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Warsaw East European Conference 2010, 12-15 Ιουλίου – Ελληνική συμμετοχή

Το 7ο Συνέδριο Ανατολικής Ευρώπης (Warsaw East European Conference 2010) πραγματοποιήθηκε στη Βαρσοβία από τις 12 έως τις 15 Ιουλίου.
Θέμα του Διεθνούς Συνεδρίου: «Πού βρισκόμαστε; Πρώην κομμουνιστικές χώρες και χώρες της πρώην Σοβιετικής Ένωσης μετά από 20 χρόνια» και διοργανωτής το Κέντρο Ανατολικο-ευρωπαϊκών Σπουδών του Πανεπιστημίου της Βαρσοβίας.
Σκοπός του συνεδρίου, που πραγματοποιείται για έβδομη χρονιά, ήταν η προσπάθεια να δοθεί απάντηση στο ερώτημα: «ποιά είναι η κατάσταση των χωρών του πρώην Ανατολικού μπλοκ, είκοσι σχεδόν χρόνια μετά την ανεξαρτησία τους και τριάντα χρόνια μετά την ίδρυση της “Solidarnosc” στην Πολωνία το 1980;».
Σύμφωνα με το πρόγραμμα του συνεδρίου, επιχειρήθηκε η ανάλυση της τρέχουσας κατάστασης σε όλους τους τομείς που σχετίζονται με την κοινωνική και πολιτική ζωή, όπως οι αλλαγές στην οικονομία, το νομικό σύστημα, οι διεθνείς σχέσεις, καθώς και η νοοτροπία των κατοίκων, οι μεταβολές στον πολιτισμό, στην καθημερινή ζωή και στις κοινές αντιλήψεις. Το ενδιαφέρον εστιάστηκε, επίσης, σε γεγονότα της πρόσφατης ιστορίας της περιοχής, τα οποία είχαν καθοριστική επίδραση στη διαμόρφωση της σύγχρονης κατάστασης, τουλάχιστον ως προς τις πιο κυρίαρχες αντιλήψεις.
Η προσέγγιση των πολιτών των έξι χωρών-μελών της Ανατολικής Εταιρικής Σχέσης στην ΕΕ και η ανταλλαγή εμπειριών που σχετίζονται με τις μεταρρυθμίσεις των τοπικών κυβερνήσεων, ήταν μεταξύ των κυριότερων θεμάτων του συνεδρίου, στο οποίο συμμετείχαν 50 επιστήμονες από όλον τον κόσμο και πολιτικοί από την Πολωνία και τις χώρες της Ανατολικής Ευρώπης.
Στο πλαίσιο του συνεδρίου, διεξήχθη η Σύνοδος της Ανατολικής Εταιρικής Σχέσης, στην οποία συμμετείχαν επίσημες αντιπροσωπείες των έξι χωρών-μελών της Ανατολικής Εταιρικής Σχέσης (Αρμενία, Αζερμπαϊτζάν, Γεωργία, Μολδαβία, Ουκρανία και Λευκορωσία), αξιωματούχοι του Πολωνικού Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών και βουλευτές.
Η Σύνοδος πραγματοποιήθηκε στις 15 Ιουλίου στην Πολωνική Βουλή και είχε ως στόχο την οικοδόμηση μόνιμων σχέσεων ανάμεσα στην Πολωνική Βουλή και τα Κοινοβούλια των έξι χωρών-μελών της Ανατολικής Εταιρικής Σχέσης.
Η Ανατολική Εταιρική Σχέση δημιουργήθηκε με πρωτοβουλία της Πολωνίας και της Σουηδίας και στόχο την ενίσχυση της συνεργασίας της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης με την Αρμενία, το Αζερμπαϊτζάν, την Γεωργία, τη Μολδαβία, την Ουκρανία και τη Λευκορωσία. Δεν προσβλέπει στην ένταξη των έξι παραπάνω χωρών στην ΕΕ, αλλά έχει έναν ευρύτερο στόχο, την ενσωμάτωση των χωρών αυτών στην ευρωπαϊκή οικονομία και το ευρωπαϊκό δίκαιο.
Στο συνέδριο συμμετείχε ο Γεώργιος Κοϊνάς, υποψήφιος διδάκτορας του Πανεπιστημίου της Βαρσοβίας, όπου διδάσκει ελληνική γλώσσα (Σχολή Ανατολικών Γλωσσών του Κέντρου Ανατολικών-Ευρωπαϊκών Σπουδών). Θέμα της ανακοίνωσής του, «Το Ρωσικό Προξενείο στα Χανιά ως τοπική διπλωματική αντιπροσωπεία – Ιστορία και Πολιτική».
Ο ομιλητής αναφέρθηκε στην ίδρυση και τη λειτουργία του Ρωσικού Προξενείου στην Κρήτη στη διάρκεια του 19ου αιώνα και ανέλυσε την πολιτική του Προξενείου σε σχέση με το Κρητικό Ζήτημα, τόσο σε τοπικό όσο και σε διεθνές επίπεδο.
Ιδιαίτερη αναφορά έγινε στην περίοδο της Κρητικής Πολιτείας, δηλαδή του αυτόνομου κράτους που εγκαθιδρύθηκε υπό την προστασία των Μεγάλων Δυνάμεων, μεταξύ αυτών και η Ρωσία. Η παρουσία των ρωσικών στρατιωτικών δυνάμεων στο νησί αύξησε την επιρροή του Ρωσικού Προξενείου, το οποίο λειτούργησε ως ο συντονιστής των τοπικών Αρχών της αυτόνομης Κρήτης με τους ρώσους στρατιωτικούς αξιωματούχους που έδρευαν στο νησί.

