan countries that the road to European integration was wide open as long as criteria for accession, including the Copenhagen criteria, are dutifully met.
The message by European leadership came minutes after the conclusion of a EU-Western Balkans Summit, a day after an official European Summit concluded at the Porto Carras seaside resort (west of the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki).
The EU’s unequivocal commitment, bolstered by a promise for more development funds to the strife-plagued region, follows a decade that highlighted Europe’s weakness to deal with crises in its own ‘back yard’. The ‘back yard’ of the western Balkans, in this case, encompasses practically all of the former Yugoslavia, in addition to Albania.
In reference to one of those bitter Balkan conflicts of the ‘90s – Kosovo -- top EU diplomat Javier Solana revealed that “Belgrade and Pristina have clearly expressed their desire to enter into a dialogue, and that dialogue will begin before the end of July” – a direct reference to efforts at working out a lasting settlement for the UN-administered province between its ethnic Albanian majority and Serbia.
Greek Prime Minister and EU president-in-office Costas Simitis opened a press conference after the Summit conclusion by announcing that the Union would funnel another 200 million euros to the western Balkan region over the next three years on top of the five billion euros already earmarked until 2007.
He cited the Union’s desire to promote sustainable development in the region, one of Europe’s most impoverished, as well as to create economies able to attract investments and field robust private sectors.
Asked about Kosovo’s status vis-a-vis Serbia and Montenegro’s EU prospects, Simitis said they can “become (EU) members if there is proof that there is cooperation in the Balkans; that a process is underway; that the problem will be overcome.”
On his part, EU Commission President Romano Prodi stressed that whatever Kosovo’s future status, the province must be completely integrated into the Balkans, and the Balkans into the European Union.
Conversely, Prodi cautioned that each country would be judged individually on its progress in fulfilling the pre-set accession criteria, while a “regional dimension” should not be interpreted as meaning all of the Western Balkans will eventually accede to the EU simultaneously.
“Today has shown that this process is irreversible,” he emphasized.
Echoing that statement, Simitis noted that Kosovo must reach a level whereby “it will be able participate in all processes.”
Asked if a prior settlement of Kosovo’s status was a prerequisite for Serbia and Montenegro’s EU course, the Greek prime minister poignantly stressed, “if some want to clear immediately all issues without progress in cooperation, in essence they do not want cooperation.”
Earlier, Prodi assured the leaders of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia & Montenegro that “European integration will not be completed until the western Balkans join Europe …”
Finally, asked about certain high-profile cross-border problems northern Greece’s is experiencing – illegal immigration was cited – the Greek prime minister said these problems were due to instability in the western Balkans region and a “lack of legal order”, although he noted that problems were “lessening”.
 Joint Declaration of EU-W. Balkans summit
Athens 23/06/2003 (ANA)Below is the full text of the joint declaration issued in Thessaloniki on Saturday following the conclusion of the EU-Western Balkans summit:
We the Heads of State or Government of the member States of the European Union, the acceding and candidate states, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, as potential candidates, and the President of the European Commission, in the presence of the President of the European Parliament, the Secretary General of the Council/High Representative, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo, the Special Co-coordinator of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe and the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, meeting in Thessaloniki, agreed today on the following:
1. We all share the values of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human and minority rights, solidarity and a market economy, fully aware that they constitute the very foundations of the European Union. Respect of international law, inviolability of international borders, peaceful resolution of conflicts and regional co-operation are principles of the highest importance, to which we are all committed. We vigorously condemn extremism, terrorism and violence, be it ethnically, politically or criminally motivated. 10229/03 (Presse 163) 2 EN
2. The EU reiterates its unequivocal support to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries. The future of the Balkans is within the European Union. The ongoing enlargement and the signing of the Treaty of Athens in April 2003 inspire and encourage the countries of the Western Balkans to follow the same successful path. Preparation for integration into European structures and ultimate membership into the European Union, through adoption of European standards, is now the big challenge ahead. The Croatian application for EU membership is currently under examination by the Commission. The speed of movement ahead lies in the hands of the countries of the region.
The countries of the region fully share the objectives of economic and political union and look forward to joining a EU that is stronger in the pursuit of its essential objectives and more present in the world.
3. The endorsement yesterday by the European Council of «The Thessaloniki agenda for the Western Balkans: Moving towards European Integration» represents a new important step in the privileged relationship between the EU and the Western Balkans. Its content shall be considered as our shared agenda, and we all commit to its implementation. The countries of the region will focus their efforts on meeting the recommendations this agenda refers to.
4. We acknowledge that the Stabilization and Association process (SAP) will remain the framework for the European course of the Western Balkan countries, all the way to their future accession. The process and the prospects it offers serve as the anchor for reform in the Western Balkans, in the same way the accession process has done in Central and Eastern Europe. Progress of each country towards the EU will depend on its own merits in meeting the Copenhagen criteria and the conditions set for the SAP and confirmed in the final declaration of the November 2000 Zagreb summit. The Western Balkan countries highly value the annual review mechanism of the SAP, based on the Commission’s reports, and commit themselves to implement its recommendations. 10229/03 (Presse 163) 3 EN
The Western Balkan countries welcome the decisions by the EU to strengthen its Stabilization and Association policy towards the region and to enrich it with elements from the experience of enlargement. They welcome in particular the launching of the European Partnerships, as well as the decisions for enhanced co-operation in the areas of political dialogue and the Common Foreign and Security Policy, parliamentary co-operation, support for institution building, opening of Community programmes. They take note of the ongoing discussions for an increase in the budgeted Community financial support to the region through the CARDS programme.
