The President of the European Council, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, held talks with his Slovenian counterpart Anton Rop in Ljubljana on Saturday, 24 May in view of the Thessaloniki European Council.
The two premiers discussed issues on the agenda of the European Council, in particular the Convention, the draft European Constitution, the Intergovernmental Conference and migration.
Simitis congratulated Slovenia on the country’s successful bid to join the EU, while Rop congratulated the Greek premier on the way Greece is exercising its Presidency duties. In addition, Rop welcomed the UN Security Council decision to lift the economic sanctions against Iraq.
“We will provide assistance in a variety of ways to the countries of the Western Balkans to help them continue their democratisation process,” Simitis stressed, referring to the decisions that will be taken in Thessaloniki regarding these countries. The decisions relate to further funding for common infrastructure network plans (electricity, motorways, etc.), cooperation to help the countries adjust their national legislation to the Community acquis, as well as coordinated efforts to combat organised crime.
Replying to reporters’ questions, Rop underlined that his country was in favour of strengthening the common European defence policy.
“However we would like any changes to be complementary to the role of NATO,” Rop said, adding that “the common declaration of the EU and NATO on issues of common security and defence in which both organisations are involved is very important for us.”