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Foreign Minister N. Kotzias’ statement to ERT TV following the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 14 November 2016)
Following the proceedings of today’s meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 14 November 2016), the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, made the following statements to Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) TV:
JOURNALIST: Mr. Minister, what is the message from yesterday’s informal dinner of the 28?
N. KOTZIAS: The EU tried to redefine and to seek the goals of the cooperation on the Euroatlantic level. The same subject was discussed today regarding another country, Turkey, though from another perspective of course. The Council looked at the course of EU-Turkish relations and assessed the situation within Turkey. We then had a discussion of the Balkan countries and certain relevant activities, during which reference was made to certain matters that have arisen with Albania and with the Balkan region in general. Finally, we talked about Libya and Syria, where the situation continues to be unstable and complex.
JOURNALIST: On the matter of Albania, the Netherlands believe that the accession negotiations should begin following the elections in our neighbouring country. What is our position on that?
N. KOTZIAS: Our position is that Albania should meet all five criteria – and not just to one concerning the judiciary – for the process of accession to the EU to have substance.
JOURNALIST: Concerning Turkey, was there any progress or any commitment from the Europeans on maintaining the key criteria they are asking for with regard to the discussion on visas?
N. KOTZIAS: As I have been participating for 24 years now – in one way or another – in negotiations between the EU and Turkey, I have found that there are times when there is a very friendly – sometimes even absurd, I would say – attitude to Turkey, and times, like today, when the criticism of this country is not always productive.
JOURNALIST: Did you find any reservations, on the [EU] partners’ part, concerning the results of the U.S. elections, mainly with regard to EU-American relations?
N. KOTZIAS: I think that, as usual, those who monitor a country’s politics through opinion polls are later astonished by how inaccurate the polls are.