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Joint European-American Business Council and AHI Breakfast Features Greek Ambassador Discussing Priorities of Greece's EU Presidency
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
January 30, 2003 No. 4 (202) 785-8430

Joint European-American Business Council and
AHI Breakfast Features Greek Ambassador Discussing
Priorities of Greece's EU Presidency

WASHINGTON, DC—On January 29, 2003, the European-American Business Council (EABC), with its co-sponsor the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), hosted a breakfast event at the Westin Embassy Row Hotel featuring Greek Ambassador to the U.S. George Savvaides as special guest speaker. Ambassador Savvaides discussed the priorities of Greece's Presidency of the European Union (EU), which commenced on January 1, 2003 and will conclude at the end of June 2003. The moderator for the event was EABC co-chairman Hugo Paemen.

During his address, Ambassador Savvaides reiterated the message of the Greek Presidency, summarized by the tagline, "Our Europe: Sharing the Future in a Community of Values." According to the Ambassador, "Our message reflects a purpose to promote a community of values, values which recognize citizens' right to security, democracy and a better quality of life; which will create institutions guaranteeing their participation and equality; and which will make the European citizen sense that his or her voice is heard as a member of the new single family."

With this overriding goal in mind, Ambassador Savvaides outlined the five priorities of the Greek Presidency. First, with the greatest EU enlargement just completed in December 2002, "the Greek Presidency will implement the timetable for the accession of the ten new member states" and facilitate their integration into the EU, said the Ambassador.

In line with the Lisbon Strategy on competitiveness, employment and social cohesion, the second priority outlined aims to make the European economy "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy," relying on significant reforms to "promote faster growth, employment, prosperity and improved quality of life."

Third on the list of priorities to be aggressively pursued is immigration, asylum and management of borders—areas that have not yet been addressed adequately in comparison to the magnitude of the phenomenon of immigration. Furthermore, Ambassador Savvaides pointed to a need for a long-term, positive strategy with regards to immigrants, stating that "Over and above questions relating to illegal immigration, joint border management and asylum, there should be a more global approach to the economic and social integration of immigrants."

Ambassador Savvaides also cited the upcoming European Council meeting in Thessaloniki in June 2003, at which the first in-depth debate on the new constitutional treaty for the EU will take place. Regarding this debate, the fourth priority of the Greek Presidency is to ensure that the EU: (1) will be effective and capable of making and executing decisions to promote a cohesive Europe; (2) will "operate as a democratically organized system, closer to the European citizen and based on the principles of transparency and the equality of member states;" and (3) "will evolve as a strong factor for stability and cooperation in the international system" based on international law and democratic norms.

The final priority outlined by Ambassador Savvaides was external relations. The ambassador stated that, "the Presidency will concentrate its efforts on regions of close proximity, without ignoring the Union's commitments towards other areas of the world." He also stressed the importance of continued close cooperation between the EU and the U.S., underscoring the binding force of shared values and interests.

For additional information about the joint EABC-AHI breakfast featuring Ambassador George Savvaides, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or chrysoula@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our website at http://www.ahiworld.org. For information regarding the activities of EABC, please link to http://www.eabc.org.


Comprised of over 70 EU and US companies, the European-American Business Council (EABC) is the leading business association active on transatlantic trade, tax, regulatory and investment policy. The EABC distinguishes itself from other groups by its success in providing a forum for dialogue on transatlantic issues, preventing bilateral disputes and roadblocks to desirable policy outcomes, shaping quality and workable issue strategies, and helping member companies achieve business objectives

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and its affiliate organizations, the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF), and the AHI Business Network, a division of the AHI, are working together under one roof, to provide a joint program for strengthening United States relations with Greece and Cyprus and within the American Hellenic community.