06 December, 2005
The European Union budget dominated the discussion during the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Ministerial Summit held here on Monday, where foreign ministers from the OECD member states convened to discuss European security issues.
An agreement on the EU budget for the 2007-2013 period is expected to be reached during the summit in Brussels next week.
"No opportunity should be missed, and we will not allow any to go unexploited in this difficult battle regarding EU funds," Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, representing Greece at the OECD meeting, said.
OECD ministers stressed the need for the organization to become more effective in promoting security and democracy in Europe.
Speaking to reporters, Valinakis said that the OECD is interested in "providing answers to issues related to security, democracy, human rights and in the monitoring of democratic elections."
He added that "on the sidelines of these meetings we also have the opportunity to discuss important issues, such as the budget which is an immediate concern for the EU."
Regarding the British EU Presidency's EU budget proposal, Valinakis said that the closer it is to the Luxembourg Presidency's proposal the more likely an agreement will be.
However, according to initial indications, the British presidency seems to have drifted quite far from the suggestions presented by Luxembourg in June, Valinakis said.
He nonetheless expressed optimism that the British presidency would propose a budget on which everyone will agree.
"We would like to think that Greece will gain - from this agreement - that which it deserves from the distribution of EU funds," Valinakis said.
On the sidelines of the OECD meeting, the deputy minister met with US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, with whom he discussed Greek-US relations.
Source: Athens News Agency