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Enjoy a Movie under the stars in Athens

The arrival of summer in Athens is a big event: the high temperatures and the sweet climate just won’t let anyone stay at home. One of the most popular summer activities of the Athenians, as for back as the early ’50s, is the open-air cinema tradition.
Catching a movie in an open-air cinema means that winter is gone for good. Athens is home of more than 30 open-air cinemas, located on terraces, and gardens or jammed between apartment blocks. “Zefyros” in the beautiful Athenian neighborhood of Petralona, “Thission” in Dionysiou Aeropagitou pedestrian precinct or “Vox”” on a terrace in Exarchia square to name but a few.
The movies that are usually projected are reruns of first-run films from the winter period and remakes of famous classical movies.Watching movies under the starry sky, while enjoying your cold drink is a unique experience and the best choice for the warm summer nights in the city.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Προβολή του ελληνικού τουρισμού στο πολωνικό περιοδικό “Przeglad”

Cefalonia-Myrtos

Το περιοδικό Przegląd (τεύχος 29/25.07) με τίτλο «Η Ελλάδα πιο κοντά στον ήλιο» και υπότιτλο «Στα μέρη όπου ξεκουράζονται οι τουρίστες, επικρατεί ηρεμία και δεν φαίνεται η κρίση», δημοσιεύει τρισέλιδο άρθρο του Bronisław Tumiłowicz, όπου η Ελλάδα προβάλλεται ως δημοφιλής και ασφαλής τουριστικός προορισμός.
Στην εισαγωγή επισημαίνεται ότι την Ελλάδα κοιτίδα της δημοκρατίας, της επιστήμης και των καλών τεχνών, επισκέπτονται ετησίως 18 εκατομμύρια τουρίστες από διάφορα μέρη του κόσμου, καθώς η χώρα προσφέρει ιδανικές συνθήκες για διάφορες μορφές τουρισμού και μεγάλη ποικιλία τουριστικών μνημείων.
Στην ενότητα «Ζεστά, ηλιόλουστα και … φθηνά», σημειώνεται ότι «το τελευταίο διάστημα, αυτή η ειδυλλιακή και άνευ προβλημάτων εικόνα της Ελλάδας επλήγη από τις αναφορές που σχετίζονταν με την οικονομική κρίση και το υψηλό χρέος της χώρας. Όταν έφθασε η τουριστική περίοδος, οι τουρίστες άρχισαν να αναρωτιούνται εάν σε αυτή την όμορφη χώρα, όπου το κλίμα εγγυάται πάνω από 300 ηλιόλουστες ημέρες τον χρόνο, θα αντιμετώπιζαν κάποια δυσάρεστα επεισόδια ή περιορισμούς, εάν πράγματι λειτουργεί άψογα η τουριστική υποδομή […] Ορισμένοι τουρίστες άρχισαν να αναζητούν άλλα μέρη για να περάσουν τις διακοπές τους.
Την στιγμή που οι γεμάτες θέλγητρα τοποθεσίες, που βρίσκονται μακριά από την Αθήνα, και τα απομονωμένα από την ηπειρωτική χώρα καταπληκτικά νησιά, ζουν με το δικό τους ρυθμό. Εξαιτίας κάποιων δυσκολιών οι τιμές αυξήθηκαν, όμως δεν επηρεάζουν τις τουριστικές υπηρεσίες που παρέχονται. Επιπρόσθετα, τα τουριστικά γραφεία έχουν συνάψει συμφωνίες για τις τιμές των ξενοδοχείων από το 2009, γεγονός που συνεπάγεται την σταθερότητα των τιμών των υπηρεσιών. Όσοι επέστρεψαν από τις φετινές διακοπές στα ελληνικά νησιά, επιβεβαιώνουν αυτές τις πληροφορίες . Ήταν υπέροχα – ζεστά, ήρεμα και … φθηνά. Ο τουριστικός τομέας αντέδρασε όπως επιβάλλει η οικονομία της αγοράς».

