BRUSSELS.- ANA – Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking at the end of prolonged negotiations on the issue of Europe’s first constitution on Friday night, expressed his absolute satisfaction over the positive conclusion of the talks and stressed it was a great day for Europe.
Referring to the second issue examined during the European Union’s summit in Brussels, that of the European Commission’s new president, Karamanlis said the Irish EU presidency spent limited time on the issue on Friday night and when it realised there was little hope of finding a compromise solution it ended the summit without specifying when it will be reconvened to address the issue.
He further said on the question of the new European Commission president that it was logical that the European People’s Party (EPP), which emerged as the strongest force in the recent Euroelections, to want to have an important and considerable role in the issue.
Karamanlis said he expressed this position in all contacts and discussions which took place in the Belgian capital over the past two days, adding that the issue of a vote was never raised during the summit since the EU never appeared to be approaching mutually acceptable solutions.
Continuing his comments on the issue, the prime minister said there are many capable personalities in the EPP who could become the European Commission’s president.
Asked whether Europe of the “25” differs from the old Europe, Karamanlis said this is true, but this was also the desire of the EU. He also predicted that it was reasonable that the new member-states would pass from the stage of gradual adjustment to established EU practice and this already appears to be happening with the adoption of the European constitution by the Brussels summit.
Also asked whether, following the adoption of the European constitution, the issue will egain be raised of former Prime Minister Costas Simitis being elected to one of the EU’s senior posts, Karamanlis let it be understood that if the issue of the former prime minister’s candidacy was raised then Greece would clearly be supporting the candidacy.
Lastly, on the question of whether he is satisfied by the fact that a series of EU decisions will continue to be adopted with unanimity, Karamanlis said the dominant view in united Europe for many years is that compromise solutions must be sought and the use of a veto must be avoided.
“Life itself has proved this,” he concluded.
The main opposition PASOK party, in an announcement on Saturday concerning the outcome of the European Union’s summit in Brussels, praised the agreement reached on the constitutional treaty as a positive step for the deepening and integration of the European Union.
“PASOK believes the agreement on the constitutional treaty reached yesterday (on Friday) by the leaders of the 25, in Brussels, constitutes a positive step for the deepening and integration of the European Union,” the announcement said.
However, it adds that “many steps are still necessary and a common political will to enable an independent Europe to be created. One with a strong social dimension, cohesion and solidarity which will promote the European citizen and his rights at the centre of common policies.”
The announcement further said “the PASOK government and George A. Papandreou, as foreign minister, all through the years and during the Greek (EU) Presidency, contributed with ideas and initiatives, particularly in the sector of social policy, to the shaping of the draft constitutional treaty which was approved by the leaders of the European Union at the European Council in Thessaloniki. We achieved arrangements on a series of issues such as for our islands, tourism, mutual military assistance and the clause on a social Europe. This was a strong negotiating achievement in a desirable result for Greek interests. For this reason certain changes made in the agreement’s final text concerning crucial issues of the country create scepticism.”
The announcement further stressed that “we are expecting an analytical briefing from the government and relevant ministers on the final outcome of negotiating so that the content and significance of the clauses of the new constitution can be fully evaluated by the political forces and the Greek people.”
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Saturday, termed the European constitution agreed at the European Union’s summit in Brussels on Friday night, a “noose round the neck of European peoples” and a “higher institutional shielding of the dictatorship of the European plutocracy.”
The announcement further said the European constitution includes all of the EU’s previous agreements consolidating the freedom of capital and the overturning of the achievements of the working class and adopts the American military doctrine of a “pre-emptive strike” against a country or countries with the pretext of combating terrorism.
“The leaders of member-states promoted at the summit the strengthening and creation of new suppressive apparatuses. The EU summit showed that the imperialists are united when they are going to attack peoples, while their disagreements only concern who will have the upper hand in distributing the loot. The Greek government is continuing the tradition of the previous PASOK one. It can pretend no more. The masks have fallen,” the announcement added.
The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, in an announcement on Saturday referring to the new European constitution agreed during the European Union’s summit in Brussels on Friday night, denounced it as binding the EU to the framework of NATO and American imperial policy.
“The Coalition rejects the draft European constitution shaped because it enacts the principles of neo-liberalism as being permanent, it does not consolidate individual and social rights and the freedoms of citizens and binds the EU to the framework of NATO and of American imperial policy,” the announcement said.
According to the Coalition, further grants and concessions were made for Euroatlantism in final arrangements contained in the text of the constitutional treaty, while discussions on the European Commission’s new president moved in the same direction.