EU Foreign Ministers meet in Poland (Sopot, 2-3/9/2011)

Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis was in Sopot, Poland (September 2-3), to participate in the Polish Presidency’s informal (Gymnich) meeting of EU foreign ministers
During the meeting, Lambrinidis, together with his Cyprus counterpart Erato Markoullis, briefed their EU counterparts on the recent threats voiced by Turkey regarding the planned start of hydrocarbons exploration in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Topping the agenda was the Middle East peace process in light of the Palestinian side’s plan to bring the state recognition issue to the United Nations summit (New York, September, 19). Lambrinidis highlighted the need for the EU to maintain its unity within the UN, as well as to undertake a leading role in the process. 
The Palestinian issue was inevitably linked to Israel’s relations with neighbouring Arab countries, in the wake of the Arab ‘spring’ and days after the Paris international conference on the future of Libya.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece will defend its sovereign rights

The Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs issued announcements concerning the sea surveys conducted by “Piri Reis,” a Turkish naval research ship in an area between the Greek island of Kastellorizo and Cyprus.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the “Piri Reis surveys an area outside Greek territorial waters, however, Athens has claimed the rights to potential undersea mineral and fossil fuel deposits.”
National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that “Athens is watching closely” and that “in any case, Greece will defend its sovereign rights.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Differences with Turkey     [PHOTO]: Kastellorizo
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Άρθρο της “Καθημερινής” για τα Γραφεία Τύπου Εξωτερικού

Η φωνή μας στο εξωτερικό

Tου Σταύρου Tζίμα

Στις αρχές της εβδομάδας οι ακόλουθοι Tύπου των ελληνικών πρεσβειών προχώρησαν σε σαρανταοχτάωρη απεργία διαμαρτυρόμενοι για «την υποβάθμιση της σημασίας προβολής της εθνικής μας εικόνας στο εξωτερικό», όπως σημείωναν στο σχετικό δελτίο Τύπου. Δεν έκλεισαν δρόμους, δεν προέβησαν σε καταλήψεις πρεσβειών ή του ΥΠΕΞ, ούτε έκαναν φασαρία στα τηλεπαράθυρα, ώστε να αναγκάσουν την κυβέρνηση να μην προχωρήσει στο κλείσιμο ενός σημαντικού αριθμού εξ αυτών, για λόγους λιτότητας.
Οσοι δημοσιογραφήσαμε εκτός συνόρων ξέρουμε τι σημαίνει η παρουσία αυτών των ανθρώπων στις πρεσβείες μας για τη χώρα μας, σε μια περίοδο που πασχίζει να περισώσει ό,τι έχει απομείνει από το διεθνές της κύρος. Γιατί τα Γραφεία Τύπου επιτελούν ένα σημαντικό ρόλο στη διεθνή προβολή της χώρας, με ελάχιστα κατ’ ουσίαν μέσα, αλλά με στελέχη-απόφοιτους του Τμήματος Ακολούθων Τύπου της Εθνικής Σχολής Δημόσιας Διοίκησης, οι οποίοι συνδυάζουν μέσα από την εκπαίδευσή τους γνώσεις τόσο της διπλωματίας και διεθνών σχέσεων όσο και σύγχρονης επικοινωνίας.
Αυτοί με τις διασυνδέσεις τους στα ΜΜΕ φροντίζουν να τροφοδοτούν θετική δημοσιότητα και να αποτρέπουν αρνητικά δημοσιεύματα που διαμορφώνουν ανθελληνικό κλίμα. Με τα καθημερινά reports και τις πολύτιμες πληροφορίες τους, όπως αποδείχθηκε σε κρίσιμες στιγμές, βοηθούν την εξωτερική πολιτική, αλλά και την ασφάλεια της χώρας. Ποιος δεν θυμάται ότι τη νύχτα των Ιμίων, όταν η χώρα βρέθηκε στα πρόθυρα πολεμικής σύρραξης ήταν το Γραφείο Τύπου στην στην Αγκυρα που ενημέρωσε την Αθήνα ότι Τούρκοι κομάντος κατέλαβαν τη βραχονησίδα;
Δεν γνωρίζω πόσα χρήματα θα εξοικονομήσει η κυβέρνηση, καταργώντας δεκατέσσερα από τα σαράντα ένα γραφεία, σίγουρα όμως θα στερήσει τις διπλωματικές αρχές από ένα πολύτιμο, σύγχρονο εργαλείο που απευθύνεται όχι μόνο στις κυβερνήσεις, αλλά, κυρίως στην κοινή γνώμη της κάθε χώρας.
Αλλα κράτη, με πρώτες τις ΗΠΑ αλλά και την Τουρκία, εντάσσουν τη δημόσια διπλωματία στις δομές τους ως σύγχρονη πρακτική της διπλωματίας του 21ου αιώνα για την ανάδειξη του ρόλου τους και την εξυπηρέτηση των εθνικών τους συμφερόντων. Θα περίμενε κανείς ότι ο τομέας της επικοινωνιακής μας πολιτικής στο διεθνές περιβάλλον θα αναβαθμιζόταν με επαναπροσδιορισμό στόχων, καλύτερη χρησιμοποίηση του ανθρώπινου δυναμικού και γενικότερη αναδιοργάνωση ακόμα και με τη συγκρότηση αυτοτελούς υπηρεσίας υπαγόμενης απευθείας στο ΥΠΕΞ, αντίστοιχης με αυτής των ΗΠΑ, με σκοπό τη μεγιστοποίηση των αποτελεσμάτων και τη μείωση της σπατάλης πόρων. Επιχειρείται, δυστυχώς, το αντίθετο. Η προβαλλόμενη άποψη που θέλει τον ρόλο των Γραφείων Τύπου του Εξωτερικού υποβαθμισμένο λόγω των τεχνολογικών και επικοινωνιακών εξελίξεων στο πλαίσιο της παγκοσμιοποίησης και του φαινομένου του «παγκόσμιου χωριού» είναι μάλλον παραπλανητικό.
(Καθημερινή, 2/7/2010)

New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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)

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