5. We support the full implementation of Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council on Kosovo and the ?standards before status? policy of UNMIK; we remain committed to the Dayton/Paris Agreements and we encourage full implementation of the Ohrid and Belgrade agreements. The EU and the SAP countries fully support the International Criminal Court, recalling relevant EU decisions. The Western Balkan countries pledge full and unequivocal co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Its work, on all open issues, including the transfer to The Hague of all remaining indictees, should be allowed to progress without delays. Providing justice for war crimes is a legal, political and moral imperative to which we are all committed.
Sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons is critical for ethnic reconciliation and an index of democratic maturity; it remains high on our priority agenda.
We stress the role of education, culture and youth in promoting tolerance, ensuring ethnic and religious coexistence and shaping modern democratic societies.
Fragmentation and divisions along ethnic lines are incompatible with the European perspective, which should act as a catalyst for addressing problems in the region.
The recent launching of the EU police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the operation "Concordia" in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are tangible proofs of the EU’s commitment to the region. 10229/03 (Presse 163) 4 EN while the EU is strengthening its commitment in Southeast Europe, notably in police and security operations, continued engagement of other international actors is necessary. We all highly value the close co-operation between the EU and the US and NATO in the region, within the framework of UN Resolutions, as well as the role of other international organizations and financial institutions operating in the area. We encourage close co- ordination of their activities.
6. Organized crime and corruption is a real obstacle to democratic stability, the rule of law, economic development and development of civil society in the region and is a source of grave concern to the EU. Combating it constitutes a major priority. The SAP countries commit themselves to define and implement the measures foreseen in the follow up process to the London conference of November 2002 and described in the Thessaloniki Agenda. Particular attention will be given in combating trafficking in human beings. The countries of the region also commit to concrete measures, in accordance with the Thessaloniki Agenda and the documents of the Ohrid May 2003 conference, respectively, in order to cope effectively with illegal immigration and improving border security and management, aiming at achieving European standards.
7. We acknowledge the importance the peoples of the Western Balkans attach to the perspective of liberalization of the EU’s visa regime towards them. We recognize that progress is dependent on implementing major reforms in areas such as the strengthening of the rule of law, combating organized crime, corruption and illegal migration, and strengthening administrative capacity in border control and security of documents. The Western Balkan countries welcome the intention of the Commission to hold discussions, within the framework of the Stabilization and Association Process, with each of them, regarding the requirements for how to take these issues forward in concrete terms.
8. Economic prosperity is essential to long term stability and democracy in the region. Persistent efforts and structural reforms are required to establish functioning market economies and to achieve sustainable development and to ensure employment. 10229/03 (Presse 163) 5 EN.
We recognize the importance of developing modern networks and infrastructures in energy, transport and telecommunications in the region, consistent with the Trans-European Networks. We encourage further mobilization of international support in these areas, notably through the European Investment Bank and other International Financial Institutions, and private investment.
The SAP countries welcome the decisions by the EU to consider further measures for enhancing its trade with them, to extend the Internal Energy Market to the region as a whole and to establish a regular economic dialogue with each country of the region.
Considering that small and medium-sized enterprises are a key source of jobs, innovation and wealth and are essential for the functioning of competitive market economies, the SAP countries hereby commit to the policy principles enshrined in the European Charter for Small Enterprises, as well as to participate in its implementation.
9. We reiterate that rapprochement with the EU will go hand in hand with the development of regional co-operation. The countries of the Western Balkans and, where applicable, other regional participant countries, commit to promote concrete objectives and initiatives, along the lines prescribed by the Thessaloniki Agenda, in the areas of regional free trade, visa-free movement within the region, collection of small arms, creation of regional markets for electricity and gas, development of transport, energy and telecommunication infrastructures, environment and water management, research technology and development, cross-border co- operation and parliamentary co-operation.
We reconfirm our support to the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe in its complementary role to the Stabilization and Association Process and in implementing its agreed core objectives. We invite it to focus in particular on the tasks suggested in the Thessaloniki Agenda. We support regional co-operation initiatives such as the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, and the Central European Initiative.
We encourage further co-operation between the European Commission, the Stability Pact and the SEECP, which is gradually becoming the voice of the region. 10229/03 (Presse 163) 6 EN.
10. Since our Zagreb meeting in November 2000, considerable progress was made towards stability, democracy and economic recovery in all countries of the Western Balkans, as well as in regional co-operation and good neighborly relations between them, to the benefit of their peoples and of Europe as a whole. All the countries of the region have also made good progress in advancing towards the EU. A comparison with three years ago reveals the road that has been covered. At the same time, the Western Balkan countries, aware that there is much and hard work ahead, commit themselves to intensify the pace of reforms. The European Union pledges full support to their endeavors.