Stability programme on “the right track”

The team of experts from the so-called “troika” (European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank), after completing their monitoring of the progress of the stability programme, said that the latter is “on track on all of the dimensions.”
 The government is ahead of the deficit reduction target set in the plan for this year and tax hikes are boosting revenues, according to the team.
The government is also making progress on more long-term economic reforms, which can help its future finances, they added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister George Papandreou, who attended the European Union Summit in Brussels yesterday, underlined that “his government is determined to go ahead with important and difficult reforms,” in order to put the country on the right path for achieving its goals. 
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou Interview at “Politique Internationale”

Few countries have suffered from the global economic crisis as much as Greece. Not only did it feel the full force of the financial earthquake, but it also found itself under attack by international speculators.
Today, as the IMF and the European Union prepare to help, the country is licking its wounds and trying to understand how things got so bad.
George Papandreou is not the last to ask the question. Elected prime minister in October 2009, the leader of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) is fiercely critical of the previous center-right New Democracy administration, which he believes is guilty of setting up a system of cronyism and of knowingly underestimating the public debt and budget deficit. But the new head of government is an energetic man.
In this exclusive interview, he outlines his strategy for resolving his country’s daunting problems.
http://www.politiqueinternationale.com/revue/article.php?id_revue=127&id=901&content=synopsis

PM George Papandreou at Economist Conference

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Addressing an Economist Conference on the 28th April in Athens, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed that “we should not let a small spark become a threat for the eurozone.”
[…] “The markets do not always function rationally and tend to evaluate the situation according to the worst possible scenario and not the most probable,” added Papandreou, underlining the government’s political will to proceed with deep and structural changes.
Focusing on foreign policy, Papandreou reiterated his proposal on the accession of the Western Balkans to the European Union by 2014.
Greek News Agenda: Economist Gov’t Roundtable

PM: “We`re on a new Odyssey for Hellenism

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) On April 23, Prime Minister George Papandreou formally requested financial support from the EU and the IMF.
“It is a national and pressing need to formally ask our EU partners for the activation of the support package that we jointly created,” Papandreou said in a televised statement from the southeastern island of Kastellorizo, where he was on a visit.
“We are on a tough course, a new Odyssey for Hellenism. But we now know the way to Ithaca and have chartered our course. Ahead of us lies a journey, a demanding journey for us all, but with a new, collective conscience and joint efforts we shall reach our destination safely… Our final goal, our final destination is to liberate Greece from supervision and trusteeship.”