Naxos island-Chora

Στο δημοσίευμα προβάλλονται δηλώσεις της Γραμματέως Επικοινωνίας του ΓΤΕ Βαρσοβίας, Μαρίας Μονδέλου, όπου σημειώνεται ότι «τα ξενοδοχεία αναμένεται να μειώσουν τις τιμές κατά 10%, συμπεριλαμβανομένων και των τελευταίων αυξήσεων του Φ.Π.Α. Θα καταργηθούν τα τέλη προσγείωσης των αεροπλάνων στα αεροδρόμια, με εξαίρεση μόνο τις πτήσεις εσωτερικού στο διεθνές αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας». «Όπως διαβεβαιώνει η κυρία Μονδέλου, η κυβέρνηση θα συνεργαστεί και με τους ξενοδόχους και με τους τοπικούς τουριστικούς φορείς για να καλύψει το επιπρόσθετο της παραμονής των τουριστών που θα πρέπει να παρατείνουν τις διακοπές τους στην Ελλάδα, για παράδειγμα λόγω διαδήλωσης ή φυσικής καταστροφής».
Στην ενότητα «Νησιά ηρεμίας», επισημαίνεται ότι τα πολωνικά τουριστικά γραφεία ή οι εκπρόσωποι μεγάλων διεθνών ταξιδιωτικών γραφείων που δραστηριοποιούνται στην Πολωνία και εξειδικεύονται στη διοργάνωση διακοπών στην Ελλάδα, διαβεβαιώνουν ότι η οικονομική κατάσταση της Ελλάδας δεν επηρεάζει άμεσα τους τουρίστες που παραθερίζουν στη χώρα. Οι διαδηλώσεις πραγματοποιούνται στην Αθήνα, ενώ οι Πολωνοί πελάτες παραθερίζουν κυρίως στην Κρήτη, την Κω, την Κέρκυρα, τη Ρόδο, τη Ζάκυνθο ή την Ολυμπιακή Ριβιέρα και επομένως, δεν νιώθουν οποιεσδήποτε ανησυχίες, ούτε διαπιστώνουν οποιεσδήποτε αλλαγές προς το χειρότερο. Εξάλλου τα τουριστικά γραφεία παρακολουθούν την κατάσταση επί τόπου και προβαίνουν στις ανάλογες ενέργειες».
Στο δημοσίευμα, αφού παρουσιάζονται προσφορές τουριστικών γραφείων, σημειώνεται ότι «οι κάτοικοι της Ελλάδας διαβεβαιώνουν ότι οι απεργίες ή οι διαδηλώσεις δεν θα απειλήσουν την ξεκούραση των τουριστών, μάλιστα δηλώνουν έκπληξη όταν πληροφορούνται ότι τα Μ.Μ.Ε. στην Πολωνία ενημερώνουν για γεγονότα που αγνοούνται ακόμη και από τις ελληνικές εφημερίδες και τους τηλεοπτικούς σταθμούς».

Magnesia region

Στην τελευταία ενότητα «Ασφαλής χώρα» υπογραμμίζεται ότι σε σύγκριση με άλλες δημοφιλείς στην Πολωνία χώρες, όπως η Τουρκία ή η Αίγυπτος,  η Ελλάδα είναι «η ασφαλέστερη χώρα που προσφέρει ύψιστο επίπεδο ξεκούρασης. Δεν σημειώθηκαν επιθέσεις ή απόπειρες κατά τουριστών. Οι εσωτερικές τριβές των πολιτικών δυνάμεων δεν έχουν καμία επίπτωση στους τουρίστες.
Διαφορετικά παρουσιάζεται η κατάσταση στην Αίγυπτο ή την Τουρκία. Πολύ σημαντική σε αυτή την περίπτωση είναι η στάση των κατοίκων της Ελλάδας – έχουν συνείδηση της δύσκολης οικονομικής κατάστασης, διότι αυτή επηρεάζει τα νοικοκυριά τους και ο κάθε Έλληνας ανησυχεί για το μέλλον του. Όμως ταυτόχρονα οι Έλληνες έχουν επίγνωση ότι από την τουριστική κίνηση στη χώρα τους εξαρτώνται πολλά. Τα έσοδα από τον τουρισμό ανταποκρίνονται στο ένα πέμπτο της εγχώριας παραγωγής».
Καταληκτικά ο Bronisław Tumiłowicz υπογραμμίζει ότι «περπατώντας στους γραφικούς δρόμους των παραθαλάσσιων τουριστικών περιοχών, μπορεί να εντυπωσιαστεί κανείς με την ηρεμία και την παράδοση που χαρακτηρίζει αυτά τα μέρη. Παρά την ελληνική κρίση, οι καφετέριες και τα εστιατόρια εξακολουθούν να είναι γεμάτα ανθρώπους που μπορούν να περνούν εκεί μερικές ώρες, διότι οι Έλληνες – όπως οι ίδιοι παραδέχονται – ξέρουν να αντλούν από τη ζωή τόσα όσο κανένας άλλος λαός. Και γι` αυτό αξίζει να τους επισκεφθεί κανείς».

