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EU-BLACK SEA STATES SUMMIT MEETING
Thessaloniki, 15 April 2002 (18:34 UTC+2)

Greece intends to organize a summit meeting of the Euro-zone member-states and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, BSEC, states in the first half of 2003 on the occasion of the Greek EU Presidency.

The move is placed within the framework of the government strategy for the exploitation of the Greek EU Presidency toward the rapprochement of the Black Sea states with the European Union.

The announcement was made by Greek Undersecretary of Finance Giorgos Floridis in the opening of the one-day conference organized in Thessaloniki by the Black Sea Commerce and Development Bank which coincided with its annual general assembly meeting.

The goal of the initiatives that will be launched next year will be the development of a joint strategic plan with specific targets and timetables for the economic reconstruction of the region and the strengthening of inter-border cooperation.

Mr. Floridis stated that programs should be drawn up in the sectors of telecommunications, transportation and trade, while import tariffs should be harmonized. In addition, agreements should be signed to deal with double taxation and mechanisms should be activated aimed at strengthening the banking system and combat organized crime.

European Commission General Director Athanasios Theodorakis, responsible for development issues, stressed in the conference that the southeastern European states should make a strong effort aimed at combating corruption, organized crime and international terrorism in view of their accession into the European Union.
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