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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)

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)

PM George Papandreou`s interviews with international media

» The Economist

In an interview with “The Economist” in London (uploaded on February 23), Prime Minister George Papandreou says he understands the EU’s concerns but stresses his country is not asking for handouts:
George Papandreou on Greece’s woes & video 

» ABC Australia

The premier discusses his plans to deal with the nation’s crippling debt in the face of fierce anti-reform protests, in an interview Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Europe that was broadcast on February 24 on “Lateline” (information programme).
ABC.net: Greek PM discusses economic turmoil
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM Papandreou interview on BBC

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) “Greece is not looking for an EU bailout but for political support from its European counterparts” said Prime Minister George Papandreou in an interview yesterday on BBC One, on the sidelines of his visit to London.
“Give us the time, give us the support – and I’m not talking about financial but political support – in order to show you that what we’re saying is being implemented and we are credible again,” stressed Papandreou, emphasizing on the fact that Greece needs to borrow at the same rate as other countries.
Meanwhile, speaking to “Der Spiegel,” Papandreou expressed confidence that Greece can achieve its target to reduce its budget deficit by implementing serious economic reforms.
BBC News: Greece ‘not looking for bailout,’ Papandreou tells BBC  

PM George Papandreou in Moscow

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou arrived in Moscow yesterday for a two-day working visit during which he will be holding meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to discuss economic, commercial, military and political issues.
Speaking to the Itar-Tass news agency, ahead of the visit, George Papandreou said that the level of Greek-Russian relations is excellent while he described relations between the European Union and Russia as having strategic importance.
In another interview with the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti, the premier stressed that Greece is expecting political support and not economic aid from the European Union.
 “Greece did not appeal for economic aid to the international community or to the European Union. Greece intends and is capable of solving its problems alone,” the prime minister said.
Referring to the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, Papandreou said that its construction can begin in six months.

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

Tax and spending policy

» PM: Tackling Economic Woes

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a Cabinet meeting that discussed the draft tax bill and public-sector incomes policy.
He said that the government’s efforts to tackle the country’s economic problems will focus on three axes: reducing public debt, promoting growth, and accelerating legislative and institutional measures.
Papandreou stressed that the government’s primary duty was to save the economy, striving for fair solutions that would protect the lower and middle classes as much as possible.

» FinMin: New Tax Rates

A range of public spending cuts and tax adjustments were presented by the government yesterday, following an announcement last week by the premier that drastic measures would be taken to prevent Greece from defaulting.
Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou unveiled more specific policies, which included plans to cut the salaries of the premier and his ministers, a moratorium on hiring in the public sector this year – excluding however health services –  as well as changes to the tax system, which will now contain more tax brackets and will lead to higher earners paying more.

PM George Papandreou at the World Economic Forum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Speaking as part of a panel – that also included Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet – at the annual World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland (January 27 -31), Prime Minister George Papandreou said that Greece would not leave the euro area and would use the discipline of membership to slash its budget deficit and make long-delayed structural economic reforms. “The answer is very simple. We went [to the market] for borrowing two days ago and we were five times oversubscribed. We’re not looking for money from anywhere else…” said Papandreou. He outlined an ambitious goal to reduce the deficit by four points this year and bring it below 3% by 2012, through measures taken as part of Greece’s Stability and Growth Programme (SGP)
The premier held a meeting with EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia yesterday, and the discussion focused on Greece’s SGP in light of the report that the European Commission will be submitting on February 3, on Greece. 
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso – speaking in Brussels on Thursday – stressed the need for the greater coordination of economic policies in the EU, emphasising that economic policies are not only a national issue, but European as well. Referring to Greece specifically, he expressed the conviction that the Greek government must be supported in its effort to fulfil its commitments in the framework of the SGP. 
See world reports – BBC.co.uk: Davos 2010: Greece denies a bail-out is needed; Reuters.com: Greece says being targeted as euro zone “weak link”

Economist Joseph Stiglitz to visit Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz is invited to participate at an open debate, titled “Discussion and debate with Joseph Stiglitz: in or out of the economic crisis?,” organized by the Economist and Hazlis & Rivas conferences, on February 2. 
Prime Minister George Papandreou will inaugurate the conference with an opening address, focusing on the government’s effort to fulfil the twin aim of monetary restructuring and growth.
Ministers, the leader of the opposition New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras as well as representatives of business associations will also participate at the conference.
Meanwhile, Stiglitz has contributed an article (January 25) in the ‘Comment is Free’ section of The Guardian, under the title “A principled Europe would not leave Greece to bleed,” urging Europe to show support for the honesty and integrity of Greece’s government and its efforts not only to bring the budget under control, but to increase transparency of the entire budgetary framework and to reduce corruption.

