19 January, 2008
Illegal immigration, the issue of Kosovo and European cooperation in tackling natural disasters were the main topics of discussion during the second day on Friday of the Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers from the European Union's Mediterranean Member-States, the so-called 'Olive Group' which took place in Cyprus with the participation of Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis.
"Illegal immigration constitutes one of the most important problems in the Mediterranean. Immigration flows have increased a great deal and the pressure we are experiencing is great. As far as Greece is concerned it is now imperative that the EU proceeds even more boldly and in a more coordinated manner with policies and actions that will secure the best cooperation possible at political, but mainly at operational level with the cooperation of the coast guard of all the European countries," Valinakis said.
On the issue of Kosovo, Valinakis said that "what is crucial for our country is the day after. A day after on which stability in the region, the greatest possible legalization and the clear European prospect of Serbia must be safeguarded at the greatest degree. The role of Europe is vital in all this. For this reason, the cohesion and the EU's unity of action must be safeguarded."
Lastly, in relation to the handling of natural disasters, the deputy foreign minister referred to the considerable initiatives taken by Greece with the aim of strengthening the European Civil Protection Mechanism.
"What is required is strengthening cooperation and improving coordination at operational level between the European Member-States. Meaning that we should pass from the political proclamation to action and to implementation," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency