31 March, 2006
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived here on Thursday to take part in the 17th conference of the European People's Party (EPP).
He was accompanied, among others, by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, National Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.
Addressing the conference, Karamanlis underlined that regarding the front for the combatting of terrorism and of the foreign enemy, that "in the internal front, new types of threats which our societies confront, require a collective response. This in no way means compromises to human rights and political freedoms. On the foreign front, the European Union must be in a position to guarantee the respect of its foreign borders and of territorial integrity."
The Greek prime minister referred to the challenges which the EU is facing, noting that it is at a crucial curb.
"Europe must come closer to its citizens. The crisis which we are facing today is not an institutional crisis. It is a crisis of trust. We must restore the trust of the citizens to the European effort and to effectively deal with their concerns," Karamanlis said.
He added that "the challenge we are facing is not to build a strong union of states but a strong union of citizens."
The prime minister said the deepening of the EU is delaying compared to the enlargement and noted that "the proper balance must be found between assistance, solidarity and individuality, with a rational distribution of competencies."
Regarding the challenges of globalization, Karamanlis underlined that they require a targeted answer, as "the common aim is for us to make Europe the most dynamic and competitive economy in the world."
In this procedure, "growth, productivity and competitiveness should go hand in hand with the creation of new jobs and employment opportunities, social cohesion, better living conditions for all citizens and guarantees for the protection of the environment. Such a Europe will respond to the concerns of its citizens," Karamanlis said.
The prime minister underlined that citizens will not feel detached from the European vision, if transparent procedures and giving opportunities to everyone to take part in the process of the shaping and implementation of policies, are followed.
Source: Athens News Agency