Brussels, 17 December 2013

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ev. Venizelos’ statement ahead of the European Council 

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos made the following statement in Brussels today, 17 December, ahead of the upcoming European Council:

“At today’s General Affairs Council, we prepared the Conclusions for the European Council convening this Thursday and Friday.

One of the major issues is Common Security and Defence Policy. Defence industry plays a decisive role in the context of this policy. This takes us to the major problem of EAS and ELVO in Greece. I am pleased that we are heading towards a mutually acceptable solution. This is linked to the broader choices we are making, as the European Union, in the sector of security and defence policy. But we cannot favor defence industry rhetorically, politically, and then create legal and bureaucratic problems. So I am pleased that this was raised and that we are moving towards a solution.

Another major issue is Enlargement. Greece supports Enlargement and the Euroatlantic perspective of the Western Balkans. But the issue that exists with FYROM, with Skopje, is not a bilateral issue, and neither is it an issue that concerns the name. It is a much deeper issue of democracy and rule of law; a much deeper international issue in the framework of the UN; a pan-European issue of the Copenhagen criteria that must be met by all candidates for membership in the EU. We will support the country’s European perspective, provided there is a show of good faith and compliance with the European principles.

And, moreover, I express my satisfaction at the fact that, during the Hellenic Presidency, the accession negotiations will start between the European Union and Serbia, which is very important not just for the European integration of Serbia, but more broadly for the whole region, including Kosovo, naturally, because in this way we are encouraging the substantial dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.”

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