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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU land borders finally reach member-state Greece with Bulgarian accession

  • [01] EU land borders finally reach member-state Greece with Bulgarian accession

    Bulgaria's formal accession into the "European family" was termed as a major development not just for Bulgaria and the wider region but for the European Union itself, in a message by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, and aired on the Bulgarian state television on Monday.

    "It is a great joy and satisfaction for me to express my warmest congratulations and best wishes on behalf of the Greek people regarding Bulgaria's accession into the European Union," Karamanlis stressed, adding that Bulgaria's accession in a United Europe is a reward for the efforts made by the Bulgarian people and government to meet the European principles and standards.

    Athens has been particular pleased with the twin accession of both Romania and Bulgarian into the European Union, marking the first time since Greece's entry in 1980 that countries in the Balkans have joined the bloc, and bringing the number of predominately Eastern Orthodox Christian nations in the Union to four -- Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania.

    Karamanlis' message comes a day after Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, heading a high-ranking Greek delegation, attended ceremonies marking the first day of Bulgaria's formal accession to the European Union.

    "Today is a great day for Bulgaria, for Europe, for Greece. As of today, Greece has European borders," Bakoyannis said after meeting her Bulgarian counterpart Ivaylo Kalfin in the Bulgarian capital.

    On his part, Karamanlis noted that "we share your great joy for many reasons. As a country in the same region, we are pleased over the strengthening of the EU's Balkan dimension," the Greek premier stated, pointing out that Bulgaria's accession sends an encouraging message to western Balkan countries regarding the important and positive results stemming from the reforms, which are necessary for their harmonisation with European criteria and prerequisites.

    After highlighting Athens' firm support for Bulgaria's European prospects, the prime minister reminded that the Greek Parliament was among the first to ratify Bulgaria's and Romania's EU Accession treaties in a special session, held in the presence of the presidents of the two countries, Georgi Parvanov and Traian Basescu, respectively.

    Karamanlis added that new horizons are being opened for a broader and more dynamic cooperation amongst the countries in the region, stressing that as neighboring countries "we share many issues of mutual interest, and now these issues will be better discussed within the framework of the European Union, where our united voices will be stronger."

    "We are looking forward to the new era of friendship and cooperation for us within the framework of the European Union", he concluded.

    Caption: Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev puts Bulgaria on the map of the European Union during a New Year's celebration in Sofia, Bulgaria on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007 . Fireworks lit the skies and thousands of people danced at street parties across Romania and Bulgaria to celebrate the entry to the European Union on Monday. EPA-ANA/MPA -- VASSIL DONEV

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