We have agreed to meet periodically at our level, within the framework of a EU-Western Balkan forum, in order to discuss issues of common concern, to review progress of the countries of the region in their road to Europe, and to exchange views on major developments in the EU. Annual meetings of foreign ministers and ministers responsible for Justice and Home Affairs will be held as appropriate. Acceding and candidate countries will be fully involved. We welcome the intention of the incoming EU Italian Presidency to organize the first meetings of this kind, by the end of the year. Other ministers can also meet when appropriate
 EU summit conclusions
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)European Union leaders who ended a summit meeting Friday in Halkidiki, northern Greece, welcomed the draft Constitutional Treaty submitted by the Convention for the Future of Europe as a ''historic step'' in furthering the objectives of European integration, and called it a ''good basis'' for starting the Intergovernmental Conference.
In a text of Conclusions of the summit, the EU leaders called on the Italian EU presidency, which takes over from Greece on July 1, to initiative the procedures that will allow the IGC to be convened in October, aiming at agreement on the finalized text of the Constitutional Treaty by the IGC ''as soon as possible and in time for it to become known to the European citizens before the June 2004 elections for the European Parliament''.
In the summit Conclusions, the EU leaders welcomed the draft Constitutional Treaty as marking a ''historic step in the direction of furthering the objectives of European integration'', which were listed as bringing the Union closer to its citizens, strengthening the Union's democratic character, facilitating its capacity to make decisions, especially after its enlargement, enhancing the Union's ability to act as a coherent and unified force in the international system, and enhancing its ability to effectively deal with the challenges created by globalization and interdependence.
On IGC procedural matters, the Conclusions stipulate that the IGC will be conducted by the heads of state or government of the EU member states, assisted by the , while a representative of the European Commission would also participate, the European Parliament ''will be closely associated and involved'', and the three candidate countries -- Bulgaria and Romania, with whom accession negotiations are underway, and Turkey -- will take part in all meetings as observers.
On the development of a common European policy on asylum and migration, and ''given the top political priority ascribed to migration'', the leaders said ''there is a marked need for a more structured EU policy which will cover the whole spectrum of relations with third countries, including the prompt conclusion of readmission agreements with key third countries of origin as well as the promotion of further cooperation with them to be viewed as a two-way process in order to combat illegal migration and to explore legal migration channels under specific terms of reference''.
Given the need for development of a common policy on illegal immigration, external borders, the return of illegal migrants and cooperation with third countries, the European Council ''deems it necessary that, following the feasibility study by the Commission on the Visa Information System (VIS), orientations should be determined as soon as possible, in order to satisfy the preferred options, with regard to the planning for the development of the system, the appropriate legal basis which will permit its establishment and the engagement of the necessary financial means, while respecting the financial perspectives''.
On the management of external borders, and taking into consideration ''the common interest of all EU member states in establishing more effective management of the external borders of EU member states and noting the results achieved from the implementation of the various operational programmes, pilot projects, risk analyses, training of border personnel, etc...the European Council stresses the importance of assuring the continuity and coherence of Community action in this field by setting out priorities and determining a more structured framework and methods'' and emphasises ''the need for acceleration of works on adopting the appropriate legal instrument formally establishing the Immigration Liaison Officers (ILOs) network in third countries, at the earliest possible date and before the end of 2003''.
The Conclusions text stipulated that while the implementation of a common policy on return of illegally resident persons is the responsibility of each individual member state, ''greater efficiency can be achieved by reinforcing existing cooperation and setting up mechanisms to this end, including a financial component''.
In the context of integrating migration issues in the EU's relations with third countries, the European Council reaffirms that ''the EU dialogue with third countries in the field of migration should be part of an overall integrated, comprehensive and balanced approach, which would be differentiated, taking account of the existing situation in the different regions and in each individual partner country''.
Reiterating the determination for the establishment of a Common European Asylum System, the Conclusions stated that it was ''vital that the Council ensures the adoption, before the end of 2003, of the outstanding basic legislation, that is, the proposal for a Council Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals and stateless persons as refugges or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the proposal for a Council Directive on minimum standards on procedures in member states for granting and withdrawing refugee status''.
On enlargement, the Conclusions stipulated that following the signature of the Accession Treaty in Athens on April 16 2003 by the 10 Acceding states, the process of referendums in the Acceding states needed to be completed in time for those 10 countries to join the Union on May 1, 2004.
In this context, the Conclusions said that Bulgaria and Romania ''are part of the same inclusive and irreversible enlargement process'' and the ''objective is to welcome Bulgaria and Romania as members in 2007''.
The European Council further welcomed the ''commitment of the Turkish government to carry forward the reform process, in particular the remaining legislative work by the end of 2003, and supports its ongoing efforts made in order to fulfill the Copenhagen political criteria for opening accession negotiations with the Union'', adding that ''taking into account progress achieved, significant further efforts to this end are still required''.
On Cyprus, the Conclusions stipulated that ''Cyprus' accession to our Union is already creating favorable conditions for the two communities to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem'' and, to this end, the EU ''strongly supports the continuance of the UN Secretary General's mission of good offices in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, including 1475/2003''.
The text of Conclusions said that the ''recent easing of restrictions in the contacts and communication between Greek and Turkish Cypriots has demonstrated that the two communities can live together in a reunited island within the Union'', but explained, however that the EU ''does not consider this as a substitute for a comprehensive settlement'', and ''therefore urges all parties concerned, and in particular Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, to strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts and, in this context, calls for an early resumption of the talks on the basis of his proposals''.
