|Monday, 17 February 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-19
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 19, 2003
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
Mr. Martens stressed that solidarity, equality and subsidiariness are concepts that were first introduced by Christian Democrats, while he noted that the convening of the Convention was a proposal of the EPP, and he was in favor of mentioning religion in
the Union's Constitution, calling on the President of Poland Kwasniewski, who is an atheist but still in favor of its inclusion.
The President of the EPP called member-state leaders to keep the balances between institutions and the members, and characterized the Constitution as a "great investment in the future."
It was the return of our spirit that made the Convention unexpectedly interesting, said Mr. Martens, who ended in saying that "Europe has found its lost spirit, that which made the Union a powerful community, that which made the EU a global political pla yer".
Mr. Martens' optimism, however, was not shared by the President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis.
During the same event, the Head of the Greek Opposition stated, "we want a Europe for all", "we want a Union in which all citizens will enjoy the same sense of security, the same sense of participation", said Mr. Karamanlis, who, however, expressed serio us doubts as far as the proposals of the Convention to be presented by Giscard D'Estaing at the EU Summit on Friday are concerned. He also noted that "the proposals of the Convention to date do not fully meet the will of the majority of Europeans."
8,000 members of the movement "Action: Thessaloniki 2003" will arrive at the Agios Pavlos shelter this afternoon and the works for the preparation of the space have been completed.
In the Municipality of Polychni, there are 1,500 protesters of the Greek and European Social Forum at the municipal sports center, while another 3,500 are expected today, and more are expected tomorrow.
Behind the Lazarist Convent (Moni Lazariston) in Stavroupoli, 3,000 members of the "Alliance: Stop the War" and "Initiative: Genoa 2001" are expected today, while 400 members of "Thessaloniki - Resist Now" are already in the Epanomi camping in Chalkdiki and another 300 are expected today. The Municipality of Echedoros will host approximately 200 protesters from Crete on Saturday in the Sindos and Chalohori gyms.
It should be noted that Malta is one of the 10 countries that signed the Athens Accession Treaty on April 16.
The successful conclusion of the Presidency is a national affair, said Mr. Karamanlis, in statements he made with the President of the EPP Wilfried Martens shortly before the meeting, participants in which include 11 active Prime Ministers from 10 EU cou ntries and Norway, the Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark and leaders of center-right parties in the opposition.
In his statement Mr. Karamanlis said that "there was a lot and excellent work" done on the proposals of the Convention as far as the European Constitution is concerned, but he also expressed his reservations on certain points making mention of issues tha t are still pending.
Specifically, he repeated his preference in the rotating presidency of the EU, the need to retain one Commissioner from each country and the possibility of strengthened cooperation in the defense sector, towards any threat, terrorist or military.
As far as the Balkans are concerned, he stressed his standing support to the accessional prospects of the region's countries.
On his side Mr. Martens expressed his full agreement with the Europe's prospects for all and stressed the need for procedures to move faster so as to deal with the needs and expectations of all the citizens of Europe.
In his statements, Mr. Simitis said that with this Summit the Greek Presidency aims at "promoting both sides of the country. First the political, its diplomatic capabilities, the success we have had so far during the Presidency, and its second side, its multifaceted beauty, its hospitality, the fact that it is open to all Europeans who want to visit. In fact, we have made a great effort and I believe that our success will be good."
On the possibility of incidents, he refused to accept the expression "incidents". "In Thessaloniki", he stressed, "there will be various events, events that have been prepared and on which the government has cooperated, because there are various sides to
social and political life that must be promoted. I want the events in Thessaloniki to point out a series of problems existing in the world originating from globalization, which state leaders are aware of, are watching, but which the countries must observ e. Now if some people want these peaceful events to turn into a field of confrontation, then they are harming our land and their cause. We want an exchange of ideas which is always peaceful and the reason we are here is because we refuse violence".
They immediately boarded Chinnok helicopters and were taken to the hotel where the works of the EU Summit will begin at 7pm.
Commissioners Michel Barnier, Loyolla De Palazio and Antonio Vitorino also arrived in Thessaloniki lear jet.
Replying to a question on the threat of disturbances, Mr.Simitis noted that the Greek government had planned parallel events and discussion fora.
"We wish to hear the views of the movements", said Mr. Simitis, wondering "why some people would want to cause disturbances and bring discredit to their country".
Replying to another question on Turkey's candidacy for EU membership, Mr. Simitis said that the European Union had formulated a road map for Turkey to which the neighbouring country must respond, maintaining good relations with its neighbours and contrib uting to the settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan plan.
Of the stocks trading today, 65 had gains and 267 had losses, while the value of 43 stocks remained unchanged.
Replying to a question on the compromise draft of the European Constitution, Mr. Papandreou said "we cannot but take into consideration the work of the Convention during the Intergovernmental Conference." He described the work of the Convention as "labor ious, difficult and very notable", while underlining the "great importance" of the role of the Convention, which involved a process of cooperation between Community and national institutions, as well as civil society.
On the issue of migration, Mr. Papandreou noted that the Greek EU Presidency was endeavouring to shift the discussion from the issue of protecting the external borders of the EU to the instituting of a new approach regarding which, once a year, the imple mentation of the joint policy on migration will be evaluated in a Commission report.
Regarding the proposal on the distribution of the relevant expenditures, Mr. Papandreou acknowledged that certain countries had reservations, while referring with an emphasis to the meeting of the summit of European Diasporas, which is being held in para llel with the Thessaloniki European Council. On the British proposal concerning a procedure for handling asylum requests, Mr. Papandreou observed that "the issue remains open", given that it was a "controversial proposal" which "has provoked reactions".
Lastly, expressing support for "the Presidency's Balkan proposal", the "Thessaloniki agenda", Mr. Papandreou stressed that its adoption and implementation would consolidate security in the region, while in response to questions he underlined that Turkey "must speed up its adoption of the package of reforms and the implementation of the relevant provisions".
Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader and EPP Vice-President Kostas Karamanlis stated that there are still many pending issues among them, the EU Presidency and the broadening of the assistance clause in the case of external mili tary attack.
The enlarged EPP Summit welcomed the job done by the Constitutional Convention characterizing it as a very positive process.
The resolution mentions that the EPP backs the effort for the EU accession of Bulgaria and Romania by 2007 and expresses the party's satisfaction for the strengthening of the ties with these countries.
The EPP backs the pre-accession strategy adopted by the European Commission and the European Parliament for the western Balkan countries and expresses the belief that the new mechanism will help cooperation in sectors like, drug-trafficking and human tra fficking, the return of refugees to their homes, migration, commerce, small-medium sized businesses, energy and transportation. Also, the EPP calls on the region's countries to follow the example of the ten new EU member states.
Referring to the EU Summit proceedings, Mr. Hitiris expressed the belief that it will be a successful EU Summit.
On the European Constitution, Mr. Hitiris pointed out that the draft European Constitution that will be presented tomorrow by Constitutional Convention President Giscard d'Estaing will be forwarded to the Inter-governmental Conference which will examine it and decide on Europe's Constitution by the end of 2004.
Mr. Gerou stated to MPA that a total of about 3,000 journalists and TV and radio technicians are at the Press Center and added that for the moment, all goes very well. He said that in terms of technical infrastructure everything is impeccable, stressing that all systems have been tested and operate without problems.
The issue under discussion will be the problem of illegal immigration. After the proceedings, Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis will give a press conference.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS