21 October, 2006
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday told reporters here that the first day of an informal EU summit focused on energy policy and innovation in the 25-nation bloc.
"It's obvious that ensuring the EU's energy supplies is a necessary precondition for its development, while investment in innovation is a one-way street for the EU," he said just prior to a dinner hosted for EU leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Karamanlis added that discussions at the informal summit focused on the uninterrupted supply of energy as well as combating climate change via the use of renewable energy sources.
"Greece backs the development of a multi-dimensional energy policy, one harmonized with the national policies of member-states. We believe that the current junction is well-suited for the promotion of an internal energy market through a treaty for a European energy community, which was recently signed in Athens. The latter comprises, in our opinion, the best platform for the development of a foreign energy policy," he said.
Moreover, the Greek premier again stressed that Russia is a "preferential" partner of the EU, with cooperation in the energy sector as well as in investments entailing a strategic significance. Along these lines, he cited the progress to finalize plans for an oil pipeline connecting the Black Sea with the Aegean (Burgas-Alexandroupolis).
Regarding the issue of innovation, Karamanlis said EU leaders exchanged views on how to allow for the more effective investment in knowledge, "and the creation of a comprehensive strategy for copyright and the strengthening of cooperation between businesses and research institutes".
He also said Athens supports the Commission's proposal for the creation of a European technological institute.
In other developments, the Greek premier briefed EU counterparts on the problem of illegal immigration faced by Greece, while at the same time re-tabling Athens' proposal for the future creation of a European coast guard force to seal the Union's borders from illegal immigration, an idea he said can first be promoted by holding joint patrols.
"This (issue) remains one of Greece's priorities, and is constantly upgraded within the EU as well..." he said.
Finally, asked about earlier comments by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, who is also in Helsinki, merely noted that "my standing position is that issues of foreign policy and the national issue are above political parties."
Source: Athens News Agency