Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Greek PM warns FYROM, Turkey of their EU prospects

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday sent a message to Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) regarding their European prospects.

Athens News Agency quoted Karamanlis as saying that Greece supports the European prospects of all countries in southeastern Europe.

All European Union criteria must apply for every candidate member country, he said.

The Greek prime minister stressed that FYROM should "enrich its positions" on the issue concerning its name in order to "reinforce its approach to the European family."

Greece is at odds with FYROM, demanding a change in the land- locked republic's constitutional name "Macedonia," on the grounds that its adoption conceals irredentist designs against the northern Greek province Macedonia.

Karamanlis said Greece has shown good will, adding that it is time for the other side to do the same. "Our views are very clear, " he said.

The prime minister reiterated that he was in favor of Turkey's European prospects and noted that he was following developments in the neighboring country.

He said a functioning democracy is a fundamental criterion for the EU. The Turkish government and other democratic forces, he said, will guarantee and safeguard democracy in the country, which cannot be influenced by other forces.

Karamanlis has also promoted during the summit Greece's proposal for the establishment of a Center of Regional Development based in Thessaloniki, second largest city in Northern Greece, a proposal which was received positively by the other Balkan leaders.

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