To this end, it continued, the EU ''is to further contribute towards a just, viable and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem consistent with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions'' and ''recalls its willingness to accommodate the terms of a settlement in line with the principles on which the EU is founded''.
On the Western Balkans, the EU leaders reiterated their ''determination to fully and effectively support the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, which will become an integral part of the EU once they meet the established criteria''.
On weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the European Council ''endorses the attached declaration (Annex II) on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction adopted by the GAERC on June 6, 2003''.
On relations with the Arab world, ''the European Union is convinced that it must strengthen its partnership with the Arab world'' and, to this end, ''it intends to promote a closer political dialogue, pluralism and democratic reform, economic and social development'', adding that ''the dialogue between cultures, religions and civilizations should be stepped up''.
On relations with the US, the European Council ''reviewed the state of the EU-US relationship and expressed its conviction that the development of the transatlantic relations on an equal footing remains of fundamental importance in every domain not only for the two sides but also for the international community'', and ''looks forward'' to the June 25 EU-US summit in Washington ''to set priorities in their relations, aiming at intensified cooperation to achieve concrete results, building on progress already achieved in many fields and developing new areas of cooperation''.
''Furthermore, the EU is determined to develop transatlantic dialogue at all levels between the institutions of the societies of the two sides and to continue discussions with the US on proposals for strengthening relations, including ideas that could emerge from the elaboration of the European security strategy''.
On the Middle East, the EU leaders said ''there is a historic opportunity for peace in the Middle East'', and ''the European Council welcomes the decision of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to accept the Roadmap developed by the Quartet, with the full participation of the EU'', while also welcomes ''the results achieved at the Aqaba summit, the personal engagement of President Bush, the commitments undertaken by prime ministers Sharon and Abu Mazen and the commitment to peace shown by Arab leaders in Sharm-el-Sheikh''.
''The European Council is determined that this opportunity for peace should not be missed. It remains deeply concerned by the continuing violence on the ground that has reached new levels,'' the EU leaders said, warning that ''this must not be permitted to endanger the implementation of the Roadmap''.
''There remains no alternative to the speedy implementation, in good faith by the two sides, of the Quartet roadmap which contains clear timelines for the establishment of a Palestinian
State by 2005, living side by side with Israel together in peace and security'', the leaders said, adding that peace in the Middle East ''will not be comprehensive if it does not include Syria and Lebanon as well'' and ''will never be attained if it is not supported by the people''.
On Iraq, the European Council said that the fall of the government of Saddam Hussein ''has paved the way for the people of Iraq to enjoy a peaceful, secure and prosperous future'', and welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1483 ''which demonstrates a new spirit of cooperation within the international community'' which ''provides the basis for effective international support for the initial stages of Iraq's political transition while ensuring adequate revenues for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction'', while it added that it ''looks forward to an important UN contribution to the process leading to the formation, as soon as possible, of a representative Iraqi government, in which the UN can use its unique capacity and experience in post-conflict nation building''.
On Iran's nuclear program, the European Council ''reiterates its full support for the IAEA in its efforts to conduct a comprehensive examination of Iran's nuclear programme, in particular as regards the closing of the nuclear fuel cycle, especially the uranium centrifuge announced by President Khatami'', expects Iran ''to make good its commitment'' to full transparency, and ''calls on Iran to be fully cooperative vis-a-vis the IAEA in all its nuclear activities and urgently and unconditionally to sign, ratify and implement an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement'', which would be a ''significant step towards creating the much-needed confidence''.
The EU leaders further said they remained ''seriously concerned at North Korea's nuclear programmed and its failure to comply with its IAEA safeguards agreement'', warning that his undermined the non-proliferation regime. They called on N. Korea to ''visibly, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programmed''.
The Conclusions also said that the EU is ''closely monitoring the situation of the Timorese refugees who are still on Indonesian territory close to the border with East Timor'' and pledged to cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ''in supporting the Indonesian authorities in the urgent implementation of rehousing programs for refugees who do not intend to settle permanently in East Timor'', at the same time reaffirming support for ''consolidation of the democratic transition in East Timor''.
The European Council further expressed its ''continued grave concern'' over developments in Burma and urged the Burmese authorities to immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and to reopen NLD offices
On Cuba, the European Council ''remains deeply concerned about the violation of fundamental freedoms'' and ''deplores and rejects the totally unacceptable behavior of the Cuban authorities vis-a-vis the EU, its member states and the acceding states''.
On Central Africa, the European Council ''considers it necessary for the Union and its members to provide committed political and diplomatic support for the peace mission in the DRC (Ituri) in order not to jeopardize the setting up of a transitional government provided for by the Pretoria agreements''.
 Chirac: Reconciliation process the most beautiful human adventure
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)''The reconciliation process is the most beautiful human adventure,'' French president Jacques Chirac said in Thessaloniki on Saturday, adding that the efforts for democratization, conciliation and regional cooperation ''will have broad response''.
Speaking to reporters after an EU-Western Balkans summit held a day after the conclusion of the European Union summit effectively marking the end of Greece's EU presidency, Chirac noted that at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb three years ago, under the French EU presidency, Europe had made an overture to the Balkans and sent ''a clear message'' that ''the European Union wants to export peace, to incorporate all of Europe, and not to import the disputes''.
