Updated: 22-Jan-2003 January 2003

16 Jan. 2003


Lord Robertson meets Greek EU presidency

The question of how to make a reality of the huge bonus of linking the European Union's capabilities with NATO's security and defence assets dominated discussions between NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson and the Greek EU presidency in Athens, on 16 January.

This was Lord Robertson's first official meeting with the new EU presidency. He met Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Papandreou and Defence Minister Yanos Papantoniou. They discussed, in particular, the EU's intention to take over the responsibility for the mission carried out by NATO in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) at the end of March. The follow-up to the Prague Summit, including the capabilities initiative, was also discussed.

At a joint press conference with Costas Simitis, Lord Robertson stated that the European Rapid Reaction Force - due to be launched by 1 June - will be complementary to the NATO Response Force. "Over the next six months, the Greek presidency and myself, he added, must make sure that both the NATO capabilities objectives and the Helsinki headline goals for the European Rapid Reaction Force coincide and are mutually reinforcing."

"So, he stated, we have a joint mission together, Prime Minister, and I look forward very much to working with you on that and seeing success by the middle of 2003".

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name