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24 January, 2002
A modern European Turkey, with belief in the values and principles of the United Europe, was in the interests of Greece, peace and stability in the entire region, Greece's alternate foreign minister Tassos Giannitsis said Wednesday.
Speaking on "The future of Europe and Turkey" at a day-seminar organized by the Hellenic Center for European Studies, Giannitsis noted that at the EU summit in Laeken, premier Costas Simitis had backed Turkey's participation in the EU Constitutional Convention on shaping the future of Europe because Greece believed that Turkey belongs in Europe and must, by achieving the suitable progress in all sectors, approach the EU.
Turning to Greek-Turkish relations, Giannitsis spoke of the opportunity being presented to the two sides for a "historic transcendence", adding that under a regime of tension and lack of cooperation there would be instability and insecurity whereas the serious prospects for Turkey had already opened up, but the "path" still needed to be confirmed.
Giannitsis further referred to proposals made public concerning the EU's future form. "The fact that we are discussing about a union of peoples is based on a commonly accepted model focusing on the principles of transparency, democracy and solidarity. Any other type of proposal alters the nature of the EU and does not contribute to the vision of European integration," he explained.
Giannitsis added that the problem of Europe's future was not being brought up for the first time, but in view of the 15-nation bloc's imminent enlargement it was being placed on a more pressing basis.
"It is a process of European globalization, which will ensure greater stability for our economies and better conditions of growth and prosperity," he said.
Giannitsis warned that the EU must not become identified as a "Europe of funds and meager abilities", because "we have ahead of us the deepening of the European values, with the ultimate target of integration proceeding".
Source: Athens News Agency