PM Papandreou`s interview with Newsweek

Greece will decide whether or not to activate the EU-IMF support mechanism within the next few weeks, Prime Minister George Papandreou said in an interview with Newsweek magazine, on April16. 
Papandreou said that the aid package was not a programme for rescuing the Greek economy but would give Greece some “breathing space” in which to carry out necessary reforms, giving the government room to manoeuvre as it embarks on changes that would make the economy sustainable:
“We’re not looking for scapegoats. These are problems of our own making. Markets, however, take a snapshot of the day, projecting it onto the future. It’s difficult for them to evaluate the changes we are making: changes in mentality, changes in our political culture. That may take some time for the markets to realize. But we need a period of calm to make these changes happen. We just passed a new tax law, for example, that is a major revolution in our country. It’s more just and transparent, and it will target tax evaders. This will help slash our deficit. Those numbers are bound to come down”.

Greece`s presentation by the Greek Embassy and the Press Office at the European Information Centre in Warsaw (19/3/2010)

A presentation of Greece by the Greek Embassy and the Press Office in Warsaw took place at the European Information Centre of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 19th March 2010 (www.cie.gov.pl).
Various aspects of Greece were presented by the Deputy Head of Mission, Paraskevi Charitidou, and the Press Attache, Maria Mondelou.
The audience, 70  students of higher secondary schools of Warsaw, was informed about Greece`s geostrategic position, its political system, the participation in international organizations, such as the EU and the NATO, the Greek Presidencies in the EU.
A brief presentation of the Greek history, mainly during the modern and contemporary period, was followed by characteristic examples of Greek culture, in the fields of literature, poetry, music, theatre and cinema.
Views of the New Acropolis Museum were presented, as well as Greece`s request for the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles.
During the discussion, the students were informed about Greece`s foreign policy, the situation of the Greek economy, tourism, the educational system and the scholarships offered for foreign students. They were, also, particularly interested about the image of Poles in Greece and their life.
 The European Information Centre, that invited the Greek Embassy to make the presentation of Greece, organizes annually discussions with representatives of the EU member states.

Centrum Informacji Europejskiej  

Spotkanie z przedstawicielkami Ambasady Grecji
 19 marca 2010 r. w Centrum Informacji Europejskiej MSZ odbyło się spotkanie uczniów XL Liceum Ogólnokształcącego im. S. Żeromskiego oraz LXXV Liceum Ogólnokształcącego im. Jana III Sobieskiego w Warszawie z przedstawicielkami Ambasady Grecji. Ambasadę reprezentowały Pani Paraskevi Charitidou, zastępca szefa misji oraz Pani Maria Mondelou, Pierwszy Sekretarz w Biurze Prasowym Ambasady Grecji w Warszawie.
Prelegentki omówiły historię i system polityczny Grecji oraz aktualne działania Grecji w Unii Europejskiej. Opowiedziały również o warunkach studiowania w tym kraju i stypendiach dostępnych dla polskich studentów. Podczas prezentacji został wyświetlony krótki film o Atenach.
Po wykładzie miała miejsce dyskusja, w czasie której przedstawicielki Ambasady odpowiedziały na liczne pytania publiczności dotyczące stereotypów o Polakach, greckiej kultury, popularnych Greków, kryzysu gospodarczego, relacji z Turcją, aktualnego sporu między Grecją i Byłą Jugosłowiańską Republiką Macedonii przed Międzynarodowym Trybunałem Sprawiedliwości oraz doświadczeń czterech prezydencji Grecji w Radzie Unii Europejskiej.
W spotkaniu uczestniczyło ponad 70 osób.
(Polish text by www.cie.gov.pl)

Hellas:from Tourism to World Heritage

» “Kalimera”…It’s a Way of Life

“Kalimera”…the Greek word for ‘good morning’ is the new slogan for the advertising campaign of the Greek National Tourism Organization and Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The 2010 campaign was unveiled by the Deputy Minister of Tourism Angela Gerekou on March 8, and is based on a redesigned pattern of previous campaigns with the addition of the well-known greeting in the Greek language.
The campaign will be available through the renewed portal of Hellenic Tourism Organisation at the web address www.visitgreece.gr.
Kathimerini Daily: ‘Kalimera’ is the country’s new tourism motto    

