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16 November, 2000
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, speaking to a forum of Czech and Greek business people here on Wednesday, stressed that levels of economic activity in Greece were now demonstrably intense and that they extended beyond its borders into the Balkans and Black Sea region.
At the same time, he noted similar activity by the Czech Republic in central Europe and the prospects for joint business ventures between the two countries.
Deputy National Economy Minister Yiannis Zafeiropoulos, who is accompanying the president on his three-day official visit, also addressed the forum.
Zafeiropoulos referred to the importance of reinforcing the competitiveness and productivity of economies in order to preserve Europe's social character and combat unemployment and the phenomenon of the working poor.
He noted the mutual desires in Athens and Prague to bring bilateral trade transactions to a level corresponding "to their true potential and our expectations," and that the Czechs were making rapid progress in meeting EU criteria, which would also help expand bilateral trade relations.
Finally, he pointed out the possibilities for cooperation between Czech and Greek business concerns in the Balkan region, where he said both sides could benefit from joint action.
Later on Wednesday, Stephanopoulos spoke at the city's Charles University, considered the oldest in central Europe.
Presenting Greece's positions and vision for the 21st century, the president stressed the challenges facing the EU in view of the Nice Summit at the end of the year, including enlargement, institutional reform and modernizing the European economy.
Greece, he said, supports EU enlargement as a political necessity and said that institutional reforms should not become a pretext for delaying this.
Athens, he added, also believes that gradually building up a common European policy for security and defense is an important element in European integration. During recent crises, he noted, the lack of a strong common security policy within the EU had resulted in a credibility deficit, inertia and inactivity that were incompatible with the role the union could play on the international scene.
Source: Athens News Agency