28 May, 2004
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday presented ruling New Democracy's manifesto for the European elections, which outlines the government's goals and positions within united Europe, at an event in the Zappeion building.
The premier said that the EU will act as a base for realizing the new Greek vision for the future and stressed that the European Parliament elections on June 13 concerned all citizens, having both a European but also a national aspect.
He also underlined that ND was European par excellence among the Greek parties since the country's entry into the European Community had been the strategic choice of his uncle and ND founder Constantine Karamanlis, while the measure of Greece's success was evident in the urgent efforts now being made by its neighbors to join the EU.
Karamanlis said that ND, acting through the European Popular Party (EPP) which was the largest political force within the European Parliament, will be able to promote Greek interests and rights and the interests of its citizens. He said the party was responsible for governing and thus needed an even stronger voice within the European Parliament.
He particularly stressed the need for a coordinated effort - in which ND would be relentless - to secure the funds needed to press ahead with harmoniously building United Europe.
The premier said the government attached great importance to policies regulating the ordinary problems of daily life and stressed that European legislation would be enriched with more rules for the protection of consumers, the environment, young people, women, the unemployed, the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
He also stressed that the European Constitution was a major milestone in the crucial issue of Europe's political unification but much more remained to be done.
Karamanlis said that one of Greece's goals will be to reinforce Europe's common foreign and defense policy by including a mutual solidarity clause in the Constitution, while Athens will also push for joint policing of the EU's external borders, the creation of a European coast guard and the setting of specific limits on the numbers of economic immigrants allowed in, based on the needs of the labor market and dealing with international terrorism.
Regarding Greece's policies within Europe, Karamanlis said the government will strive to achieve real convergence through a realistic, structured program that would cover the ground that had been lost and prevent further missed opportunities. He underlined his determination to make full use of 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) funds and to secure funds needed for developing rural regions from the 4th CSF, with favorable treatment of the islands and mountainous areas and an attractive agricultural sector that allowed farmers to make full use of the capabilities afforded by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The government also wishes the EU to assist in the solution of the Cyprus problem and the improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey, while Karamanlis reiterated Athens' support for Turkey's European prospects.
Source: Athens News Agency