» A Popular Tourist Destination

Greece is the fourth most popular tourist destination in the European Union for 2010, according to a new Eurobarometer survey on “The attitudes of Europeans towards tourism.”
The EU Eurobarometer poll unveiled on March 8 shows that tourism is one of Europe’s most important service industries, accounting for 5% of Europe’s GDP and 6% of employment. Greece is the fourth most attractive tourist destination, after Spain, Italy, and France. 
European Commission: Tourism-Upbeat Prospects for 2010 Season  

» “Med Diet” to Be Recognised by UNESCO 

The town of Koroni in Messinia Prefecture will represent Greece in an initiative put forth by four Mediterranean countries to have the “Mediterranean Diet” recognised by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity. 
Koroni from Greece, Cilento from Italy, Soria from Spain and Chefchaouen from Morocco will join forces to ask the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to include the diet to its World Heritage List.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou at the White House

» Meeting with Obama

Prime Minister George Papandreou met with US President Barack Obama in Washington yesterday.
After the meeting Papandreou said that the US is willing to work with the European Union to regulate the international financial system so speculators cannot target countries with troubled economies.
The premier said  that the issue of speculation will be discussed at the G20 summit in Canada, in June. The two leaders also discussed foreign policy issues such as the Cyprus issue, the integration of Western Balkans into Euro-Atlantic institutions, as well as Greece’s relations with Turkey.

» Visa Waiver

Furthermore, the US side announced that Greece will be included in the ‘visa waiver’ programme, thus enabling Greek citizens to travel to the US without a visa.
Papandreou termed the visa waiver “a vote of confidence” to Greece and noted that the Greek government is determined to respond to its obligations and cooperate closely at international level on the tackling of terrorism.

Kathimerini daily: US joins fight against speculators
The White House: Honouring Greek Independence Day (21.35mins)

» Papandreou’s Op-ed

In an op-ed published in the International Herald Tribune (IHT), Papandreou notes that the Greek case is not an outlier, but one more flare-up in a broken system of financial regulation and predatory behaviour.
“If global economic growth is to be sustainable, we need better coordination and greater solidarity between nations… We must now establish and enforce clear rules to contain the inordinate power of markets over our national economies and our common currency – not for Greece’s sake, but for Europe’s,” he stresses.
Prime Minister’s website: Meeting with President Barack Obama: Prime Minister’s statement ; Brookings Institution: Prime Minister’s speech & YouTube: PM’s speech at Brookings Institution  
New York Times & International Herald Tribune: Prime Minister’s article “Greece is not an island“; Hellenic Finance Ministry: Newsletter Updating Greek Fiscal Measures  
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Government announced austerity plan

» PM: “Sacrifices will Bear Fruits”

The government announced yesterday an additional set of measures bound to slash the double-digit public deficit.
Speaking yesterday at a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Papandreou said that the emphasis is now shifting to what the European Union will do. 
The new measures aim at bringing into public coffers some €4.8 billion, amount which corresponds to 2% of the country’s GDP.  

» Pay Cuts

In particular, the new measures include a 30% pay cut of public sector’s supplements allocated annually, and a 12% across the board cut of public servants’ benefits. Moreover, subsidies to public entities and their social security funds will be reduced by 10%.
Any additional remuneration in the public sector will be trimmed by 50%, and compensation for overtime work will shrink by 30%.

Executive bonuses in the public sector will be abolished and the Public Investment Budget will be curtailed by 5% (€500 million). As of 2011, the ratio for public sector hirings will be one for every five retirees.

» Taxation

VAT is expected to rise at all cases by an average 1% to 2% and an extra levy on fuel, cigarettes, liqueur and luxury products will be imposed.
A one-off tax of 1% on personal incomes above €100.000 will also be introduced, together with a 15% rise in taxation of offshore companies’ real estate property.
Kathimerini daily: Further Cuts and Tax Hikes Announced
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou`s interviews with international media

» The Economist

In an interview with “The Economist” in London (uploaded on February 23), Prime Minister George Papandreou says he understands the EU’s concerns but stresses his country is not asking for handouts:
George Papandreou on Greece’s woes & video 

» ABC Australia

The premier discusses his plans to deal with the nation’s crippling debt in the face of fierce anti-reform protests, in an interview Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Europe that was broadcast on February 24 on “Lateline” (information programme).
ABC.net: Greek PM discusses economic turmoil
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM Papandreou interview on BBC

