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Greek Presidency, Tour of EU Capitals: London, 22/5/2003

Blair-Simitis
“The Greek Presidency, like many other European countries, believes that Great Britain should be part of the eurozone,” Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said after talks with his British counterpart Tony Blair. Simitis was in London as part of his tour of EU capitals in his capacity as President of the European Council. Replying to reporters’ questions, Simitis said the issue of the UK joining the eurozone was not discussed at his meeting with Blair. He added however that “when the EU has a new Constitution, procedures will be simpler if all the countries are participating in the eurozone. Otherwise, procedures will be difficult, that is to say, if a very important EU country such as Great Britain is not participating in the eurozone”.

When asked about the possibility of the Convention failing in its task (due to differences of views among the Member States), Simitis underlined that although the European Union had faced many crises in the past, “it is continuously progressing, sometimes at a slow pace and sometimes with difficulty”, drawing a comparison in this respect between the EEC of the 1960s and the EU of 2003.

Replying to a question about “strong British objections on issues concerning the European Constitution”, Simitis said that after visiting 13 European capitals, he had formed the view that “a compromise is possible” before going on to cite a number of specific examples of coalescence of conflicting proposals regarding the composition of the Commission and the reform of the institution of the Presidency.


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