29 October, 2005
A balanced solution concerning the EU budget must be adopted in time for the December Summit, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said in comments he made after the informal EU summit held here on Thursday.
Failure to agree on the budget means heavier consequences for the Union's long-term economic planning and difficulty for the EU to proceed with decisions on crucial issues, he added.
Karamanlis noted that according to the Greek government, agreement on the budget should be based on the proposals made by the Luxembourg EU Presidency, since those proposals ensure satisfactory levels of funds for political cohesion.
Regarding the issue of globalization - the summit's main topic of discussion - Karamanlis noted that it brought about many opportunities, but also many challenges as a result of the increased movement of people, services and goods.
"It [globalization] is an issue of great dimensions, making it impossible for individual countries to effectively address it alone.
Therefore, our discussion focused on finding the common denominator which will enable the EU to formulate strategies and to step up actions aimed at dealing with common problems and individual issues, such as unemployment, competitiveness, illegal immigration, and citizens' safety in connection with the EU's foreign policies," Karamanlis said.
He added that Greece emphasized the need for the EU to face the challenges globalization poses while at the same time preserving the European social model.
"That means growth and competitiveness, while at the same time safeguarding social solidarity, social justice and jobs. It is a difficult goal but it's one our policy must serve," he said.
Referring to the fight against terrorism, the Greek premier stressed that any initiatives aimed at ensuring citizens' safety must not be taken at the expense of civil liberties.
Speaking of Thursday's informal summit, Karamanlis said that it gave EU leaders the chance "to exchange views in an informal and friendly setting, as to how we will jointly - within the EU - address the challenges set forth by globalization."
On the sidelines of the summit, Karamanlis met with French President Jacques Chirac, Portuguese President Jose Socrates, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende with whom he discussed the Union's fiscal prospects.
He also met with Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader ahead of a trilateral meeting in Athens on Wednesday.
Finally, the Greek premier met separately with Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Source: Athens News Agency