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) “Greece is not looking for an EU bailout but for political support from its European counterparts” said Prime Minister George Papandreou in an interview yesterday on BBC One, on the sidelines of his visit to London.
“Give us the time, give us the support – and I’m not talking about financial but political support – in order to show you that what we’re saying is being implemented and we are credible again,” stressed Papandreou, emphasizing on the fact that Greece needs to borrow at the same rate as other countries.
Meanwhile, speaking to “Der Spiegel,” Papandreou expressed confidence that Greece can achieve its target to reduce its budget deficit by implementing serious economic reforms.
BBC News: Greece ‘not looking for bailout,’ Papandreou tells BBC  

PM George Papandreou in Moscow

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou arrived in Moscow yesterday for a two-day working visit during which he will be holding meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to discuss economic, commercial, military and political issues.
Speaking to the Itar-Tass news agency, ahead of the visit, George Papandreou said that the level of Greek-Russian relations is excellent while he described relations between the European Union and Russia as having strategic importance.
In another interview with the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti, the premier stressed that Greece is expecting political support and not economic aid from the European Union.
 “Greece did not appeal for economic aid to the international community or to the European Union. Greece intends and is capable of solving its problems alone,” the prime minister said.
Referring to the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, Papandreou said that its construction can begin in six months.

EU backs up Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The European Union yesterday, in a joint statement by the Heads of State or Government, agreed to take determined and coordinated action to safeguard financial stability in the euro area, and expressed full support for the efforts of the Greek government and their commitment to do whatever is necessary to get the country’s public finances in order.
European commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said that the statement was intended to end speculation that Greece would require a bailout package, while adding that “the Greek government believe they do not need financial support.”
Addressing a press conference at the end of the informal summit in Brussels and referring to this agreement to assist Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou said:

“our partners assessed and ascertained our will to change, we convinced them, following our great efforts, and it is necessary for us to continue. We will succeed.”
Greece is aiming to reduce its deficit by 4 % of GDP this year, largely through cuts in public spending and an increase in taxes. However, Papandreou said that he would not hesitate to adopt more measures if it becomes necessary.
Council of the European Union: Agreement to support Greece; Kathimerini daily: EU offers help but no specific money pledge

PM Papandreou meeting with French President Sarkozy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou flew to France yesterday, for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy – on an array of issues, focused mostly on economic matters – ahead of today’s European Council meeting.
After his meeting with the French president, Papandreou stated that the Greek government is committed to taking all necessary measures to fix Greece’s public finances.
 “We are ready to take any measures in order to cut public deficit to 8.7% of GDP in 2010 from 12.7% in 2009 and to meet the commitments the government has undertaken in its Stability and Growth Programme.”
Besides the pressing deficit and credit crisis burdening Greece, Papandreou said issues dealing with the Balkans, the Cyprus problem, climate change and even Europe’s position on the international stage were discussed.
Kathimerini daily: Premier talks tough but EU may offer help; Youtube.com: Greek prime minister in France for debt talks

Immigration Policy:Interview of Giorgos Tsarbopoulos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) In an interview with a Greek daily (Ta Nea), Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, head of the Greek branch of United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) comments on the government’s decision to overhaul Greece’s migration policy.
Tsarbopoulos admits that the draft law on granting citizenship to immigrants is a positive initiative but needs to be supplemented.
He says that naturalisation should be the first step within a broader social integration policy. Similarly, asylum policy needs to be enhanced by a well organised hospitality and welfare safety net.
What is important about the new asylum policy is that it disassociates itself from the police and that a new independent body is created to address the issue.
UNHCR recognises that within the European Union, the Dublin II Regulation has placed a disproportionate burden on Greece and advises other EU countries not to send back asylum seekers when their reception is deemed precarious. 
Greek News Agenda: UN Refugees High Commissioner in Athens & A Joint Letter on Immigration; UNHCR: 2010 Regional Operations Profile – Greece

