Greece will hold the Presidency of the European Union during the first half of 2003 before handing over the reins to Italy on 1 July 2003. The Greek Presidency marks the new era on which the European Union has embarked in view of enlargement. The signing of the Accession Treaty in Athens on 16 April will be an historic moment not just for Greece but for all of Europe. Our common goal is a Europe of 450 million citizens with a stronger presence on the international stage, with institutions that are simpler and more transparent in their operation, and policies which embrace all citizens. The Greek Presidency will make every possible effort to achieve this goal.
The great challenge for the Greek Presidency is to successfully tackle a range of difficult political, institutional and economic issues in an unfavourable international conjuncture, by promoting policies which will benefit all European citizens and enhancing the perception that Europe belongs to everyone.
“OUR EUROPE. We share the Future in a Community of Values” is the message of the Greek Presidency, expressing its commitment to promoting a community of values that recognises the citizen’s right to security, democracy and a better quality of life. A community with institutions that guarantee participation and equality. A community which makes everyone feel that their voice is being heard, that they belong to this new great family, to our Europe, the Europe of all the European peoples, without exceptions and exclusions.
The logo of the Greek Presidency was inspired by Greek history… a fresco discovered at Akrotiri on the island of Santorini which dates back 4,500 years, the individual elements of which are expressive of both Greece and Europe.
The Greek Presidency has adopted a clear ideological and political stance. Its priorities are the following:
- The completion of the enlargement process.
- The speeding up of implementation of the Lisbon strategy.
- The undertaking of specific initiatives and the formulation of common objectives and uniform practices aiming at a more balanced and long-term tackling of the migration phenomenon.
- The first in-depth discussion on the Future of Europe based on the proposals of the European Convention.
- This discussion will be held within the framework of the European Council in Thessaloniki.
- In the field of external relations, the Presidency will focus its efforts on neighbouring regions, without however neglecting the Union’s obligations with respect to other areas of the world.