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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis tells EU Summit that speeding up reforms is imperative
  • [02] Greece 'strategic partner', US Sec't of State says

  • [01] PM Karamanlis tells EU Summit that speeding up reforms is imperative

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his intervention on the first day of the informal spring European Union Summit in Brussels on Thursday, said that "the new cooperation for growth and employment with particular emphasis to the promotion of social cohesion and the protection of the environment, constitutes a point of reference in confronting common European challenges, which arise from globalisation and the aging of the population."

    Karamanlis underlined that a basic priority of the EU member-states is the timely implementation of national reform programmes and this priority should be the clear result of Thursday's session of the Council, that is, an even greater speeding up of reforms.

    The Greek prime minister termed as a positive step the defining of particular actions as necessary priorities in the course of achieving the objectives on a European and national level. He also noted that perticular attention should be focused on issues concerning research and development, the improvement of the business environment and the creation of job opportunities.

    Karamanlis expressed his disagreement on the quantitative analysis of objectives in particular sectors, as the Austrian EU presidency had proposed beyond what had been agreed on. He noted that quantitative objectives, when set up, should be realistic so as not to create problems of unreliability of the Union.

    He also noted that the main priority remaine the creation of more jobs, especially jobs for young people and women. Within this framework, he added, "we are promoting a series of integrated actions, aimed at facilitating easier access to the labour market and we are already ascertaining the first results with a drop of unemloyment below 10 per cent in 2005."

    Referring to reforms which are being implemented for the improvement of the business environment and the support of small and medium-size enterprises, Karamanlis said that all EU policies should aim primarily to small enterprises, particularly regarding the improvement of legislation.

    Regarding the Bolkestein Directive, the Greek premier termed as a success the finding of a compromise solution at the European Parliament, which, as he said, should be backed.

    As regards the Common Energy Policy, Karamanlis noted that Greece adopts the vision of the European Commission on energy strategy. He also expressed his support for the Commission's initiative to issue the Green Book, underlining the need for the creation of regional energy markets.

    The dinner of EU finance ministers, in which Greek finance Minister George Alogoskoufis participated, focused on the labour market. The Greek minister told journalists that the Scandinavian model was analysed and particularly the Danish model.

    Alogoskoufis said that the Swedish model has as its main characteristics the flexibility in the labour market accompanied by a strong social protection.

    He also underlined that the Greek government has no relation whatsoever with the policies of the French prime minister regarding employemnt for young people.

    On his part, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis said that, during the foreign ministers' dinner, the issue which prevailed was the future of Europe and particularly the fate of the European Constitution.

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    [02] Greece 'strategic partner', US Sec't of State says

    Greece is a strategic partner for the United States, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters after a half-hour meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Washington on Thursday, the first meeting between the two since Bakoyannis assumed her current post.

    Rice noted that both countries wish to solve many international problems, without this necessarily meaning that they agree on all issues, and referred to Greece's good relations with the Muslim world, noting that they could be useful in promoting peace.

    Rice congratulated Bakoyannis on her work as Athens Mayor and accepted the Greek minister's invitation to visit Greece.

    On her part, Bakoyannis referred to the need to solve problems in various parts of the world, referring in particular to the West Balkans, whose future - according to the Greek minister - is in Europe.

    As for Kosovo and defining its status, Bakoyannis said that the positions and views of all involved parties should be taken into consideration.

    Bakoyannis also underscored the need to resolve the Cyprus issue by finding a solution based on the UN Security Council's relevant decisions that will lead to a united, bi-communal Cyprus.

    Also referring to Cyprus, Rice said that the island's reunification must be achieved based on democratic values. She did not refer to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan.

    On the issue of Greek-Turkish relations, Rice stressed that the US supports the steady improvement in relations which began after the two countries came to each others' aid following the 1999 earthquakes.

    Bakoyannis, on her part, raised the issue of the re-opening of the Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary in Turkey, while Rice responded that this is an issue the US repeatedly raises with the Turkish government.

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