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

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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)

Holocaust Remembrance Day

» (GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Liberation of Auschwitz Anniversary

“Auschwitz took the lives of many; Greek Jews were dispro­portio­na­tely numerous among them. Greeks of other faiths also paid a heavy price, often in defence of their Jewish brethren.

Many have been declared Righteous among the Nations and their names are engraved at the Holocaust Memorial of Yad Vashem,” Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in a statement, issued on January 27, on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp.
This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration which launched a fertile rethinking of the Holocaust in Europe and Greece is proud to be among the original signatories of this epochal document, said Droutsas.

» “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau” 

At a press conference at Greece’s Press and Communication Office in New York, on January 26, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic and Historical Archives, Fotini Tomai presented a series of evidence, documents and testimonies that reveal and highlight the extent of human tragedy as recorded in the book “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau.”
This publication of the Foreign Ministry (in Greek and English) will be presented today at a special event at the Greek Consulate General in New York. 
See also: UN, International Holocaust Remembrance Day;
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: International Holocaust Remembrance Day;  Greek News Agenda: Special Issue – The Jews of Greece

The OSCE on a new path

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political Declaration Adopted

Foreign ministers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) 56 participating states charted the way ahead for the OSCE-anchored debate on the future of European security known as the Corfu Process in a decision and a Ministerial Declaration adopted yesterday after a two-day Ministerial Council held in Athens (December 1-2).
“The Corfu Process will be taken forward by our Permanent Representatives to the OSCE in Vienna, in accordance with the decision we are adopting today.
We remain committed to provide strong political impetus to the Corfu Process, and we are looking forward to reassessing its progress in 2010, in the format and level that we will deem appropriate, taking into consideration the results we achieve,” it is stated in the Declaration, which is the first to be adopted since 2002.
Athens Ministerial Council (dedicated webpage)

» Turning a New Page

Commenting on the Ministerial Council at a press conference, held at the end of the meeting, Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office George Papandreou referred to a new page in the Organisation’s history.
“We have committed ourselves in a joint document on how to face common challenges,” he said noting that, Kazakhstan’s task -which is assuming the Presidency of the OSCE for the next year-, is difficult.
But as the Greek premier stressed, “we proved today that if we want we can. The process can revive political dialogue and the tangible result was consensus.”

ON THE SIDELINES

» Meeting with Russian FM

The strategic nature of Greek-Russian relations and their excellent level was reaffirmed during a meeting in Athens on Wednesday between Prime Minister George Papandreou and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held on the sidelines of the OSCE Council in Athens.Papandreou accepted a formal invitation to visit Moscow in early 2010.

Papandreou and Lavrov discussed bilateral relations in all sectors, ranging from energy to culture and from regional cooperation to relations with the EU and NATO, and signed a 2010-2012 joint action plan to be renewed every two years.

» Meeting with Turkish FM

Prime Minister George Papandreou also met with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, with both sides citing closer cooperation in all levels.
The potential for the adoption of practical measures to boost cooperation of the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey in 2010 was also discussed at the meeting. Davutoglu spoke positively of Greece’s target for the EU integration of the western Balkans in 2014, and he confirmed Turkey’s intent for closer bilateral cooperation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece- Turkey

“Dialogue of Civilizations” Concludes

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The 7th Annual Session of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” concluded on the Dodecanese island of Rhodes yesterday (October 13) with the adoption of the “2009 Rhodes Declaration.”  The event was attended by 500 delegates from 70 countries and among the messages read out was one by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who praised the positive impact of the annual forum on several international and regional mechanisms and in developing relations between civil societies in many countries.  In its final meeting, the Forum decided to hold its 8th annual session on Rhodes once more, on October 7-10, 2010.

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.