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

United Nations Climate Change Conference begins

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Global attention is focused on Copenhagen which is hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference, beginning today, and continuing through December 18.
Greece fully endorses the decisions of the European Union concerning climate change. Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Tina Birbili announced that Greece is willing to commit to the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2020.
She said that Copenhagen talks must deliver a legally binding document which will incorporate the Bali Road Map and the ‘Kyoto Protocol.
She further noted that by 2010 Greece will have presented a time-framework and announced Prime Minister George Papandreou’s initiative to promote together with the Spanish EU Presidency a post-Copenhagen action plan for the protection of the Mediterranean from climate change. 
Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change: UN Climate Change Conference- Position of Greece; George Papandreou personal website: Position on Climate Change

Greek Bank Finances Climate Change Study

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  A committee of experts and academics from all relevant fields will carry out a study on the long-term economic, social and environmental repercussions of climate change on the country’s economy, Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos said yesterday (16.6). The study, which will be funded by the central bank, started being drafted in March and is expected to be completed in two years time.  Professor Constantine Drakatos, a member of the Academy of Athens will head the committee, in which a number of Greece’s most prominent scientists will be participating on a voluntary basis.   The project will not only give useful insight on the economy, Drakatos said, but will also mark the beginning of a permanent system of monitoring the environmental consequences of economic and political decisions.   Bank of Greece: Press Release (in Greek); Kathimerini daily: Bank funds climate change study

Climate Change Conference in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The impact of climate change as a challenge for the future generations with particular emphasis on the sensitive and vulnerable population groups of the Mediterranean countries, especially sick children, is the topic of the two-day international conference on “Climate Change and Challenges for the Future Generations.” The event opened Tuesday 2 june at the Athens Concert Hall and was organised under the patronage of UNESCO and in collaboration with the World Sustainable Development Forum. Speaking at the opening session, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis called for international effort, political intervention and coordinated action forward in order to save the planet’s environment. Karamanlis warned that if we do not act immediately, environmental degradation could become irreversible. Investment in a new economy, with respect for the environment, he stressed, was necessary. UN Intergovernmental Committee on Climatic Change (IPCC) President, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rajendra Pachauri -one of the keynote speakers at the conference- said that “climate change is a challenge for the present and future generations” and referred to the decrease in water reserves, big droughts, heat waves, the risk of wildfires and the reduction of farm crops as its repercussions in the Mediterranean region. Other keynote speakers include UN Secretary General Envoy on Climatic Change and former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, and cardiac surgery professor at the Imperial College in London, Sir Maghdi Yacoub. See also: Programme of the Conference

Athens Declaration on Climat Change

climate3(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The two-day international conference on “Climate Change and Challenges for the Future Generations” – under the patronage of UNESCO – concluded yesterday, june 3, with the adoption of the “Athens Declaration on Vulnerable Children and Climate Change,” which places emphasis on the urgent need to limit climate change and assume action facilitating the necessary adjustments.  “Vulnerable communities in the Mediterranean region, such as the elderly and the very young, especially those suffering from chronic diseases, are most likely to be among those who will be greatly affected by the destabilisation of the climate system coupled with the imminent disruption of the eco-system,” the declaration underlines.  According to the declaration, the Mediterranean region can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gases by increasing the use of renewable energy sources and promoting environmentally friendly technologies in important sectors of the economy.

