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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou addresses EP's Socialist Group

  • [01] Papandreou addresses EP's Socialist Group

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited Brussels on Wednesday in his capacity as President of the Socialist International (SI) and briefed the European Parliament's Socialist Group on the main issues on the international political scene.

    Papandreou stressed the need for a contrast between socialist parties and neo-conservatism, the "main element of which is the creation of allied ties between governments and big business forces."

    The PASOK party leader placed particular emphasis on the issue of the "global governance", underlining the great significance for the socialists of the enactment of institutions and structures through which the arrangement of the global economy, in a way that the interests of the weaker will be protected, will be feasible.

    In this way, he added, phenomena of extremism and populism that have been developing in past years in various parts of the world will be able to be combatted.

    Focusing on issues concerning the international political scene, Papandreou expressed concern over the problems of an environmental nature that are being created as a result of the economic development of China, while as regards the Middle East, he stressed the role that the Socialist International could play in efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue.

    Papandreou sharply criticised U.S. foreign policy, saying that "just like during the Cold War period the Soviet Union undermined the idea of socialism, so is the U.S. undermining the idea of democracy today."

    On the question of a united Europe, the PASOK leader said that "only the European Left can prevent the evolvement of the European Union into a non-governmental organisation." The EU will either be progressive or it will play no role on the international scene, Papandreou said.

    Papandreou also stressed the particular role that the EU could play on the issue of Kosovo. He said that despite reservations that are logical to exist (and that he himself has) a European prospect must be given to Kosovo in the form of an incentive for democratisation and an improvement in its relations with its neighbours.

    He further said that "it must be made clear to authorities in Kosovo that it must have accession negotiations with the EU in order to become an independent country."

    "From the moment that the EU assesses that Kosovo fulfills the Copenhagen criteria for accession to the EU, it could also be proclaimed an independent country," Papandreou noted, saying that he has discussed these ideas with the political leaderships of both Kosovo and Serbia.

    On the question of Turkey, Papandreou stressed that he has expressed support for the country's European prospects on condition, however, that it will meet its commitments.

    As regards Cyprus, he referred with emphasis to the issue of the withdrawal of Turkish troops and pointed out that if that happened the EU would also be able to work more effectively in the direction of improving relations between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.

    Papandreou met with the President of the European Parliament's Socialist Group Martin Schulz, the President of the European Socialist Party Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pottering and Javier Solana, the EU's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

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