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09/04/2005 00:29 Local Time 
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Greek Presidency: Tour of European capitals, Lisbon, 13/5/2003

Simitis - Barroso
Following his meeting with the Prime Minister of Portugal Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, Mr. Simitis stressed that “the rotating Presidency has a great advantage. We usually say that the European Union is detached from its citizens. They don’t understand it, nor do they understand how its decisions are made. With the rotating Presidency, the Union comes closer to its citizens. They see, feel, and understand that their country has an important role to play”. The Greek Prime Minister noted, however, that some adaptations are necessary since “the rotating Presidency has disadvantages, as well”.

During their meeting, in the context of the tour of European capitals, Mr. Simitis and Mr. Barroso reviewed the proposals for the institutional reform of the EU, and issues in relation to the Common Foreign and Security policy and migration policies.

Mr. Simitis noted that “the Thessaloniki European Council will probably propose that the Intergovernmental conference commences at the end of October – beginning of Novemebr”, mentioning also that “more Europe means closer cooperation and common action”.

Mr. Barroso stood in favor of the development of strong European institutions. “We need true devotion to a European vision. We need a strong Commission and a transnational ideal” he characteristically stated.

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