15 January, 2007
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was one of the keynote speakers Sunday at an event on "The Vision of Europe", organised by the Allianz Cultural Foundation.
Bakoyannis, along with German Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier and former EU competition commissioner Mario Monti, stressed the pressing need for decisions to be taken on the future of the Union as well as concerns over Turkey's European prospect.
Addressing the event at the Residenz state theatre in Munich, Bakoyannis said Greece "sees a place for Turkey inside the EU on condition that it accepts the European acquis, but says no to an 'a la carte' Europe for Turkey".
Turkey does not have the right to place conditions on any other EU member state, she stressed amid applause, referring to Cyprus, adding that "Europe is a cause of principles, and not religions".
Turning to the future of Europe, Bakoyannis said that "it is impossible for us to accept that this unprecedented democratic venture, namely, the European Union, will remain at an impasse".
"There are no impasses in democracy," she stressed, adding that it was necessary for Europe to take "a deep breath of fresh democratic air".
She also spoke of the need for formulating a new European agenda.
Bakoyannis noted that the EU was frequently used as a scapegoat by governments to cover their own weaknesses or failures, warning that "such practices increase the discontent towards Europe".
The Greek foreign minister further noted the need for Europe to move ahead, even with only those who were ready, with an avantguard or a "mini" Treaty
She also referred to the prospect of some crucial, thematic units being advanced, such as those of migration and energy.
"The experience of the Eurozone is a shining example in that direction," she said, adding that the European Vision required "more politicians and fewer technocrats".
"Today, the need was put forward for decisions at European level, and this is the immense burden shouldered by the German EU presidency," she said.
Stressing the importance of events such as that on Sunday, she added that in Greece, too, a big dialogue will commence with the citizens "on the Europe we dream of and want to build together", and assured that "we have ideas and can contribute to the European Vision".
Bakoyannis, who had a brief discussion with Steinmeier on the sidelines of the event, left later for Zagreb, where she will accompany Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on his visit to Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.
Source: Athens News Agency