The presidents of the Arraiolos Group countries started a two-day meeting in Krakow, south Poland, on Tuesday to discuss the economic crisis in Europe, transatlantic relations and the November Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.
Present are state heads of Finland Sauli Niinisto, Latvia Andris Berzins, Germany Joachim Gauck, Portugal Anibal Cavaco Silva, Italy Giorgio Napolitano and Poland Bronislaw Komorowski. The presidents of Austria, Hungary and Slovenia, which are Arraiolos Group members, have not come to Krakow.
Presidents of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev and Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves are the meeting's special guests.
The Tuesday sessions in Krakow's historical Wawel Castle focused on ways to overcome the European crisis and transatlantic relations. The presidents agreed that the EU needed deep reforms on the national and community level with a special focus on removing barriers hindering the common market.
Opening the meeting President Komorowski recalled that the Krakow meeting was held on the group's 10th anniversary. Addressing the Plevneliev and Ilves, Komorowski said he hoped their presence would be an important element of the meeting.
"We are in a special place in the heart of Poland. A heart which has always been open to outside contacts", the president said.
Komorowski aide Jaromir Sokolowski said Komorowski spoke out for tighter trade ties with the US and supported the signature of a transatlantic trade and investment partnership agreement.
The Wednesday sessions will focus on NATO and its role as a binding factor between Europe and the US and the November Eastern Partnership summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, including the planned signature of an EU Association Agreement by Ukraine.
Today's programme envisaged also an organ concert and a dinner given by President Komorowski.
The Arraiolos Group consists of Austria, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy. The group's first meeting took place in October 2003 in Arraiolos, Portugal.
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