In that direction, he continued, the EU formulated the ''tool'' for accomplishing that goal by setting up the stabilization and association process.
Although there had been delays, such as in the confrontation of organized crime, the EU had, nevertheless ''passed on to a new level'' in Thessaloniki, which entailed new obligations for both sides, Chirac said, citing the need for ''respect'' of the European position vis-a-vis the International Criminal Court (international tribunal) 00 on which the positions of some Balkan countries diverge) and cooperation with the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Noting that the process of reconciliation was the most beautiful human adventure, Chirac stressed that the acceding member states knew very well that the EU "keeps its promises".
"The future of the Western Balkans is inside the EU," Chirac stressed, adding that it was up to each individual country to "turn this prospect into reality".
 'We have acquired new homeland', President Stephanopoulos says
Athens 23/06/2003 (ANA)Greece's president Costis Stephanopoulos on Saturday said that the European people had acquired a ''new homeland'' that was a spiritual, cultural and moral homeland, one of principles and beliefs, speaking on the conclusion of the European Union summit in Halkidiki and the adoption of a draft Constitution for Europe.
''Yesterday we acquired a new homeland. Neither did we lose our national homeland, nor was it downgraded. Rather, for the first time, a text was officially presented on which there will be further discussion. It is a text of principles and foundations that creates a homeland somewhat different from the national homelands, because it does not comprise an administrative federation or a different national area, '' he said, adding that ''this new homeland is a more of a spiritual, cultural and moral homeland, a homeland of principles and beliefs.''
Stephanopoulos referred to the preface of the draft European Constitutional Treaty that contained a phrase from Thucydides' "Epitaph of Pericles" on the democratic form of government of the city-state Athens: "Our Constitution ... is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number.
He noted the aptness of this inclusion, stressing that "the European democracy is expressed more clearly, more genuinely and more fully in the essence of the Hellenic form of democracy".
"And it is not only the essence of democracy, but it is also the essence of the social democracy that exists in Europe more than anywhere else in the world," Stephanopoulos said.
He further expressed the view that "social policy at this time is at an ebb and decline due to the economic crisis".
Turning to Turkey as a candidate EU member, the President stressed that Greece had never been a war-loving country, but "it is determined to safeguard all its rights".
"Solutions must finally be found, and we have no intention of constantly spending huge sums for those differences. All the members who wish to be called candidates are obliged to conform with the principles of Europe and the just state," Stephanopoulos said.
 Summit heralds 'full militarization of EU', KKE leader Papariga charges
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga warned on Saturday that the EU summit in Halkidiki heralded the ''full militarization of the European Union, the acceptance of violence worldwide as a means for resolving differences, as a means to impose the imperialist world order against those countries that do not conform to the doctrine of the US and the EU''.
Speaking at a press conference in the northern Greek capital a day after EU leaders concluded an important summit meeting during which a draft constitution for the enlarged 25-nation bloc was given the 'thumbs-up', the KKE leader claimed that Greece's prime minister and current chairman of the EU Costas Simitis had ''managed one of the worst phases of the EU'', adding that ''Mr. Simitis is a good manager, and good for him, but we do not award kudos to managers''.
She charged that the Greek EU presidency had commenced six months ago with ''anti-social measures'' and was now ending with ''military measures and measures of violence''.
Papariga further said there was a need for a broader front to be created that would line up against the EU policies in their entirety, aiming at achieving a ''Europe of the peoples''.
 Cyprus, Serbia and Montenegro satisfied with EU summit results
NICOSIA 23/06/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Sunday expressed satisfaction with the results of the European Union summit held in Porto Carras, Halkidiki on Friday and Saturday, noting that it had yielded a "positive and strong" paragraph on the Cyprus issue in the summit conclusions.
Returning to Nicosia from northern Greece at midday, the Cyprus president stressed that Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot community were now called to strenuously support the efforts for a solution by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and to soon resume talks on the basis of his proposals.
The text also confirmed that the EU intended to further contribute to achieving a just, viable and functional settlement of the Cyprus issue based on the decisions of the UN Security Council and was willing to contribute to a speedy solution in the framework of Europe's 'acquis communautaire' - the body of EU rules, regulations and accepted practice, he said.
Finally, Papadopoulos noted that the reservations of the Greek side with respect to the Annan plan had been submitted both verbally and in writing and had been judged reasonable.
According to a dispatch from the ANA correspondent in Belgrade on Saturday, meanwhile, the leadership of Serbia and Montenegro were pleased with the results of the EU-Western Balkans summit held in Porto Carras earlier that day.
Federal president Svetozar Marovic described the summit as a success and said it encouraged Serbia and Montenegro to continue reform toward full convergence.
Serb Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic also hailed the summit results, noting that Europe was not restricting the entry of Balkan nations but leaving the door open for every country, depending on the progress it made in certain areas, to ask to join the European family.
According to Serb media, the Halkidiki summit brought the Balkans as close to Europe as they have ever been, a development that they largely attributed to Greece holding the rotating EU presidency.
