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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-25

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] SEECP foreign ministers' Athens meeting concludes with joint communique on Kosovo
  • [02] Eurobarometer survey on energy

  • [01] SEECP foreign ministers' Athens meeting concludes with joint communique on Kosovo

    Foreign ministers from the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) meeting in Athens on Tuesday agreed on a joint communiqu? that overcame initial differences between the Serbian and Albanian delegations regarding Kosovo.

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who presided over the Inter-Balkan conference, again reiterated Athens' standing support for the European prospects of all countries in SE Europe. He spoke during a press conference with his Romanian and Croatian counterparts (the group's unofficial troika) after the session's end.

    He added, however, that enlargement is directly linked with the fulfilment of criteria by all candidate countries, without exception -- a reference to Turkey.

    Referring to the "name issue" with FYROM, the Greek foreign minister noted that the latter's recent qualification as an EU candidate-state should cause it to seek out a mutually acceptable solution to the only outstanding issue with Greece.

    "...and we hope that the neighboring country will meet its obligations to the EU," Molyviatis said.

    Regarding Kosovo, the Greek FM again reiterated the complexity surrounding the issue, while adding that yet another difficulty arose with the death of Ibrahim Rugova, for whom he expressed his condolences.

    "We confirmed our support for the Security Council's resolutions and the recommendations of the UN Secretary General's special representative ... and we reiterated our conviction that a solution must come through peaceful means and without the use of any form of violence," he said.

    "The creation of a democratic and multiethnic society is necessary for the European future of Kosovo," he said.

    The Inter-Balkan Conference's foreign ministers also emphasised the primary goals of promoting good-neighborly relations and regional cooperation, underlining that "the use of violence or threat to use violence does not befit the region's European prospects."

    Asked about the absence of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who missed his second Inter-Balkan session, Molyviatis dismissed any notion of Ankara downgrading the initiative, while adding that Turkey was represented by Minister of State Mehmet Aydin, a close aide to the Turkish premier.

    He also said that Bulgaria's request to assume the Inter-Balkan presidency after Croatia is fair and will be discussed in a positive spirit.

    The SEECP comprises Albania, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Greece, Turkey, and Serbia-Montenegro. The SEECP countries were represented at the Athens meeting by their foreign ministers, with the exception of Turkey, Romania and Albania, which were represented by other senior government officials. Moldova has observer status in the SEECP, and is tentatively slated to become a full member in May.

    Also participating in the session, as guests, were Austrian state secretary for foreign affairs (deputy foreign minister) Hans Winkler, representing the current Austrian presidency of the European Union, US ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, Russian ambassador to Greece Andrei Vdovin, director of the Central and South Eastern Europe division of the Japanese foreign ministry's European Affairs Bureau Akira Imamura, and SE Europe Stability Pact special coordinator Erhard Busek.

    Inaugurating the meeting earlier in the day, Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis said that the Euro-Atlantic orientation of the countries of SE Europe was the common link and incentive leading to democratic and social development and economic progress.

    The common volition was to "liberate our societies from the weights of the past and to broaden their horizons," he said, adding that "terrorist, extremities, corruption and organised crime have no place in these societies".

    On the prospects of SE Europe, Karamanlis said that the region needed to stop being an area of misunderstandings, violence and wars. "It deserves to become an area of cooperation and dialogue, creatively incorporated in broader international institutions, as a part of Europe, where it belongs," he said.

    Karamanlis particularly focussed on economic cooperation and the development of infrastructures, particularly in the sectors of energy and transports, which he said were necessary in order for SE Europe to be incorporated into the European Union.

    "The SE Europe Energy Community, in the framework of the 'Athens Process', the Trans-European Corridors, and natural gas and oil pipelines, are essential elements of these actions. We also believe that a Single Free Trade Area could also give new impetus to the economies of the region," the Greek premier explained.

    Items on the agenda of the SEECP meeting were strengthening the political dialogue among the countries of the region and boosting regional cooperation, cooperation for the development of regional infrastructures, the future readjustment of the Stability Pact for SE Europe activities, and the European prospect of the SEECP countries.

    The foreign ministers attending the session also discussed developments in current regional issues, with the main focus on Kosovo.

    The SEECP comprises Albania, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Greece, Turkey, and Serbia-Montenegro. The SEECP countries are represented at the AThens meeting by their foreign ministers, with the exception of Turkey, Romania and Albania, which are represented by other government officials.

    Also participating, as guests, are Austrian state secretary for foreign affairs (deputy foreign minister) Hans Winkler, representing the current Austrian presidency of the European Union, US ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, Russian ambassador to Greece Andrei Vdovin, director of the Central and South Eastern Europe division of the Japanese foreign ministry's European Affairs Bureau Akira Imamura, and SE Europe Stability Pact special coordinator Erhard Busek.

    [02] Eurobarometer survey on energy

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni) - Greeks believe that decisions concerning energy issues should be taken more on a European rather than on a national level, while the use of solar energy for Greeks is the best solution for reducing dependence on the import of energy sources, according to a Eurobarometer survey on energy issues.

    Furthermore, almost one in two Greeks would use their car less frequently if the price of fuel reached two euros per litre.

    According to data released on Tuesday by the European Union's "Eurobarometer", 61 per cent of Greeks believe that the decisions on energy issues should be taken on a European level, 31 per cent that they should be taken on a national level and six per cent on a local level. The result of the European public opinion poll shows Greeks first, after the Cypriots, among the Europeans who want the decision on energy issues to be taken on a European level. In Europe, 47 per cent of Europeans declare that they desire the decisions on energy issues to be taken on a European level, 37 per cent on a national level and eight per cent on a local level.

    Furthermore, Europeans (48 per cent) and more so Greeks (70 per cent) believe that solar energy is the best solution for reducing dependence from the import of energy sources.

    In the event that the price of fuel reaches two euros per litre, 48 per cent of Greeks and 50 per cent of Europeans declare that they would use their car less frequently.


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