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22 January, 2003
Greek justice minister Philippos Petsalnikos, current chairman of the EU Council of Justice Ministers, on Tuesday presented the priorities of the Greek presidency on justice issues, a ministry announcement said.
Addressing a Brussels meeting of the Europarliament Committee on citizens' freedoms and rights, justice, and home affairs, Petsalnikos said that the main axis of the Greek presidency's policy was the creation of a common area of freedom, security and justice, the press release said.
''I believe that our course toward that direction should be governed by two basic principles'', the minister said.
''First, respect for human rights, democratic institutions and the just state forms the foundation of the European Union and the justification basis for all of its policies. Second, our policy will have to be balanced, rational and all inclusive'', he said.
He said that those two principles constituted the basic criterion for formulating the priorities of the Greek presidency and that the creation of minimum rules to protect the rights of suspects and defendants, as well as the debate on the course of the European Convention on issues of justice would be included in the agenda of the informal justice ministers' council.
Petsalnikos said that there was an obligation for forming a consolidated strategy in the area of justice and those issues should be prioritized in the light of such strategy.
Source: Athens News Agency