PM George Papandreou at the World Economic Forum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Speaking as part of a panel – that also included Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet – at the annual World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland (January 27 -31), Prime Minister George Papandreou said that Greece would not leave the euro area and would use the discipline of membership to slash its budget deficit and make long-delayed structural economic reforms. “The answer is very simple. We went [to the market] for borrowing two days ago and we were five times oversubscribed. We’re not looking for money from anywhere else…” said Papandreou. He outlined an ambitious goal to reduce the deficit by four points this year and bring it below 3% by 2012, through measures taken as part of Greece’s Stability and Growth Programme (SGP)
The premier held a meeting with EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia yesterday, and the discussion focused on Greece’s SGP in light of the report that the European Commission will be submitting on February 3, on Greece. 
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso – speaking in Brussels on Thursday – stressed the need for the greater coordination of economic policies in the EU, emphasising that economic policies are not only a national issue, but European as well. Referring to Greece specifically, he expressed the conviction that the Greek government must be supported in its effort to fulfil its commitments in the framework of the SGP. 
See world reports – BBC.co.uk: Davos 2010: Greece denies a bail-out is needed; Reuters.com: Greece says being targeted as euro zone “weak link”

New impetus for Greek-Turkish relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A new impetus for Greek-Turkish relations was given yesterday following a letter by Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed to his Turkish counterpart, responding to prior correspondence between the two leaders.

The Greek side proposes the launch of a series of talks on the issue of the continental shelf, within a specific time limit and the option for both sides to resort to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in case of a dead-end.
Papandreou deems the Turkish proposal of establishing a High-level Council of Cooperation important and invites Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an official visit to Greece, sometime before summer, in order to set a time framework.
Moreover, the Greek Premier highlights the need for de-escalating tension over the Aegean Sea and stresses that military activity in the area must be avoided since it jeopardizes security and fuels tension. Referring to the pressure exercised on bilateral relations due to immigration flows’ movement, Papandreou reiterates the necessity for Turkey to abide by the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol (2001).
The premier concludes by expressing Greece’s support for Turkey’s European perspective, provided that the latter honours its obligations towards the Greek minority in Turkey and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Turkey Bilateral Relations & Greek-Turkish Rapprochement
[Photo from Papandreou’s visit to Istanbul, Turkey, October, 2009]

Greek foreign policy in 2010

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas outlined Greece’s foreign policy priorities for 2010 during a press conference held yesterday.

Together with Deputy Minister Spyros Kouvelis, Droutsas highlighted that protecting Greece’s sovereignty and putting an end to past inertia will constitute the ultimate objective for the country’s foreign policy.
Referring to issues of particular national interest, Droutsas stressed that Greece has conveyed a message of friendship and peace to Turkey and expects the latter to respond to it.
The alternate minister mentioned the possibility of a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister sometime in the near future.
On the Cyprus issue, underlined the government’s commitment to actively helping Cyprus with actions rather than words, pointing out that the first foreign visit carried out by Prime Minister George Papandreou had been to Cyprus.
As regards to the country’s relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the alternate minister reiterated that Greece enters negotiations with an open mind and keeps an edifying stance on the matter.
Droutsas pointed out that in the communiqué forwarded by the European Union in December, it was made clear that Greece’s support to FYROM’s European course depends on reaching a viable solution to the name issue.
Greek News Agenda:  Greek Foreign Policy- Challenges and Prospects

Prime Minister`s Belgrade Visit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou paid a short visit to Belgrade on January 4 to address the Annual Conference of the Ambassadors of Serbia. During his visit, the premier met with Serbia’s President and Prime Minister, Boris Tadic and Mirko Cvetkovic.

Speaking after his meeting with the Serb President, Papandreou said that bilateral relations are excellent and noted that his presence in Belgrade signals the beginning of an effort to enable the western Balkans to join the European Union in 2014.
“Greece is in the front line of the initiative that constitutes a basic aim for peace, cooperation, and stability in the region,” Papandreou said. 
Addressing the 3rd Congress of Serbia’s ambassadors, Papandreou said that 2014 is a crucial year for the EU accession of the Western Balkan states, stressing that this region has to make big steps forward and leave behind the wars and conflicts of the past.
The premier also referred to “global governance that is in the making,” stressing, among other things, that “national states are gradually becoming incapable of handling global problems by themselves, such as climatic change, immigration and organised crime,” and called for global cooperation and regional alliances. 
See also: Athens News Agency: PM reiterates support for Serbia’s EU course