03 June, 2005
Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said on Thursday the results of referendums held in France and the Netherlands on the ratification of the European Union's Constitutional Treaty was a "very important event which must puzzle all of us'".
Molyviatis, who was speaking during a press conference, held by the Foreign Press Association of Greece, said governments must try to interpret the messages sent by the peoples with the referendums, while reiterating that "the process of ratifying the European Constitution in the other countries must not stop."
The foreign minister then referred to the procedure already anticipated by the European Constitution, meaning the completion of the ratification process by autumn 2006 when the European Council will examine the situation shaped and will decide on the next steps to be taken.
Commenting on repercussions on the EU by the negative results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands, the foreign minister reminded that during its long course Europe did not always forge ahead and that during the course of European construction "sometimes there was progress and sometimes stagnation as well as retrogression".
Molyviatis noted that Europe handled all this with success, stressing that the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty (in the two referendums) does not mean a rejection of Europe nor even of the course of European unification.
He clarified that he was not against the holding of referendums which is a democratic process, but pointed out that the Parliamentary process is equally democratic.
Replying to a question on the possible repercussions of the referendums on the process of EU enlargement, Molyviatis said this process must be continued as scheduled, while speaking of Turkey in particular he reminded that its accession course is described in the decisions of the European Council of December 17, 2004, and stressed that "Turkey's accession negotiations will begin on October 3."
On another question regarding the rekindling of discussions on enacting a special relationship status between the EU and Turkey, the minister underlined that "no issue has arisen of amending the EU's position on Turkey's course to Europe" and that, in any case, the special relationship issue is also referred to in the conclusions reached on December 17".
"On the occasion, I wish to repeat our position that Turkey, provided it fulfills the terms and preconditions set for her, must become a full member of the EU," the foreign minister said.
Regarding repercussions on the issue of Cyprus if problems arise in Turkey's European course, Molyviatis said the two issues are not linked and reiterated the Greek position in favor of a solution to the Cyprus issue based on the Annan plan, but also on the acquis communautaire as well.
"We are working at this time for the resumption of the process through the creation of conditions guaranteeing, as much as possible, the successful outcome of the effort because no one will be able to stand a new failure," the foreign minister said, referring to consultations which took place in New York and to the tour being carried out by Alternate UN Secretary General Sir Kieran Prendergast in Nicosia, Athens and Ankara.
Replying to a question on whether the October 3 deadline is linked to developments on the issue of Cyprus, Molyviatis replied in the negative, but said that the government of Cyprus has stressed, and the UN has accepted, that "there must not be any tight timetables in this new effort."
The foreign minister also commented on the protocol on the extension of the Ankara protocol to the EU's new member-states, saying that "according to reports the signing will not be delayed" and added that "when someone signs something, he signs it in order to implement it."
Molyviatis further spoke of a "golden age of Greek diplomacy" due to the widespread consensus he is ascertaining in past years on the strategic targets of Greek foreign policy.
Source: Athens News Agency