 European Parliament and EU national parliaments issue 'Athens 2003 Declaration'
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)In a ''Declaration of Athens 2003'' released on Saturday, the members of the national parliaments of the new member states, of the candidate countries, of the EU member states and of the European Parliament, who met in Athens June 20-21, said they ''look forward to the enlargement of the European Union, believing that the commitment of new member states and candidate countries to renewable energy will enhance the development of progressive policies in he energy sector throughout Europe.''
The declaration added that ''we recognize the strategic importance of the integration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) into all sectors of economic and social activity, at both supply and demand side.''
It said the European Union was committed to double the contribution of renewable to primary energy demand, reaching 12 per cent by 2010.
The declaration added that ''effective promotion policies for RES should continue, in accordance with the EU Directive for the electricity generation from RES technology options. We remind National Parliaments that the RES electricity Directive has to be transposed into the National legislation before October 2003 and call for rapid implementation and national strategies with binding targets.''
Concluding, the declaration called, ''above all, for a clear political and social commitment by the EU regarding the implementation of RES, by a clear statement in the forthcoming European Constitution, which should emphasize the importance of renewables and declare the will of the European peoples to achieve the highest possible use of renewables.''
 Turkish PM thanks Greek gov't in interview with 'To Vima'
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his thanks to the Greek government, his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis and Greek Foreign Minister Andreas Papandreou for the ''balanced and constructive way in which the Greek European Union presidency dealt with Turkey's efforts to stabilize EU-Turkey relations,'' in an interview published on Sunday with the Greek newspaper ''To Vima''.
He said he could see no reason why Greece would wish to undermine Turkey's relations with the EU since this would serve neither Greek nor Turkish interests.
''Our aim is to resolve all outstanding [Greek-Turkish] bilateral issues, including those related to the Aegean, using dialogue and bilateral cooperation,'' he said at another point.
The Turkish premier also sent out a message to Greeks that by ''overcoming conflicts and friction in our relations we will be led to a higher level of friendship, peace and love as members of the EU also''.
According to Erdogan, his government was determined to complete the legal reforms required by the EU within the year and focus its efforts on their implementation so that the European Summit next December would give the green light for the start of accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey.
He called on European countries to begin preparing public opinion at home for this event.
Regarding those who opposed accession in Turkey, Erdogan said these were only a small minority: ''what matters is the acceptance of the majority mandate, while opposition parties within and outside Parliament must support the reforms that will lead us to EU accession,'' he stressed.
 Erdogan visits home where Kemal Ataturk was born
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in statements in Thessaloniki on Saturday on the sidelines of his visit to the home where statesman and founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk was born, and which now houses the Turkish Consulate, claimed that Turkish warplanes do not violate Greek airspace in the Aegean. Despite this he did not exclude the possibility of violations being made during military exercises.
Erdogan claimed that Turkish warplanes do not disturb civil aviation planes, a reference to a recent incident with a Turkish F16 and Olympic Airways plane. He added that the head of his country's armed forces had briefed him that Turkish war planes fly without carrying weapons ''in contrast with the Greek planes which fly armed.''
The Turkish prime minister congratulated the Greek government for what he termed the successful Greek EU Presidency. On his brief meeting with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis at ''Porto Carras'', Erdogan said they did not discuss bilateral issues, but matters concerning Turkey's candidacy for EU accession.
 Police detain 100, arrest 29 during 'Counter Summit' violence
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)Police in Thessaloniki detained 100 protestors and placed 29 under arrest following violent incidents during a protest march that formed part of the 'Counter summit' in Thessaloniki.
They said 21 of those arrested during Saturday's march were Greek nationals and eight were foreigners, while among them were one woman and three juveniles.
Among the foreigners arrested were two Austrians, two Spanish nationals, one Briton, one U.S. national, one Cypriot and one Syrian.
About 100 youths gathered outside the Thessaloniki courthouse where the arrested youths were taken on Sunday in a show of solidarity.
The incidents on Saturday were the work of some 500 self-styled anarchists, who held a separate demonstration on Egnatia Street as thousands of anti-globalization protestors marched peacefully in the centre of Thessaloniki, the port city in northern Greece near the venue of the EU summit at Porto Carras, Halkidiki.
The anarchists, brandishing wooden planks, crowbars and axes, broke windows, set fires, looted shops and threw fire-bombs at police, who in turn were using tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Early reports by Macedonia-Thrace ministry assessment teams spoke of damage to some 30 shops, including two bank branches, while two cars had been set on fire and another three seriously damaged.
Reports are pending on the damage to Thessaloniki's Theological School, where a small group of youths is continuing a take-over, while damage to the Philosophical School, where the last protestors have left, is limited to a few broken locks and part of the laboratories.
Commenting on Saturday's incidents, Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis said the vast majority of protestors taking part in the demonstrations had respected the city's hospitality, while only a handful had 'responded with barbaric methods... repeating incidents seen in many European cities that had marred the peaceful protests of thousands of citizens''.
The leader of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party Nikos Constantopoulos, however, accused police of not acting promptly to intercept the hooligans and, instead, of pushing them into the main body of the march and putting tens of thousands of peaceful protestors at risk.
''It is impossible for me to accept that the much-advertised police deployment was unable to deal with small, marginal groups whose actions we all condemn,'' he said.
The city centre also had to deal with an extensive power failure that occurred just after 21:30 on Saturday night due to problems at one of the Public Power Corporation's plants.
