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Greece: 4th preferred destination in 2012

Providing interesting insights into the preferences of European travellers, the Eurobarometer survey reveals that 4% of European tourists are planning to spend their holidays in Greece in 2012, compared to 10% in Spain, 7% in Italy and 6% in France.
Moreover, Greece was the 6th most visited country in 2011. The survey also reveals that the majority of EU-residents are confident travellers, who prefer arranging their holidays by themselves, although they still rely on recommendations from family and friends about where to go. For this Eurobarometer survey, over 30,000 randomly selected citizens were interviewed in January 2012 in the 27 EU Member States as well as in Norway, Iceland, Croatia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Israel.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)
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PM George Papandreou`s intervention at the plenary session of the Eastern Partnership Summit (Warsaw, 30/9/2011)

By virtue of its location, Greece is uniquely positioned as a bridge linking the Eastern and the Mediterranean dimensions of Europe’s Neighborhood Policy and has promoted the development of both since the ENP’s inception. Therefore, we are very supportive of the strengthening of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) envisaged in the new Neighborhood Policy, based on our shared principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.
The re-launching and re-energizing of the Eastern Partnership, and of the European Neighborhood Policy as a whole, was long overdue. It was necessary in order to better respond to serious common challenges – political, economic, geostrategic, environmental or pertaining to security and energy – but also in order to better prepare for the future.
Structural reforms, internal political tensions, gas routes, energy supply, ecological risks, economic development, illegal immigration and organized crime, are only some of the challenges we are faced with in the framework of the Eastern Neighborhood Policy. Our engagement in the Eastern Neighbourhood is also a matter of consistency and credibility for the EU. Our strategic goal is and will remain the creation of a wider area of stability and prosperity, both in the South as well as in the East. This could only be done by boosting mutually beneficial institutional cooperation and by converging on a set of common values and standards, modeled on the EU positive paradigm and experience. Continue reading

PM George Papandreou at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit (Warsaw, 29-30/9/2011)

Prime Minister George Papandreou attended the EU Eastern Partnership Summit, held in Warsaw on September 29-30.
Addressing the summit, Papandreou urged his European partnersto explore ways of institutional cooperation that would help promote stability and prosperity in both the eastern and southern zones of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Papandreou proposed that the summit establish a small number of realistic and shared short-term and long-term targets, especially in areas of heightened interest that had a tangible impact on citizens, such as mobility, visas, tourism and energy.
“We will then be able to focus on their effective implementation for our mutual benefit,” he said, adding that too ambitious a programme could become counter-productive.
Η Σύνοδος για την Ανατολική Εταιρική Σχέση πραγματοποιήθηκε στη Βαρσοβία στις 29 και 30 Σεπτεμβρίου, στο πλαίσιο της Πολωνικής Προεδρίας της ΕΕ.
Στη Σύνοδο συμμετείχαν εκπρόσωποι 33 χωρών, μεταξύ των οποίων τα 27 κράτη μέλη της ΕΕ και οι έξι χώρες της Ανατολικής Ευρώπης και του Νοτίου Καυκάσου: Αρμενία, Αζερμπαϊτζάν, Γεωργία, Μολδαβία, Ουκρανία και Λευκορωσία. Την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση  εκπροσώπησαν οι Πρόεδροι του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου, Herman Van Rompuy, του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου, Jerzy Buzek, της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής, Jose Manuel Barroso και η ύπατη εκπρόσωπος για την εξωτερική πολιτική και την πολιτική ασφάλειας, Catherine Ashton.
Η Ανατολική Εταιρική Σχέση (ΑΕΣ) αποτελεί ευρωπαϊκή πρωτοβουλία που αφορά στη συνεργασία των προαναφερθέντων 6 χωρών της Ανατολικής Ευρώπης.
Την Ελλάδα εκπροσώπησε ο πρωθυπουργός Γιώργος Παπανδρέου.
Στο περιθώριο του δείπνου εργασίας στις 29 Σεπτεμβρίου, ο πρωθυπουργός Γ. Παπανδρέου είχε συνομιλίες με τους πρωθυπουργούς της Γαλλίας Francois Fillon, της Ισπανίας Jose Zapatero, της Πορτογαλίας Pedro Coelho, της Ιρλανδίας Enda Kenny, της Εσθονίας Andrus Ansip με την γερμανίδα καγκελάριο Angela Merkel, με τον αντιπρόεδρο της βρετανικής κυβέρνησης, Nicholas Clegg, με τους Προέδρους της Ουκρανίας Viktor Yanukovich, και της Γεωργίας Mikheil Saakashvili.
Στις 29 Σεπτεμβρίου ο πρωθυπουργός είχε, επίσης, συνάντηση με τον Πρόεδρο του Αζερμπαϊτζάν, Ilham Aliyev, με τον οποίο συζήτησε ενεργειακά και οικονομικά θέματα, καθώς και εθνικά θέματα, όπως το Κυπριακό.
Στο περιθώριο της Συνόδου στις 30 Σεπτεμβρίου, ο πρωθυπουργός Γ. Παπανδρέου συναντήθηκε με τον Πρόεδρο του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου, Herman Van Rompuy, με τον οποίο συζήτησε μεταξύ άλλων για την πορεία της ελληνικής οικονομίας και την υλοποίηση των αποφάσεων της 21ης Ιουλίου.
Συναντήθηκε, επίσης, με την πρωθυπουργό της Σλοβακίας Iveta Radicova. 
Τα κυριότερα σημεία της εισήγησης του πρωθυπουργού Γ. Παπανδρέου στο δείπνο εργασίας των εθνικών αντιπροσωπειών έχουν ως εξής:
“Είναι γεγονός ότι φέτος η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση χρειάστηκε να εστιάσει την προσοχή της σε άλλες γειτονικές περιοχές, κυρίως στο Νότο, λόγω των ιστορικών και ευρείας εμβέλειας εξελίξεων που σημειώθηκαν εκεί. Continue reading