PM George Papandreou at the Council of Europe

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasburg on Tuesday where he initially referred at length to globalisation and its effect on the world, before detailing Athens’ positions on a variety of issues of Greek and regional interest, including Greek-Turkish relations, respect of international rules, Turkey’s European orientation as well as the financial crisis, the Cyprus issue, human rights and the role of the European Council.
 In his speech, Papandreou stressed the government’s steadfastness to face the economic crisis, stating that “we are determined to put our house in order.”
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Report (26.1.2010)  

Greece in the Euromed space

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Greece in a Changing Euro- Mediterranean Setting: Guidelines for Future Action is a research monograph by Dimitris Xenakis, published by the Hellenic Centre for European Studies (www.ekem.gr).

After examining the changing Euro-Mediterranean setting and the parameters that have shaped Greece’s foreign policy, this study focuses on Greece’s increased involvement in Euro-Mediterranean affairs and the establishment of the Union for the Mediterranean.
Assessing both the challenges and the opportunities for the country’s strategic and economic interests, the research concludes with guidelines for future action in the framework of the new Euro-Mediterranean structure.

PM George Papandreou: Economic crisis “a crucial national threat”

 

 (GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing a cabinet meeting on Sunday, termed the economic and monetary crisis “a crucial national threat”.    Papandreou, however, expressed optimism over the favourable outcome of the struggle being waged by the government, calling on all Greeks and the mass media in particular to say “no to panic .”
The major changes that have been scheduled for 2010, which he termed a year of great changes and reforms, must be turned into practice as a precondition for this.
The prime minister made a positive assessment of the first 100 days of the country’s governance which, as he said, “we assumed in a deep and multifaceted crisis with a large size debt and deficits that were bequeathed to us by the previous government.”
He added that the economy alone was not at the root of problems, but the country’s way of governance as well.
Papandreou further said that during the first 100 days the “government stood at the level of its historical responsibility which is to have the citizen as its first concern,” adding that apart from changes in regional administration, great reforms and changes are also required in central administration.
He stressed that the changes will meet with great resistances but expressed certainty that they will have the approval of the Greek people.
Papandreou said that at the end of the coming week the stability and growth programme will be announced, as well as the proposals for government and legislative work that will be following in the near future.
He said he would be giving a press conference at the Zappion Mansion in the middle of the week and would be announcing the main conclusions on governance so far and priorities for the coming period, while calling on ministers to do the same in their field of responsibility.
 The prime minister also announced the creation of a “prestigious advisory committee” on the modernisation and operation of the government and institutional bodies with the principle “the citizen first” always being the target.
He stressed that the new architecture of self administration is part of the government’s overall planning so that on November 14, 2010, local administration elections will be held for the new strong municipalities and the regions.
Papandreou added that the “implementation of the great vision of the world of local administration will begin,” terming this task extremely difficult and for which the consent of all is required and that the government shall seek.
He further pointed out that resources for local administration will be secured in the framework of taxation policy and added that with the electoral law which will be voted in Parliament “a decisive blow will be dealt at black political money”.
Papandreou also referred to the government’s struggle for transparency and expressed satisfaction for the positive response met by his initiative to request from the President of the Republic to convene a meeting of party leaders.
Lastly, the prime minister also referred to the bomb attack that occurred in front of the Parliament building on Saturday, stressing that “no one and with no action can intimidate the country’s political world” and underlined that “we are not going to let such an action pass like this.”

“Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Addressing the conference “Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects” held yesterday on the premises of the Foreign Affairs Ministry,  Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis referred to Greece’s foreign policy priorities centering on economic diplomacy, relations with Greeks abroad and green development.

