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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-11

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek FM Bakoyannis says message given to W. Balkans for European prospects
  • [02] PM Karamanlis discusses Constitution revision

  • [01] Greek FM Bakoyannis says message given to W. Balkans for European prospects

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Saturday appeared satisfied with the content of the final communique for the European prospects of the Western Balkans, which was issued at the informal meeting of the European Union's Foreign Ministers Council in Salzburg, Austria. "The communique sends a clear message to all the Western Balkans for their European prospects, a stable position of Greek foreign policy, despite any rervations that may exist," said Bakoyannis.

    The Greek foreign minister added:"The Council of Ministers sent a message of prospects to the peoples of the Western Balkans, which is particularly important. This was the first time, at the initiative of the Austrian (EU) presidency, that the foreign ministers of the region also came and expressed their views and concerns. The essence of the matter, which was also recorded by the communique, is that the course from the European Council of Thessaloniki until the Council of Ministers in Salzburg, was successful. On the principles of Thessaloniki, the European Union continues the effort for the support of democratisation, of stable and good neighbourly relations, of the prospects of the Balkans in a large European family."

    Bakoyannis further said that the Balkan countries ask of Athens to support their European prospects in the framework of the European Union, as some partners express reservations. "Greece on this issue is extremely clear in its positions. For stability in the broader region of Europe, the Balkans must not be confronted as a further obligatory tool for enlargement, but as a prospect which will be to the benefit of Europe itself," she noted, and stood in support of the facilitation of contact between the peoples of the Balkans and the rest of Europe.

    Referring to the issue of Kosovo, Bakoyannis said it was a sensitive moment for the broader region and stressed that the will of all is for the implementation of the criteria to be supported, so as to also safeguard the rights of the Serbs and at some moment to proceed in further discussion. "I do not have the feeling that at this moment there is complete unanimity on the speed of the procedure," she clarified.

    Regarding the recommendation which the Austrian EU presidency asked Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to submit to the Council on Dialogue of Cultures, following the crisis caused by the publication of cartoons about Prophet Mohammed, Bakoyannis clarified that it does not concern mediation by Turkey. "The European Union was clear. Turkey's mediation is not asked for, neither is Turkey called on as a mediator, but as a country which has to submit an opinion, which in any case, it submits in various fora," she said.

    On the sidelines of the sessions of the Council, Bakoyannis briefed her Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou on the meeting she had with Gul on Friday night. She also met her Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) counterpart Dr. Ilinka Mitreva whom she thanked for the letter of congratulations she sent her on the occasion of her new duties as foreign minister, while with Albanian Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj, Bakoyannis discussed the possibility of her visiting Tirana.

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    [02] PM Karamanlis discusses Constitution revision

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the Maximos Mansion in Athens on Saturday morning and discussed the procedure for the revision of the Constitution. Pavlopoulos told reporters that he discussed with the premier matters concerning the completion of the procedure and the shaping of the proposal regarding the revision of the Constitution and all the matters that concern the manner with which the proposal will be presented before Parliament.

    The interior minister underlined that "it is an important initiative, for parliamentary procedure which requires dialogue and consensus, as is also imposed by the Constitution."

    Regarding the dates when the procedure will start and the proposal submitted, Pavlopoulos said that "it is foreseen by Article 110 of the Constitution."

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