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15/02/2005 22:33 Local Time 
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EU, US officials hold open discussion ahead of annual summit

Washington DC (ANA - T. Ellis) -- Greece's foreign minister George Papandreou, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, European Parliament president Pat Cox, US undersecretary of State for political affairs Mark Grossman, and US House of Representatives subcommittee on Europe chairman Doug Bereuter on Tuesday (early Wednesday, Greek time) said in Washington that it was necessary for the US and EU to return to a climate of cooperation, on the eve of this year's annual EU-US summit.

During an open discussion on trans-atlantic relations organised by the German Marshall Fund, Papandreou presented the conclusions of last week's EU summit held in Halkidiki, northern Greece, and noted Europe's desire for a relationsip with the US on an equal footing, since both sides of the Atlantic, despite any difference, generally held the same goals.

''We want you to see us as equals'', Papandreou said, and the position was reiterated by Cox.

Grossman said that Washington has for decades been a staunch supporter of the EU, and also of its enlargement, and described as a ''positive development'' the recent ''strategy for the security of Europe'' presented to the EU leaders by EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, sayng it indicated that the EU had the political will to confront international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Grossman congratulated the Greek EU presidency for earnestly supporting the need for trans-atlantic dialogue and for advancing the discussion of the ''real issues'' of concern to humanity today, which he said were the problems of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. He added, however, that the pronouncements needed to be followed by actions.

Papandreou, who currently chairs the EU Council of Ministers, said that the EU did not rule out the use of violence, but maintained that such action must have authorisation from the UN, and added that the European countries were determined to exhaust all diplomatic and economic means before being obliged to resort to the use of the 'extreme solution' of violence.

Grossman spoke of ''necessary flexibility'' in order that a multilateral approach was followed wherever possible, but added there must in tandem be preparedness for the use of violence when that was deemed necessary.

He futher noted the importance of the common values that united the US and Europe. 
Cox, in turn, maintained that the two sides of the Atlantic needed to cooperate more, and called on the US to accept Europe as an equal partner. He proposed close parliamentary cooperation so as to achieve common confrontation of issues arising and avoid the compicated procedures and distortions that follow the adoption of laws, which frequenly lead to clashes.

Cox said that the US was the most powerful war machine the planet has ever known, adding that thiis was a reality that would not change, but he warned that despite its strength, the US ''cannot do everything on its own''.

''You are perfect in war, but when you enter a country you need others in order to preserve the domestic balance and be able to leave in a short time and efficiently,'' Cox said.

The four officials condemned the ''extremist voices'' on both sides the the Atlnatic. Bereuter, speaking on behalf of Congress, endorsed a more substantive EU role in the Middle East.

Noting that he came from a farming state, Bereuter also urged Europe to accept GM (genetically modified) products, while on the multilateral confrontation of crises, he said that the majority of US legislators of both parties did not see the UN as a necessary organisation for the preservation of peace and security, ''and this is a reality that the Europeans must realise and take into consideration''.

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