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PM`s George Papandreou visit to Poland

Prime Minister George Papandreou visited Poland on April 7 for talks with his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk and the country’s President Bronislaw Komorowski, in view of the Polish presidency of the EU, during the second term of 2011.
The two Premiers discussed the priorities of the Polish Presidency, especially in what concerns the Common Agricultural Policy, migration, as well as developments in the Middle East. Papandreou also made a special reference to his great-grand father’s Polish origins and the flourishing Polish community in Greece. 
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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PM George Papandreou in “Foreign Policy” Magazine

Prime Minister George Papandreou in an in-depth interview in the American magazine Foreign Policy (July 19) explained the reasons behind the crisis and the measures taken by his government in order to tackle it.
He stressed that with the support of the European Union, Greece decided against defaulting, which would cause insurmountable problems especially for the banking institutions in Greece and Europe alike.
He recognized that there was a lack of transparency; there was a lot of money that was lost, wasted, through a huge bureaucracy and patronage. Nevertheless, he highlighted that “we’re committed to changing the situation.
My government, for example, has now brought in laws such as total transparency in all signatures in the public sector, putting more and more tax reform resources and contracts online.”
The premier empathised with Greeks’ sentiments of unhappiness and pain, but “the wide majority of the people realize that we needed to make changes that were long overdue in our country, such as making governance much more responsible, and running the country much more transparent.”
Finally, he debunked recent media stereotypes of Greeks being lazy and concluded saying that: “we’ve seen in this crisis is that we need more Europe, not less…[ ]
…We need to find global governance and we need to find it based on some common values on which we can agree – democratic values.”
(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)

European Council Convenes

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The European Council opened its two-day proceedings in Brussels yesterday, December 11, with the participation of the heads of state and government of the European Union member states. During the European People’s Party (EPP) Summit, convened to focus on global financial crisis, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis emphasised on Thursday that the European economy is faced with a slowdown that entails consequences for all countries. In statements made after the meeting, he pointed out that a collective response is necessary through the coordination of national strategies and interventions, adding that the priority is to help the most vulnerable social groups and preserve a developmental momentum as much as possible while protecting jobs. The main issues on the Council’s agenda include the financial and economic crisis, EU energy and climate change policy, the Common Agricultural Policy, the Lisbon Treaty, external relations and the European Security and Defence Policy. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: European Council December Summit (Brussels, 11-12 Dec. 2008)

Greek Commander @ Helm of EU Naval Operation

The Council of the European Union adopted a Joint Action on an EU military operation on November 10 to tackle piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. Greek Commodore Antonios Papaioannou was appointed as the commander of EU naval forces in the area. The operation (EU NAVFOR, Somalia) under the code name “Atalanta” is the first naval operation launched by the European Union within the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana congratulated Papaioannou, adding that he brings “his considerable expertise and the experience of his national navy to his role as Force commander for this operation in a new area for the EU.”  The success of the operation will secure a safe passage for vulnerable vessels, including those of the United Nation’s food aid programme. Following the Governmental Council on Foreign Policy and National Defence’s meeting yesterday (12.11.2008), Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis announced that Greece will participate in the Atalanta operation. Ministry of Defense: Hellenic Navy & International Presence