24 September, 2005
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis concluded his visit here on Friday with talks with his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin, focusing on Europe, defence, culture, the Balkans, Turkey and "Rafal" warplanes. According to authoritative sources close to the Greek government, the two leaders talked about the necessity of strengthening Europe's defence identity. In this context, the French side referred to the French "Rafal" warplane and highlighted its advantages.
The Greek side replied that it is a serious option which shall be examined as a "fighter plane of the next generation." The same sources said that no pressures were exerted on this issue and nor were any commitments made.
As regards EU fiscal prospects, the perception of both sides focuses on the promotion of the last proposal made by the presidency of Luxembourg, with a full convergence of their positions being ascertained.
As far as Europe is concerned, both prime ministers agreed that it must forge ahead. If this proves to be impossible with the 25, then forms of strengthened cooperation must be examined with those countries desiring this. In this case, Greece expressed its explicit political will to be included in all the strengthened cooperations.
On the question of Germany, both want this country to be one of the key European countries, to express dynamic policies to enable the Franco-German "locomotive" to be in a position once again to set the pace of the development and strengthening of the institutions of Europe.
Regarding Turkey in particular, they agreed that messages to this country must be clear. The Greek side maintained that the conditions to be included in the negotiating mandate must be fulfilled but at the same time, however, Turkey's European prospect must also be clear.
The Greek side made it clear that the complete fulfillment of preconditions will lead to full accession. The French side appeared to be somewhat reserved, according to the same sources.
As regards the Balkans, the Greek prime minister stressed that the hope of their European accession must remain alive, whatever the difficulties, because this is the only path which will lead to stability in the region.
Source: Athens News Agency