May 16, 1963

May 16, 1963: French president Charles de Gaulle (C) is flanked by the then prime minister Constantine Karamanlis (R) and house speaker Costas Rodopoulos as they listen to the national anthems in front of the Greek parliament during the towering European statesman's official visit to Greece. De Gaulle's enthusiastic reception in Athens and Thessaloniki ' highlighted Karamanlis' effort, through his personal contacts with the German and French leaders (Konrad Adenauer and De Gaulle), to shift Greek foreign policy towards stronger ties with the nascent European Economic Community (EEC) after a decade of almost exclusive post-war dependence on US military aid and financial aid. Greece was the first country

to sign an association agreement with the six-member EEC bloc on July 1961. Barely a month after De Gaulle's visit, Karamanlis resigned over a row with the Greek throne, paving the way for early elections on November 3,1963, which put an end to Karamanlis' eight-year conservative premiership with the victory of George Papandreou's, Centre Union .

Dimitris Yannopoulos

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(Posting date 25 May 2006 )

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