14 December, 2006
The Greek foreign ministry on Wednesday stressed that the EU's criteria in making decisions was primarily that it should not wrong itself, one day before Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' scheduled departure for Brussels on Thurs-day to attend the European Union summit.
Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos was responding to criticism voiced by Turkish officials, who said that EU foreign ministers had "wronged" Turkey on Monday by adopting the European Commission's recommendations to freeze accession negotiations with Turkey on eight of the 35 chapters, in response to Ankara's failure to implement a customs union agreement and open its ports and airports to Cyprus traffic.
According to Koumoutsakos, the way that Turkey chose to meet its obligations to the EU was its own responsibility and it would adopt whatever policy it considered best served its priorities and interests. Similarly, the EU would adopt a policy in accordance with its own interests and objectives, he added.
"The Union's primary interest is to preserve its credibility and effectiveness. This is a priority of strategic importance for the Union; ensuring a Union that functions smoothly, effectively, with prestige and credibility. All else comes after," the spokesman said.
Announcing the prime minister's agenda during his trip to Brussels, meanwhile, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that the premier was scheduled to participate in the European People's Party (EPP) meeting at 13:00 and a European Council session beginning at 17:45, as well as the official dinner hosted by the Finnish EU presidency at 20:00.
The summit meeting was expected to end on Friday morning, after which Karamanlis will return to Athens.
The issues to be discussed by European leaders will be that of establishing an area of freedom, security and justice, as well as immigration. During the dinner, there is to be a discussion on the results of deliberations for an EU Constitutional Treaty and EU enlargement. On Friday, the debate will be devoted to approving the conclusions of the European Council.
Asked whether the debate on EU enlargement would also cover accession talks with Turkey and whether the government anticipated any change or modification to the decision taken by the EU General Affairs Council on Monday, Roussopoulos said that there was no other EU decision on this issue that he was aware of.
Source: Athens News Agency