10 December, 2005
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was one of eight European leaders to be received by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in back-to-back meetings over the past 24 hours, in a bid to break the deadlock over the EU budget for 2007-2013.
Commenting on the process after the meeting, Karamanlis said he could not rule out an agreement before the EU summit next week, while underlining that EU leaders had now entered a "very delicate and very sensitive phase of a tough and grueling negotiation".
The Greek premier was received by Blair on Friday for a working dinner, which was preceded by a 10-minute private meeting without the presence of their advisors.
In statements afterward, Karamanlis stressed that achieving an agreement on the Community's economic prospects and budget would be an extremely difficult and delicate task, especially after the failure to reach agreement at the EU Summit in June.
"Fiscal prospects were the main issue we discussed with Mr. Blair. It is very hard by definition to find a common ground between 25 countries, since each one has its own views and priorities," he noted.
The Greek premier said that he had presented and insisted on Greece's positions and arguments during the meeting, while noting that Athens intended to fight its battle, take initiatives and create alliances with other countries within the EU in order to secure its interests.
He said that Athens was seeking cohesion for Europe, which meant policies of convergence for the poorer member-states, and wanted a fair method for sharing out the cost of enlargement.
Source: Athens News Agency