22 April, 2003
European Council President Costas Simitis held talks on Tuesday, April 22 with Finnish Premier Anneli Jaatteenmaki focusing on the main issues on the agenda of the forthcoming Thessaloniki European Council, such as the European Convention, migration and EU-US relations.
Jaatteenmaki congratulated her Greek counterpart on the “outstanding work” he had done for Europe and stressed that despite the very difficult conjuncture it had to face on account of the Iraq crisis, the Greek Presidency had had a number of “happy moments”, culminating in the historic day of April 16.
In statements after the talks, the two leaders said that with regard to the Convention, they agreed that there should be a period of three to four months before the Intergovernmental Conference convenes, so that the draft Constitution can be discussed by the national parliaments.
On the issue of migration, Simitis said that both Jaatteenmaki and Finnish President Tarja Halonen, with whom he also had talks, had made it clear that Finland did not accept the idea of a supranational border police force.
Simitis said that in these initial talks with the political and state leadership of Finland, in the framework of his tour of EU capitals as European Council President, he had also discussed the issue of the Western Balkans and EU-US relations in view of the US-EU summit in Washington on 25 June.
Lastly, the Finnish side raised the issue of its bid to have the European Food Safety Authority based in Helsinki. In view of the fact that Italy too was a candidate, having proposed Parma, Simitis said the issue would be resolved at the forthcoming European Council, based on the proposals to be submitted by the two candidate countries.