The power cut forced the protest group ''Action: Thessaloniki 2003'' to cancel a demonstration at Aristotelous Square scheduled for that time.
 FM Papandreou says 'Quartet' dedicated to promotion of 'Road Map'
AMMAN 23/06/2003 (ANA - F. Karaviti)''Today's meeting of the 'Quartet' in Jordan signals the decisiveness and will of the international community to pass a message that we are in front of a historical opportunity and that we are dedicated to the promotion of the 'Road Map''', Greek Foreign Minister and EU Council of Foreign Ministers President George Papandreou said here on Sunday following the meeting of the ''Quartet'' on the Middle East issue (U.S., Russia, United Nations, European Union) in the context of the special meeting of the World Economic Forum which is taking place on the outskirts of Amman.
Te Greek minister added that the ''Quartet'' will do everything possible in order to prevent any extremist action from undermining its effort.
Papandreou added that during the meeting which Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will have with U.S. President George W. in Washington on June 25, ''the joint determination of the international community will be confirmed and the intention and willingness will be strengthened for a solution to the problem. Many efforts in the past had failed. For this exact reason we have the 'Road Map''', he said.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Papandreou and EU High Representative for EU Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana held a joint press conference at which they reiterated their determination for the promotion of the ''Road Map''.
They welcomed the efforts being made by the Palestinian prime minister and the results of the Red Sea meeting and committed themselves to help both the Palestinians and the Israelis to implement the commitments they made.
The ''Quartet'', among other things, also welcomed the efforts of President Bush, while condemning terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens and demanded an immediate end to the violence.
The ''Quartet'' called on the Palestinian authorities to take all the necessary measures to prevent any attacks and said that ''it intends to support every effort by the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority for the reconstruction of the security services.''
At the same time, the ''Quartet'' expressed its concern over the acts of violence by the armed forces of Israel ''and called on the government of the country ''to respect international humanitarian laws and make every effort for the avoidance of the loss of life of non-combatants.''
Referring to the recent murder of a leading ''Hamas'' member, Powell expressed his sorrow for the continuing loss of human life and appealed for the cycle of violence to break.
On the same issue, Papandreou noted the recent decision of the EU summit in Thessaloniki for the disarmament of ''Hamas''.
 Annual EU-U.S. summit in Washington on Wednesday
WASHINGTON 23/06/2003 (ANA - E. Ellis)The leaders of the European Union and of the United States will meet at the White House on Wednesday for the annual EU-U.S. summit.
The strengthening of transatlantic cooperation, international issues such as the Middle East problem, Iraq, the confrontation of international terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, judicial cooperation and U.S.-EU trade and economic relations will be discussed at the summit, which is the third of its kind during the presidency of George W. Bush.
The European delegation will be headed by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Costas Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi. Also present will be EU High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy Javier Solana, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Greek Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, Deputy Press Minister Telemahos Hytiris and EU Commissioners Loyola de Palacio and Pascal Lamy.
The summit will begin with a meeting between Bush, Simitis and Prodi and followed by discussions of the two delegations which will conclude with a working luncheon.
The three leaders will give a joint press conference at the White House and later Simitis and Prodi will brief reporters at their hotels.
 Papantoniou in 'Kathimerini': Last NATO meeting a success for Greece
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)Greece had managed to hold its own and maintain a 'strong presence' at the last meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou was quoted as saying in an interview with the Greek daily ''Kathimerini'' published on Sunday.
The minister pointed to the much enlarged brief of NATO's Air Operations Centre, which now covered the entire Aegean region and the airspace above Turkey in both war and peace.
He also noted that the Tyrnavos NATO sub-headquarters was not being lost due to moves by the Alliance to trim down the number of such commands.
On the contrary, Greece was gaining a Naval Operations Centre and had become incorporated in NATO's new strategy, when the Alliance would no longer operate as a defense organization for dealing with territorial threats but a defense organization to combat new threats linked to international terrorism, Papantoniou stressed.
The minister said the new NATO Centre would coordinate all NATO intervention in the Mediterranean related to monitoring international terrorism, train personnel participating in ship inspections and patrols and draw up plans that would form the basis of operations throughout the Mediterranean region by NATO ships.
The new Naval Command Centre is expected to begin operating within the next 12 to 24 months and Greece is to contribute a significant portion of its staff, Papantoniou said.
Commenting on a spate of violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter planes, Papantoniou said this was a ''simple and naive tactic on the part of the Turkish establishment, which was now also backed by the political government in Ankara, to underline Turkish demands with regard to our sovereign rights in the airspace above the Aegean.''
He said the dangers from these tactics rose at this time, since there was increased likelihood of an accident occurring.
Part of the Turkish tactic is to infringe rules for the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) by failing to submit flight plans to Athens civil aviation authorities. On June 9, a Turkish F-16 set off crash avoidance alarms on a commercial passenger aircraft by flying within the 10-mile radius of the plane near the Greek island of Lesvos.
 Skandalidis: PASOK must regain credibility for the good of the country
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)Ruling PASOK had to regain its credibility for the good of the country, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said in a speech on Sunday before the party's prefectural council for the Dodecanese islands on Rhodes, where he also waxed lyrical in his praise of Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Greece was currently at the height of its glory and this was due to PASOK's credibility and Simitis personally, Skandalidis said.
