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Italy and Greece prepare a joint platform for the EU presidency

29 July 2013 / 17:07:17  GRReporter
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Victoria Mindova

Greece and Italy are planning to draw up a joint platform for the presidency of the European Union (EU). The two countries will take over the EU presidency in 2014 one after another and they are planning to align their programmes related to the illegal immigration, the economy and energy, as became clear at the joint press conference which the two Prime Ministers gave in Athens during the visit of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta to the capital of Greece.

"2014 will be a crucial year for the future of Europe," stated Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, explaining that Greece will take over the EU presidency in the first half of 2014 followed by Italy in the second half. The Italian Prime Minister has invited his Greek counterpart on a visit to Rome in October in connection with the development of the joint platform.

The Greek Prime Minister notes that the illegal immigration has reached dangerous proportions for the European periphery which requires targeted measures to master it. He insists that, over the past year, Greece has done a lot to limit the entry of illegal immigrants but the extradition problem remains unsolved.

With regard to the economic crisis, Letta states that West Europe had made serious mistakes in the past, but now the time is ripe for a change of course. According to him, if Greece’s foreign lenders had been more far- sighted, the recession would have not been as deep as it is now and the unemployment rate would have been lower. However, he stresses that the reforms and fiscal consolidation measures should continue to apply. "I hope that the measures adopted by the government of Greece in recent weeks will soon begin to bear fruit," said Letta, stressing that the austerity measures are not an end in itself but are aimed at laying solid foundations for the economy.

Samaras explains that Greece will form a primary budget surplus this year which is crucial for its financial stabilization, stressing that the deep recession hinders development. According to him, the international lenders should help stimulate the economic growth along with the implementation of the fiscal consolidation measures in order for Greece to be able to emerge from the economic crisis as soon as possible.

Regarding the energy field, the heads of Italy and Greece paid particular attention to the joint project for the building and start-up of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

"TAP is one of the largest infrastructure projects that have taken place in southern Europe," states the Greek Prime Minister."This is a huge success for the two countries. TAP is one of the largest infrastructure projects that have taken place in southern Europe," said the Greek Prime Minister, adding that the project will put Greece on the world energy map. The signing of the tripartite agreement for the construction of the pipeline which will carry Azeri gas to Europe has demonstrated the importance of the relations between Greece, Italy and Albania and has marked the beginning of a new stage of cooperation between the countries of southern Europe.

Enrico Letta paid particular attention to the long-term nature of the TAP project. It will not only strengthen the importance of the three countries in the European energy policy, but will create significant synergies over the next 20 years. "For us, as politicians, there is nothing more important than bequeathing such an important project for the future generations."
The Greek Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to his Italian counterpart for having responded to the invitation to visit Athens at the time of a tragedy in Italy and presented his special condolences to the families who have lost relatives and friends in the bus crash near Avellino near Naples this weekend.

Tags: PoliticsGreeceItalyTAPGas pipelineEU Presidency
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