Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday urged his European partners at the Warsaw 'Eastern Partnership Summit' to explore ways of institutional cooperation that will help promote stability and prosperity in both the eastern and southern zones of the European Neighbourhood Policy, stressing that this had to be reinvigorated. "Our strategic goal is and will remain to create a broader region of stability and prosperity both in the South and in the East and this could happen by promoting mutually beneficial institutional partnerships and converging on a series of common values and models, which will be built on the basis of the positive example and experience of the EU," Papandreou said.
The Greek premier underlined Greece's unique geographical position, which acted as a bridge uniting the eastern and Mediterranean dimensions of the European Neighbourhood Policy and noted that Athens had focused on developing both dimensions since the policy began.
"This is the reason why we warmly support strengthening the Eastern Partnership Relationship, as envisaged in the new neighbourhood policy, he added.
Papandreou proposed that the summit establish a small number of realistic and shared short-term and long-term targets, especially in areas of heightened interest that had a tangible impact on citizens, such as mobility, visas, tourism and energy.
"We will then be able to focus on their effective implementation for our mutual benefit," he said, adding that too ambitious a programme could become counter-productive.
"We must always keep in mind that the prospect of gradual economic integration of our partners in the EU internal market, to the degree that the meet the relevant conditions, is always a long-term target".
The Greek premier also underlined the need to finally take the Eastern Partnership and European Neighbourhood Policy onto a new level, so as to better face a series of challenges and better prepare for the future.
"Structural reforms, internal political tensions, natural gas routes, energy reserves, environmental risks, economic growth, illegal migration and organised crime are just some of the challenges that we face in the framework of the policy for the eastern neighbourhood," Papandreou noted.
"Promoting relations with our eastern partners, differentiated according to their needs but following, on the other hand, the pace of changes and performance, will be the cornerstone for a new, more dynamic and more efficient Eastern Partnership relationship," the Greek premier stressed.
He urged the summit leaders to reaffirm their continued and particular interest in the region and their willingness to promote cooperation in all areas, based on the conclusions of the European Council on June 20, 2011, exploiting the tools provided by the European Neighbourhood Policy.