Stressing that the prime minister's absence would ''seriously harm the country'' he said the party, which he said was at its nadir in terms of credibility, had to regain lost ground so that ''Greece can continue to be at the top''.
Praising the efforts made by the Greek presidency of the European Union, Skandalidis noted that some within PASOK appeared to be trying to send the prime minister into retirement and to lead the party to a so-called "strategic defeat".
Those considering such scenarios originated "from forces that believe PASOK can be dismantled," Skandalidis said and stressed that neither the party nor Simitis had "completed their historic cycle".
 Police seize foreign motorship carrying 680 tonnes of explosives
Athens, 23/06/2003 (ANA)Greek harbour police on Sunday located a Comores-flag small motorship carrying 680 tonnes of various types of explosives.
''The Baltic Sky'' was located west of the shores of Etoloakarnania, western Greece.
Aboard the motorship belonging to a foreign shipping company were seven foreign crew-members, while during the check made by the police, none of the crew could give a clear explanation about the cargo.
The ''Baltic Sky'' was led to ''Platogialo'' port in Etoloakarnania in order for the ship's documents to be checked. The check is expected to be concluded on Monday.
 Talks could be concluded by March next year, says President
LARNACA 26/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)President Tassos Papadopoulos believes that negotiations on the basis of a UN peace proposal could be concluded by March next year, to enable the European Union to adjust the Accession Treaty accordingly.
In statements Sunday on his return from Thessaloniki, where he participated in the EU summit, he described as ''totally unfounded'' the terms Turkey lays down for paying compen-sation to a Greek Cypriot in a case of human rights violation.
The president reiterated his readiness to begin talks as soon as the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan invites the two sides in Cyprus to resume negotiations. Talks broke down in March this year because the Turkish side refused to cooperate with the UN on the Annan plan for a comprehensive settlement.
Papadopoulos said the paragraph on Cyprus in the conclusions of the EU summit is ''very positive and very strong.''
He congratulated Greek Premier Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou on the excellent work Greece had done in promoting the issues of its six monthly presidency of the European Union, including the Cyprus question.
Replying to questions on a timeframe for the resumption and conclusion of negotiations, he said the Secretary General has pointed out that any attempt to resume peace talks would be
meaningless and condemned to failure unless there is a change in the positions of the Turkish side.
The president said his position on this matter has been made abundantly clear. ''Our reservations were outlined orally and in writing and they were considered to be within the parameters of the Annan plan and we want negotiations to bring about those changes that would render the plan viable and functional.''
''I repeat that we are ready to conclude discussions on the legal framework of the plan and negotiate the rest of the issues any time the Secretary General invites us to talks,'' he stressed.
He said that other aspects of the Cyprus question can be finalized
when the Turkish side abandons its intransigent position to set up two separate states on the island.
''All these issues have to be finalized in good time to allow the EU to adjust the Accession Treaty to the new state of affairs. This can be achieved by the beginning of March next year,'' he added.
Invited to comment on conditions Turkey has set out before it complies with a European Court of Human Rights judgment, the president stressed that the Court ruling is ''crystal clear and does not depend on terms laid down by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash or anybody else.''
He recalled that his initial reaction to Turkey's professed intention to pay Titina Loizidou some one million dollars for violating her human rights in Cyprus was that Ankara's statement was ''ambiguous.''
''The terms Turkey lays down for paying the damages are totally unfounded, outside the legal framework of the Court judgment,'' he said, adding that Ankara's compliance with the ruling cannot depend on what happens in other similar cases pending before the Court.
The Court found Turkey guilty of violating Loizidou's right to peaceful enjoyment of her property in occupied Cyprus and ordered Ankara to allow her access and pay damages for loss of use of that property since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the island.
Last week Turkey said it would pay without any terms attached, only to retract and admit within 24 hours that certain conditions have to be met before payment is made, such as property claims by Greek Cypriots should be settled in so-called courts in occupied Cyprus.
The president welcomed the reference to Cyprus in the summit conclusions which notes the Union's contribution to the peace effort and presses on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side the need to support strongly Annan's efforts to resume negotiations on the basis of his proposal.
The Council, the president said, expressed satisfaction to the Commission for its willingness to contribute to a political settlement in the framework of the acquis communautaire.
He said Greece was congratulated warmly by many EU leaders, both for the work it did during the presidency over the past six months as well as the summit, which he described as ''historic'' in that a proposal on a constitution for Europe was adopted.
 Bush: US remains committed to finding a Cyprus settlement
NICOSIA 23/06/2003 (CNA)US President George Bush expressed his government's commitment to finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, as stated in a letter accompanying his bimonthly report on Cyprus, sent Friday to Congress.
''The United States remains committed to finding a just and lasting settlement for Cyprus. Serious efforts continued during this reporting period to persuade the two sides on Cyprus to resume negotiations under the auspices of the UN Good Offices Mission for Cyprus on the basis of the UN SG Kofi Annan's proposed settlement plan'', Bush states in his letter.
The periodic progress report on efforts towards a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question, covers the period from April 1 through May 31.
US President also notes that ''as in the past, US officials Secretary of State Colin Powell, Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman, Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Weston, Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson, Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson and Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller, provided intensive diplomatic support to this process''.