13 May, 2006
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday chaired one of the three working groups at the summit meeting of EU member states and Latin American and Caribbean countries in Vienna, at the invitation of the Austrian chancellor a few days earlier.
Addressing the group, Karamanlis stressed that the main objective was to consolidate the partnership relationship that has begun to develop between the EU and those two regions in recent years at both political and economic/commercial level.
The working group examined issues such as democracy and human rights, a multilateral approach for strengthening peace, stability and respect of International Law, the environment and energy, and terrorism, drugs and organized crime.
Karamanlis said that the EU placed particular emphasis on strengthening the effectiveness of the political dialogue with the two regions, the development of economic relations with them, the dialogue on social cohesion and the environment, strengthening democratic governance, combating corruption and drugs, etc.
The Greek premier stressed that the challenges of globalization can be effectively met through international cooperation, adding that terrorism, combating poverty, social exclusion, human rights violations and drugs are areas of priority in the cooperation developing between the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
At economic and commercial level, he said, the EU was advancing a framework of free trade agreements with the regional unions of countries of Latin America, and also with individual countries, such as Mexico and Chile.
The goal, Karamanlis continued, was to liberalize the markets and revive the European economies, on the one hand, and to give a developmental prospect to the Latin American countries on the other.
In that framework, Greece was also defending and advancing the Greek interests in perishable farm products, stressing that Greece has already joined several initiatives aimed at reinforcing the Greek business interests in Latin America.
Source: Athens News Agency