KARAMANLIS-PöTTERING MEETING

Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met with Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, at Maximos Mansion. The two men discussed the developments in the European Union after the June European elections, the financial turmoil and the Lisbon Treaty. The Greek Premier thanked Pöttering, whose term is about to expire, for the excellent level of cooperation they had. Pöttering, on his part, praised Greece for its contribution to the strengthening of the institutions of the European Union with the ratification of the Treaty. After the meeting, the President of the European Parliament toured the New Acropolis Museum.

The two men exchanged views on the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and the enhancement of the European Parliament's role. Karamanlis assured Pöttering that Greece will support the work and initiatives of the European Parliament.

Pöttering, on his part, referred to Kostas Karamanlis in the most glowing terms, reiterated his admiration for Greece and thanked the Greek government and the opposition for their backing to the Lisbon Treaty.He also thanked House Speaker Dimitris Sioufas for his commitments to the European ideal and underlined, "The nations that have not yet ratified the Lisbon Treaty should follow Greece's example."

He then visited the New Acropolis Museum, showing his interest in the exhibits, and congratulated Greece on the impressive museum.

Pöttering said that history is present in the museum and voiced his joy when he heard that the negotiations on the return of the Parthenon Marble has resumed.After the tour, both the House Speaker and the Culture Minister underlined the necessity for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Museum director Dimitris Pantermalis termed the visit of the European Parliament President as a great honour and said he was impressed on his knowledge on the ancient Greek culture.