16 June, 2007
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Portuguese counterpart Jose Socrates on Friday discussed the Portuguese presidency's agenda: the revision of the European constitutional treaty, the enlargement of the European Union, climatic changes, combined with energy policy, relations between the EU and Russia and the EU's new sea policy.
Karamanlis said in a statement that Portugal is assuming, on July 1st, the EU's presidency at a focal moment for a series of issues. He said that one of the most important issues is the revision of the European constitutional treaty. A solution must be found at the next European Council that will enable the EU to forge ahead united and strong.
The prime minister underlined his adherence to the basis of the text and stressed that its essence and balance must be maintained. He expressed the conviction and the optimism that a brief and specific mandate must be given so that a solution can be found before the Euroelections in 2009.
Referring to EU enlargement, Karamanlis said that it must move on two axes: firstly, it must be continued with cautious steps and with the criterion of the EU's effective functioning and, secondly, the European adjustment of countries must be based on the full implementation of the EU's criteria.
He further noted that as far as Greece is concerned, which neighbours countries interested to join, enlargement will be a positive development on condition, however, that the structures of these countries will be really Europeanised and will be adjusted to European attitudes.
Karamanlis also referred to relations between the EU and Russia, pointing out that existing obstacles must be lifted and the new cooperation agreement must be signed.
Socrates said on his part that he and Karamanlis have the same concerns and the same view on the future of the EU, as well as on a series of issues that will be examined during his country's presidency.
He also considers as being important issues the EU's relations with Russia, Brazil and China and made special reference to the EU's relations with the Mediterranean's southern countries and those of the Middle East.
Before having a working lncheon with his Portuguese counterpart, Karamanlis visited Lisbon's National Archaeology Museum where he was also given a guided tour of a special sector displaying ancient Greek urns.
Source: Athens News Agency