29 June, 2006
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday referred to European Union expansion in the Balkans as a "lever" of peace and stability in the region, while emphasizing that he's against a "special relationship" regime for Turkey as the latter country's candidacy must be wholly legitimate.
Papandreou spoke at the opening day of a two-day Economist Group conference in the Greek capital, entitled "Greece, Bulgaria and Romania: Business and Investment Summit: Strengthening Relations at the Threshold of EU accession."
"... a message with two meanings should not be conveyed to Turkey; the standing message is that Turkey has the right to become a full member of the EU as long, of course, as it fulfills the commitments it has undertaken," Papandreou, the former foreign minister, said.
Speaking to an audience of mostly foreign dignitaries, business executives and diplomats, Papandreou also repeated his latest proposal -- aimed at Greece's political establishment -- for a "new strategy" governing Greek-Turkish relations, one that more effectively safeguards sovereign rights, strengthens regional peace and stability and eventually leads to a reduction in defence spending, he said.
Turning to the domestic front, he echoed the current government's and previous administrations' focus on attempting to exploit the country's comparative advantages in the tourism sector, alternative forms of energy, brand-name farm products, services, merchant shipping and culture, among others.
Source: Athens News Agency