Athens: EU lacking in maturity

In thinly-veiled criticism of the European Union for its pushing Greece to accept an arrangement in which NATO member Turkey would have a say in the functioning of the EU’s rapid reaction force, President Costis Stephanopoulos said yesterday, The European Union does not appear prepared to seek autonomy in the defense sphere. He was speaking at the start of a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the EU summit in Laeken, Belgium, over the weekend. Simitis also commented that the EU had not matured to the point of seeking an autonomous defense policy. At Laeken, Athens managed to force a postponement of a decision on the force’s relationship with NATO. Simitis is expected to discuss the issue with President George W. Bush in Washington on January 10. US Ambassador Thomas Miller said this is a subject that our governments have discussed at length. I think it’s best we leave these discussions behind closed doors. Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday warned people to exercise caution in using the new currency to avoid falling prey to profiteers.

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