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PM Karamanlis, Gates inaugurate Microsoft Centre

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Microsoft Corp. founder and chairman Bill Gates, and Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday inaugurated the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Athens.Karamanlis noted that “a society develops and progresses to the degree that it gives its members the opportunity, the tools and the liberty to open up new roads of progress themselves, in accordance with their own dreams, abilities and ambitions”, and stressed that “this principle of a people-centered economy of knowledge and innovation is embodied and served by Bill Gates, with his business, as well as his multi-faceted humanistic activity”.Karamanlis said that the building housing the Centre would serve as the operational hub of an important institutional cooperation aimed at strengthening innovation in Greece through full exploitation of the abilities of new technology, and concerns the public sector, business both small and large, education and youth.“The goal is, one the one hand the application of all the already available software tools in the economy and society, and on the other hand the development and production of new software applications,” Karamanlis said.The aim, he continued, is to ensure better services, boost competitiveness, and encourage the creativity, talent and innovative thought of the Greeks, as well as to provide the youth with a significant opportunity to try out their ideas in their own country, without having to move abroad, and to encourage new entrepreneurship and strengthen the branches of IT, communications — the entrepreneurship that is linked with the internet and its applications — as a percentage of GDP.Karamanlis explained that the collaboration with Microsoft was an organic part of the government’s strategy for the digital age, “a strategy that is already producing positive results, having made up much of the lost ground of the past”.The growth rates alone of the broadband penetration index were proof of the country’s new orientation, he said, adding that in just a short time, Greece had moved from “laggard” to a dynamic entry into the group of pioneer countries with respect to the use of new technology and, day by day, with determination, was acquiring the infrastructure to strengthen its role in the production of new applications as well.He said investment in information technology and communications technology was a prerequisite for the wider reform break from the past that the country so needed.It was a condition so that Greece may play a leading role in the new globalisation of knowledge, as the natural manager of the immense legacy of Hellenism’s historical and cultural heritage, but also as a hub of creation of new knowledge and new invaluable tools for the past and the common future of humanity.Karamanlis explained that there were two approaches in life, politics and the economy: the first approach was to remain at the stage of pinpointing the problems, of ascertaining the imperfections that hindered us from moving ahead, “it is the stage of conservatism and pettiness”. The second approach, he continued, was that of moving beyond pinpointing and ascertaining, it was a life stance that dares to tackle the problems and which, instead of waiting to see what the future would bring, dares to prepare the future, with targets and specific actions.“We need this second approach, and with initiatives such as this being inaugurated today with Microsoft’s founder, Mr. Bill Gates, with initiatives for innovation and creativity, we are laying the foundations so that this life stance will take root and prevail, for the benefit of the country and our society,” Karamanlis concluded.