“You in Greece” campaign – Facts about Greece

  Facts about Greece

· Greece is a safe country

Supportive data: According to Legatum Prosperity Index, Greece faces comparatively few security challenges. Domestic security is favorable. Moreover, according to Eurostat, Greece is a country with a relatively low rate of criminality. The feeling of security is well established in society.
· Greece is an attractive destination.
This comes not only due to its physical beauty but mostly due to the “value for money” relationship in the provided services.
Supportive data: According to a poll, conducted in a population of 1200 people,52% of the sample believes that the quality of travel services offered in Greece are of very good standard and 42% believes that the travel services offered in Greece rival those offered in other touristdeveloped tourist markets.

· Greece is a western democracy and the majority of Greek society supports government policy.
Supportive data: A recent research conducted by Kapa Focus research company on behalf of the weekly Newspaper ‘To Vima’, shows that 55,2% of Greeks support the austerity measures imposed by the Greek Government.
·  Demonstrations are strictly local and limited events/occurrences. They take place mostly in the center of Athens, in a specific and controlled area. The mainland regions and the islands of the Greek Archipelago, where the vast majority of tourists go, are not affected at all.
Supportive data: According to Eurostat, Greece is a favourite destination. Especially, in South Aegean and Ionian Islands, it appears that 48.168 stays and 33.304 per 1000 citizens took place, a proof of satisfaction for the Greek touristic product.
· Greece is a tourist country and Greeks know the importance of hospitality.
Supportive data: Zeus, the King of the Greek Gods, according to the Greek Mythology, named as Xenios (the one who offers hospitality) Zeus.
·  The overall number of demonstrations in Greece is lower than the E.U average.
Supportive data:All demonstrations occurred in Athens, in specific and isolated areas. In their vast majority they were peaceful.

· The picture that global media paint is, to say the least, in many cases exaggerating. In many occasions, library images were re-broadcasted as live feeds.
Supportive data: Greece is a pluralist, democratic western European country. Media freedom is protected and encouraged. During the last two weeks Greece hosted more than 300 foreign journalists.
(Greek National Tourism Organisation)

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)

Diamandouros re-elected EU Ombudsman

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The European Parliament (EP) re-elected Nikiforos Diamandouros as European Ombudsman with 340 votes out of a total of 648 valid votes cast.
Diamandouros was first elected to the post on April 1, 2003 and this will be his third term as European Ombudsman.
“I am very grateful for the support of the European Parliament and for this vote of confidence in my work.
I look forward to continuing my efforts to improve the quality of the EU administration and to promote a culture of service in the EU institutions for the benefit of European citizens”said Diamandouros, who was the first to hold the post of National Ombudsman in Greece.

Greek Portal for Over 50 Citizens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An internet initiative aimed at citizens over 50 now is now available in English and Greek. The www.50plus.gr/english website, established in 2005, provides information of interest to anyone over 50 years of age on issues such as employment, social policies, health and a variety of other subjects. “50+ Hellas” is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting the interests of the elderly and speaking out on their behalf. It is a member of AGE, the European Older People’s Platform, a European network of 144 older people’s organisations representing 25 million members and involved in influencing EU policy affecting older citizens.