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Letter of invitation by the President of the European Council, Prime Minister C. Simitis to the leaders of EU Member states for the Thessaloniki summit, (17/6/03).

“I look forward with great pleasure to welcoming you on 19 and 20 June to the Thessaloniki European Council.  The tour of the capitals which I have just completed gave me the opportunity to inform you of the Presidency’s intentions and aims for this Council and also to hear your own ideas and opinions.

With this letter I should like to inform you of the course of the proceedings on the basis of the annotated agenda prepared for us by the GAERC.

The proceedings of the Thessaloniki European Council will begin on Thursday 19 June at 19.00 with our customary meeting with the President of the European Parliament, Mr. P. Cox.

At 19.30 we will continue our discussion on the subject of Immigration and Asylum in order to round off the discussions we started in Tampere and continued in Seville.  The Greek Presidency places particular emphasis on the following points:

- Assumption of new initiatives for effective coordination, on an operational basis, of border guard forces at the Member States’ external borders.

- Good cooperation by third countries in the control of immigration flows as part of their conventional relations with the EU.

- Adoption of new initiatives and speeding up of t hose already existing on the subject of asylum and the social integration of immigrants.

- Approval of the minimum resources required for the financing of a European Policy on Immigration.

At the working dinner at 21.00, wee shall discuss the latest developments and the emerging prospects in Iraq and in the Middle East.  At the same time, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs will have the opportunity to review developments in Iran and N. Korea and to have a discussion in preparation for the Solana report on European Security.

On Friday, 20 June, between 09.00 and 12.30, the Chairman of the Convention, Mr. Giscard d’Estaing, will have the opportunity to brief us, in the presence of the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Pat Cox, on the outcome of the Convention.  He will present the draft Constitution of the European Union.  We will then discuss the Convention’s proposals with the Chairman of the Convention.  After he and Mr. Cox have left, we will move on to take the necessary decisions for the convening of the forthcoming intergovernmental Conference.

During the working lunch which will follow from 13.30 to 15.00, we shall have the opportunity, together with the Foreign Ministers, to discuss the Solana report on European Security and the progress of Translatlantic Relations, ahead of the forthcoming EU – USA sumit (25/6).

At the afternoon session, which will begin at 17.00, we shall examine the Council conclusions.  I hope that our meeting will finish at 18.15.

At 18.15 we shall assemble for the family photograph.

At 20.00 I shall have the opportunity, together with Mr. Prodi and Mr. Solana, of meeting representatives of the three candidate countries, in order to brief them on the outcome of the Council.

On Friday 20 June at 21.30, we shall attend the official dinner being given for the Heads of State or Government and the Foreign Ministers by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Stefanopoulos.

On Saturday, 21 June, I shall have pleasure in inviting you to the EU – Western Balkans summit, from 09.00 to 10.30, when the adoption of the Common Summit Declaration is scheduled.  The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lord Ashdown, the Special Representative for Kosovo, Mr. Steiner and the Special Coordinator for the Stability Pact, Mr. Busek, will also be participating.  The summit will first be addressed by the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Cox and the NATO Secretary – General, Lord Robertson.

At 11.30, the Heads of State or Government and the Foreign Ministers, together with their spouses, will have the opportunity to take a cruise around Mount Athos, during which lunch will be taken.  We will be returning the same afternoon at around 16.00.

I shall be delighted to welcome you to Chalkidiki and look forward to achieving concrete and positive results in our discussions.”

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