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03 December, 2002
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio on Monday held talks that focused mainly on cooperation within the European Union and major issues regarding the future of the Community and its institutions.
After the meeting, Simitis spoke in favor of a federal system for the EU, in which the community element remained strong.
He called for coordinated economic policy in which the extension of social policy to tackle unemployment and develop social solidarity in Europe would be a central concern.
The Greek premier also called for emphasis on joint European policies for foreign affairs, defense and security and said that care was needed in the implementation of structural policy so that it did not slow down convergence.
Asked if there was sufficient time before the start of the EU Summit in Copenhagen on December 12 for a solution to the Cyprus problem to be achieved, the Greek premier said that the time was short but said that efforts should be made to continue talks for a solution after the summit.
Sampaio said that Cyprus' EU accession was important and agreed that solving the political problem could not be a condition for Cyprus' EU entry.
He said that the EU Stability Pact needed a new impetus from all EU member-state economies and said that Europe had to promote the development of a joint foreign affairs and security policy.
Finally, the Portuguese president referred to the recent naval accident involving the tanker ''Prestige'', which caused an ecological disaster last month when its hull split and poured tones of crude oil into the sea of the northeast coast of Spain.
Sampaio said that shipping safety was another issue that needed to be examined on an EU level, after controversy over whether the tanker had received adequate maintenance checks at EU ports.
Following the meeting, Sampaio was a guest at a dinner given in his honor by the Greek premier.
Source: Athens News Agency