Kouvelis stressed that the Balkans, the wider Black Sea region and that of Eastern Mediterranean is of particular interest to Greece.
He therefore took the opportunity to refer to the country’s upcoming Chairmanship in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC, June 1 to December 31, 2010),  forwarding the message that, in its capacity, Greece is committed to strengthen the organisation’s role with respect to its member-states and the region’s economic development.
Finally, on green development, Kouvelis emphasised Greece’s need to live up to the challenges of the new situation taking shape globally. The conference was organised by the Institute of International Relations, an Athens-based think tank affiliated with Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

Prespes Lake Preservation Agreement

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The prime ministers of Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania, on November 27, sent a joint letter to the UN Secretary General, the European Union and the Danish prime minister regarding the environmental protection of the Prespes Lake region shared by all three countries.
After the tripartite informal meeting in a lake-side village on the Greek side, Greek premier George Papandreou told reporters that the three leaders agreed to sign an agreement – in early February 2010 – to enhance the environmental protection of the Prespes Lake region.
They also promised to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation in water management and take measures to tackle pollution and soil erosion. 
Papandreou also discussed with his FYROM counterpart, Nikola Gruevski, investment projects, the possibility of abolishing visas for FYROM nationals, as well as the “name issue,” for which the Greek premier said that new impetus should be given to the ongoing talks for its resolution.
With his Albanian counterpart, Sali Berisha, the Greek premier discussed economic relations, and minority and immigration issues. 
UNESCO World Heritage: The area of the Prespes Lakes 
Greek News Agenda: Meeting @ Prespes

Black Sea Business Forum / Thessaloniki, 12 & 13 November 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline is a significant project with geopolitical, economic and energy importance, Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis noted, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Black Sea Business Forum in Thessaloniki, on November 12. 
The 3rd Union of Black Sea and Caspian Confederation of Enterprises (UBCCE) business forum, entitled “Seizing New Investment and Trade Opportunities in the Black Sea and Caspian in the Post Crisis Era,” is being held in Thessaloniki on November 12-13.

It is hosted by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece.
Addressing the event, Kouvelis stressed Greece’s commitment to the enhancement of co-operation with the European Union, through the establishment of “Black Sea Partnerships” within the “Black Sea Synergy” process, as well as through the new “Eastern Partnership” EU initiative.
Greece, he said, will have the chance to advance this perspective during the Greek Chairmanship of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which commences on June 1, 2010.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization

Greek-Russian Talks ahead of OSCE Meet

Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Titov

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Thursday had a working lunch with Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Titov (right), who is visiting Athens.
The two men earlier discussed matters of bilateral cooperation within the field of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Droutsas is expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the works of the OSCE ministerial meeting that will take place in Athens at the beginning of December.
According to the Greek foreign ministry, the role of Greece in European energy security will receive special attention in the forthcoming Greek-Russian talks of December.

Bridging the Mediterranean

bridgingm(GREEK NEW AGENDA)  The Union for the Mediterranean launched in 2008 has created lots of expectations for revitalising the cooperation of all business communities of the countries concerned. A new political will has been expressed at high level for the transformation of the Mediterranean basin to an area of sustainable development, economic integration and social cohesion.  Following the very successful “Med Business Days” organised by MEDEF in Marseille last year and the previous events in Valencia and Palermo, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises hosted the new edition of the major Euro-Mediterranean Business Forum: “Bridging the Mediterranean – Athens Business Forum”, which was being held in Athens (Divani Apollon Palace & Spa- Kavouri) from July 8th to 10th, 2009.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Speech of FM Dora Bakoyannis at the Euro-Mediterranean Business Forum  

Hellas = Greece: For Business & Pleasure

RIO(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) “Business Works” reports on Greece with three features covering Greece’s business opportunities and tourist delights.  Introducing Greece, the Greek Ambassador to the Court of St James’ presents the modern face of Greece, “a modern, vibrant country at the crossroads of three continents,” or a country with a respectable past and a promising future. 
The accompanying business feature titled “Greece: the economic hub of the region” explains why Greece has played a leading role in the transformation of a region with a still unsaturated potential for growth. The article provides information on the country’s reform agenda and the advantages of investing in Greece. 
The tourist feature titled “Greece, 5,000 old: a masterpiece you can afford” provides a pleasant guide to Greece’s two largest cities: Athens and Thessaloniki, giving tips for a joyful trip to the country’s entertainment and culinary qualities. Greece: Invest in Greece & Visit Greece  Visit: Athens & Thessaloniki  Athens Festival 2009: www.greekfestival.gr; Acropolis Museum: www.theacropolismuseum.gr

