27 March, 2006
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis backed the common energy policy agreed by European Union leaders during the spring European summit held in Brussels on Friday and said that "economic nationalism" should not be allowed to sabotage efforts for European unification.
In statements after the summit, the Greek premier underlined the need for the "balanced coexistence of security, energy supply, efficiency and viable growth".
He also noted that recent developments in a "fluid international environment" made a common European strategy for energy even more imperative.
Karamanlis said that the summit had given him an opportunity to stress the importance of creating regional energy markets, while he referred to the example implemented in the Balkans, with the energy community of Southeastern Europe and the treaty that was recently signed in Athens.
While backing a common European energy policy in general lines, however, he also stressed the need to respect the particularities of each country.
Karamanlis said that Europe had to move faster and more efficiently, while adding that the 25-member EU was a mechanism operating on consensus and cohesive processes that often ran up against conflicting views and interests.
Asked if he was satisfied with the decisions made by EU leaders on Friday concerning revisions to the Lisbon strategy and the delays that have occurred, Karamanlis said that he might have had higher expectations but pointed out the many different angles existing within Europe.
Commenting on recent efforts by EU member-states to protect their state utilities from cross-border takeover bids, the Greek premier stressed that this 'protectionism' should not interfere with the course of European unification.
Asked if Greece intended to take similar measures to prevent the sale of state companies like Olympic Airlines or the Public Power Corporation (PPC) to foreign interests, the premier said that the position of the government known, adding that public utilities were often a "funnel for wasting public money".
Regarding OA, in particular, he said that it was common knowledge that a process was underway to create a new company in which private interests would have the majority share, while the PPC would be reformed but the government will continue to control a majority share.
Source: Athens News Agency