Speaking in Vilnius today, the President of the European Council, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, congratulated the Lithuanian people and leadership on the successful outcome of their country’s bid to join the EU. Following talks with his counterpart Algirdas Brazauskas, Simitis referred to the referendum on Lithuania’s EU membership scheduled to be held this weekend (10-11/5), using the example of Greece’s experience to illustrate the “usefulness” of EU membership for both “economic and institutional reasons”.
Referring to the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Simitis spoke of the need for “the coordinated control of immigration”. In his talks with Brazauskas, he added, the leaders had discussed the necessity of multilateral cooperation in order to jointly confront the issue.
Replying to a question on terrorism, Simitis noted that the EU had already drawn up a list of terrorist organisations and that there was no need to renew it at the present time. Simitis underlined however that terrorism still remained a threat because of its origins (having its roots in economic problems and ideological factors) and the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained unresolved. Regarding the Mideast problem, Simitis underlined the readiness of the Greek Presidency to reactivate the peace process in order to facilitate implementation of the ‘road map’.