The Athens Summit 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The two-day international Athens Summit 2009 conference on “The road to Copenhagen” opened yesterday with speakers focusing on managing the security of energy supply, providing energy security in Europe and beyond, and assessing the role of the countries of Southeastern Europe as a gateway to energy security and diversification.  Senior governmental officials, corporate leaders, financiers, and experts participate in the summit to discuss how the twin goals of energy security and managing climate change can be achieved to the benefit of all people. 

Papoulias’ Address

The inaugural speech was delivered by the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias. The President called for the collaboration of social forces beyond political parties for an economic and social vision to ensure viable development and protection of the environment, despite possible confrontation with vested interests. 

Papandreou’s Green Diplomacy

For his part, main opposition PASOK and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou stressed that Greece should take all necessary measures to increase “green” investments.  He called for a “turn toward quality products and the use of new technologies in all sectors (transport, health, tourism),” underlining the importance of investing in human resources through education.  He also noted that “Greece can play an important role as regards cooperation with the SE European countries and the Mediterranean region through ‘green’ diplomacy,” he stated.

The Athens Climate Change Summit 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENCY)   The two-day Athens Summit 2009 on “The Road to Copenhagen: Managing Climate Change and Energy Security in Southeast Europe and Beyond” – organised by the Institute for Climate and Energy Security in association with the Financial Times Global Events and C & C International Group of Companies – opens today.   The summit brings together Greek and foreign government officials, corporate leaders and as well as financiers and experts to debate and discuss how the twin goals of energy security and managing climate change can be achieved to the benefit of all.  It is part of a wider debate taking place worldwide, in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, in December, 2009. 

Greek PM Karamanlis in Sweden

karsou3(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis arrived in Stockholm on Monday for talks with his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt in light of the Sweden’s assumption of the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2009. Dealing with the ongoing international economic crisis, EU enlargement, combating climate change, and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty were the main subjects of discussion between the two leaders. Karamanlis briefed the Swedish side over Greece’s positions on Cyprus, Greece’s interest in Balkan development and the region’s Euro-Atlantic prospects. Regarding Turkey’s accession prospect, the premier reiterated that Athens supports it, as long as Turkey completely and effectively fulfils  the commitments it has undertaken vis-à-vis the EU. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Sweden

Greek Initiatives on Climate Change

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     Participating in the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poznań, (December 1-12), a meeting which brought together 192 United Nations member states and representatives from international organisations and NGOs, Greece took the opportunity to present its initiatives concerning the adaptation to climate change. First and foremost, Greece has incorporated the dimension of climate change into every bilateral programme and development cooperation project. In addition, acknowledging the gap reported between the developed world and developing countries in terms of adaptation to climate change, Greece is offering funding for less developed countries through agreements signed recently with the African Union and the Caribbean Community CARICOM. Similarly, support will be offered to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and it is for this reason that another €20 million have been earmarked for the next four years. Last but not least, the Greek Chairmanship of the Human Security Network (May 2007- 2008) emphasised climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable social groups. The Greek chair hosted a number of international events on this issue in 2008, and funded a relevant research programme carried out mainly by UN agencies, including UNICEF and UN University. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek Chairmanship of the Human Security Network- Policy Paper on Climate Change; Greek News Agenda: UN Climate Change Conference 

Greece at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Today the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poznań, (December 1-12) concludes with the participation of 192 United Nations member states and representatives from international organisations and NGOs. The purpose of the conference is to lay the foundations for the conclusion of a global climate treaty which will succeed the Kyoto protocol. The final agreement is expected to be signed in Copenhagen in 2009. Member states are called to agree upon specific targets and deadlines to curtail carbon emissions, a matter which is directly linked to the course of their economic activity. The conference has set out the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60-80% by the year 2050. Addressing the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for global solidarity on climate change and talked about a new “Green Deal,” while the European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas stressed that the European Commission aims at shifting the gear towards concrete negotiations and reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. In regard to Greece, the Commissioner noted that Greece’s economy will benefit immensely should the country choose to comply fully with the European aspirations. European Commission: Commissioner’s speech in Poznan & UN Climate Change Conference 2008; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek chair @ Human Security Network- Policy Papers on Climate Change; Secretariat General for Information: About Greece-Environmental Protection & About Brand Greece-Environmental Strategic Policies

