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Karamanlis’s ‘wise’ policy toward Turkey-EU

Greece has expressed its support for Turkey’s accession process, on the condition that it fulfills certain criteria. What is your view of Greece’s stance? Greece has taken a very wise, constructive and intelligent stance toward Turkey’s prospects in Europe, a policy that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is implementing with consistency. We are all aware that there have been difficult problems in the history of the two countries’ bilateral relations. However, by merely glancing at the map one can immediately understand why Greece is the country most interested in Turkey’s future. For obvious reasons, economic and others. Greece is stating what is self-evident, that is, a country can join the EU only if it fulfills certain conditions. You have known Karamanlis a long time and have worked with him at length. Can you comment on your collaboration. I consider Mr Karamanlis my friend and I don’t use that word easily. We respect each other highly. He is dedicated to the ideals of the EU, to the European spirit. He is both a patriot and a Europhile. There are many common elements in the way Portugal and Greece view the EU. We do not see it as a foreign power trying to impose its will upon us, but we believe we are proud members of the EU who are contributing to it and benefiting from it. What is your view of developments in the Greek economy? It is going well. We are pleased with the efforts the Greek authorities are making toward (reducing) the deficit. We are satisfied that after a difficult phase with an excessive deficit, some real efforts have been made and I congratulate the Greek authorities on that. In this context, how will the economy be affected by an extended election campaign? You will not persuade me to talk about Greece’s internal affairs. It is up to the Greek authorities to decide when to hold elections. What I can say is that Greece has made a considerable effort to trim the deficit.