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04 October, 1999
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Saturday that Turkey's European Union prospects entailed both rights and obligations adding that the neighboring country's candidacy could not be a bogus candidacy.
Speaking after talks with visiting Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, whose country currently holds the EU six-month rotating presidency, Mr. Simitis said that Greece viewed positively Turkey's forging of closer ties with the European Union, but progress depended on that country accepting a number of responsibilities.
"It is in Turkey's interest for this process to make headway. However, Turkey's European prospects entail both rights and responsibilities, both rights and obligations towards the European Union. It cannot be a bogus candidacy," he said.
"We are against tension, but the current climate must be converted into deeds and decisions on the part of Turkey, which will create a stable base. A candidate (for membership) country's relation with the European Union must be one that excludes the creation of tension," he added.
EU-Turkish relations will be on the agenda in December's summit in Helsinki.
The European Union summit in the Finnish city of Tampere on October 15 and 16 will tackle three main issues, asylum and immigration, the fight against cross-border crime and the forging of closer ties in the sphere of justice, Mr. Simitis also said after his talks with Finnish counterpart Lipponen.
Mr. Lipponen is touring EU capitals in order to review the topics to be discussed in Tampere with the leaders of the other 14 member-states.
Greek anxieties over illegal immigration held center stage in the talks, also attended by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and other top foreign ministry officials. "More than any other European Union member-state, Greece is exposed to the problem o f illegal immigration from third poor countries due to being on the edge of Europe and its extensive sea borders. We therefore need tighter control for the protection of EU external borders and measures against illegal immigration," Mr. Simitis said.
He also stressed the need for the European Union to negotiate re-entry agreements with third countries.
Mr. Lipponen said he hoped that the Tampere summit would adopt decisions leading to greater security and justice in the EU, noting the need for closer cooperation in dealing with the problems arising from illegal immigration, cross-border crime and money laundering.
Mr. Simitis said similar attention should be given to the problem of youth crime, arising from unemployment.
The Tampere summit is expected to endorse the formation of a judges' network, to be named 'Eurojust', for improved access to justice and its institutions.
Source: Athens News Agency