Southeastern Europe Faces a Real Danger of Desertification

(REEK NEWS AGENDA)   Southeastern Europe faces a real danger of desertification and becoming another Sahara Desert in 100-150 years, underlined Sir Nicholas Stern – the United Kingdom’s Head of the Government Economic Service and Adviser to the Government on the economics of climate change and development, during the presentation of the Greek-language Executive Summary of his Report at the foreign ministry on Thursday27 November 2008. The Stern Review is one of the most important documents to have been published in recent years on how to confront the greenhouse effect.  The review’s basic conclusion is that immediate action, on a global level, to deal with climate change is not only an environmental and social imperative, but is also dictated by economics. Sir Nicholas underlined that to deal with the desertification risk SE Europe can seek to become energy producer for the entire Europe by using solar and wind power. Addressing the event, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis praised the contribution of the British government in the study of the economic dimension of the greenhouse effect and maintained that there is immediate need for an agreement to deal with climate change.  Stern Review: Final Report; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Human Security Network Conference on Climate Change  

Environment Matters in Greece: First Hydroelectric Power Grid

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)          The island of Ikaria will soon be opting out of the national power grid, as it will become autonomous in terms of energy consumption. The foundation of the first hybrid system in Greece, which will combine hydroelectric and aeolian (wind) modes of energy production, is being laid on October 25. A hydroelectric station will be built that will utilise waterfall from three different levels. The water will begin from an existing dam in the area of Pezi on the island, located at a height of 700 metres. In Pezi, there is a natural plateau. A rain storm is enough to fill up the natural reservoir in the plateau. The water will then be collected in three separate cisterns that will be built, at different levels, thus creating artificial cataracts. These cataracts will produce electric energy, capable of covering 85-90% of the islands requirements. The barrages will each have a capacity of 80,000 cubic metres of water. Deputy Minister of Merchant Marine Panayiotis Kammenos will inaugurate the energy plant tomorrow.  Centre for Renewable Energy Resources: Hydroelectric Energy; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Environmental Strategic Policies  & Energy Policy; Public Power Corporation: www.dei.gr; Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works: Climate Change; Greek Association of RES (Renewable Energy Sources) Electricity Producers: www.hellas.gr

Green Energy Technologies in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Delivering a speech on “Climate change and green enterpreneurship”  at the 73rd Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation Theodoros Skylakakis referred to the multiple benefits emanating from the enhancement of “the 21st new big industry” called green energy technologies. Greece aspires to acquire competitive advantage in fields such as energy-saving know-how and materials or solar cooling and heating. Furthermore, thriving sectors of the Greek economy such as construction, steel production and consulting can provide ‘fertile ground’ for profitable investments on environment friendly projects. Setting the example, the Secretary General made particular reference to a synergy between Hellenic Aid and United States AID (USAID) on renewable energy investment-tracing programmes and energy saving in buildings for 9 countries from the Energy Community of Southeast Europe. Promotion of renewable energy sources: Center for Renewable Energy Sources; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship

Environment: Top Priority for the Greek Government

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The “Athens Summit on Climate Change and Energy Security” (www.athens-summit.com) – the world’s first major international conference focused on the new paradigm of climate and energy security – opened yesterday, held under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias. A key objective of the summit is to formulate the Athens Declaration, an EU-Mediterranean 2020 Partnership to jointly achieve at least 20% energy savings and generate 20% energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. President Karolos Papoulias, who has spoken out in the past on environmental issues, used the opportunity to stress that last summer’s wildfires were an ecological disaster, adding that “the prevention apparatus has a great responsibility for it not to be repeated.” He emphasised that without institutional independence in environmental policy, it is difficult for effective action to be taken within the government. “The worsening of environmental problems is such that it requires the need for coordinated efforts to be assumed at a global level.”       Continue reading