Which states make up the European directorate? The question has once again surfaced after the London meeting, on Sunday, among the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Spain… Taking place shortly before the Laaken summit meeting, which is expected to shape the framework and the agenda of the course toward the 2004 Intergovernmental conference, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a crafty maneuver, proclaimed himself not only a participant but also the host of a meeting which could legitimately be portrayed and treated as a directorate. However, the current global situation – the military campaign in Afghanistan and the possible contribution of European troops to ground operations – should not mislead us. The states that met at Downing Street will not comprise a hard core that will negotiate and implement a course toward a reinforced intergovernmental or federal cohesion. Despite the impression conveyed by the recent British initiative, the European balance of power has remained unaltered. The nature of the nascent Franco-German relationship remains the central challenge. And this will become a real diplomatic headache for Blair. In this light, the discontent of the Greek government should not be interpreted as a complaint voiced by a state that has been left out, but as move dictated by constructive European realism. Allowing for a two-year transitional period before the measure is abolished comprises a genuine offer by the State to those who have planned plausible excuses to avoid sitting examinations for university entry. However, the authorities should make sure that this display of social generosity will not be exploited against its overall spirit and goals, a fact which would cause a precipitous rise in illegal transfers. It should be noted that the new system for university entry ensures that almost all pupils manage to enter the university, which in turn reduces the outflow of Greek students to foreign universities. It would be useful for students who genuinely wish to study abroad on a course which does not exist here to opt for quality institutions that will grant them the degrees they seek.

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