Yours Excellency and Mrs. Samaras, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to greet You, Your Exellency, Mr. Minister and You, Mrs. Samaras this evening. This time of the year we Finns normally travel to the South, but You have arrived in midwinter to the arctic North. I regret that there was not time enough for You to visit Lapland, because the real winter is there.
We have had most useful discussions today on timely topics. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your constructive approach, Mr. Minister, which has enabled us to arrive at fruitful results.
The era of division in Europe belongs to history. This decade will be a decade of new possibilities for all of us. An undivided Europe is a great opportunity. A new Europe should be built on co-operation and increasing integration in both economic and political terms.
Economic and political interdependence is a fact in today's Europe. We are right now debating on an eventual membership in the EC. When considering membership we also face difficulties, which relate mainly to security policy, agriculture and regional questions. In case we apply for membership, we believe that our concerns will be properly taken into account.
Today Europe faces new types of security risks which partly result from ethnic conflicts, especially in the East. Despite our good intentions formulated in the Paris Charter I see the risk, that the social and economic gap on our Continent will further deepen.
Changes in Europe necessitate development in the structures and in the substance of international cooperation. Finland has always considered the CSCE an essential element and a framework for the new European Architecture. In March we will welcome You, Mr. Foreign Minister, to participate in the opening of the CSCE follow-up meeting.
Finland and Greece share many common interests. Our relations are excellent. We have co-operated towards same goals in opposite corners of our continent.
Your Exellency, dear colleague and Mrs. Samaras, may I propose a toast to You and the people of the Hellenic Republic of Greece.