PRZYZNANIE W WARSZAWIE NAGRODY DLA DIMITRIS’A DIMITRIADIS’A, BYŁEGO PRZEWODNICZĄCEGO KOMITETU SPOŁECZNO EKONOMICZNEGO

dimitriadisBusiness Center Club – największa organizacja przedsiębiorców w Polsce, zrzeszająca ponad 1200 członków – zorganizował 3 kwietnia w warszawskim Centrum Olimpijskim uroczystość, podczas której wręczono nagody przedstawicielom biznesu. Oprócz uhonorowanych przedsiębiorców z Polski, BBC wyróżnił również Dimitris’a Dimitriadis’a, który do 2008 roku pełnił funkcję Przewodniczącego Europejskiego Komitetu Społeczno-Ekonomicznego (Εuropean Economic and Social Committee).

Europejski Komitet Społeczno – Ekonomiczny stanowi pomost w komunikacji pomiędzy unijnymi organami a społeczeństwem obywatelskim, czyli pomiędzy pracodawcami a pracobiorcami oraz różnymi grupami interesów (konsumenci, przedstawiciele organizacji ochrony środowiska itp).

W ramach konsultacji Europejskiej Polityki Społeczno – Ekonomicznej  ze społeczeństwami obywatelskimi państw członkowskich Business Center Club przyznał nagrodę dla Dimitris’a Dimitriadisa, odznaczając go za wkład w promowaniu europejskiej przedsiębiorczości.

 ΒΡΑΒΕΥΣΗ ΣΤΗ ΒΑΡΣΟΒΙΑ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΗ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΑΔΗ, ΠΡΩΗΝ ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΥ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΗΣ ΟΙΚΟΝΟΜΙΚΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΚΗΣ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗΣ

Το Business Center Club – η μεγαλύτερη επιχειρηματική οργάνωση στην Πολωνία, πού συσπειρώνει στους κόλπους της 1.200 περίπου μέλη – πραγματοποίησε στις 3 Απριλίου στο Ολυμπιακό Κέντρο της Βαρσοβίας εκδήλωση βράβευσης της επιχειρηματικότητας.

Πέρα από τους Πολωνούς επιχειρηματίες που τιμήθηκαν, το BCC βράβευσε και τον Δημήτρη Δημητριάδη, ο οποίος και διετέλεσε μέχρι το 2008 Πρόεδρος της Ευρωπαϊκής Οικονομικής και Κοινωνικής Επιτροπής (Εuropean Economic and Social Committee)

Η Ευρωπαϊκή Οικονομική και Κοινωνική Επιτροπή αποτελεί τη γέφυρα επικοινωνίας μεταξύ των κοινοτικών οργάνων και της κοινωνίας των πολιτών, δηλαδή των εργοδοτών και εργαζομένων αλλά και των διαφόρων ομάδων συμφερόντων (καταναλωτών, εκπροσώπων περιβαλλοντικών οργανώσεων κλπ).

Στο πλαίσιο αυτό των διαβουλεύσεων της Ευρωπαϊκής Οικονομικής και Κοινωνικής Πολιτικής με τις κοινωνίες πολιτών των κρατών μελών, εντάσσεται και η βράβευση του Δημήτρη Δημητριάδη από το Business Center Club, που τον τίμησε για την συμβολή του στην προώθηση της ευρωπαϊκής επιχειρηματικότητας.

Greek Foreign Policy: Responsible & Confident

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Addressing an off-the-agenda parliamentary debate on the course of the country’s foreign affairs, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis summarised the government’s expectations, achievements and challenges for the Greek foreign policy. On matters of primary concern for Greece, Karamanlis reiterated the government’s volition to endorse its neighbours’ European perspective on condition that the latter meet their obligations as set by the European “acquis.”   The Prime Minister stressed Greece’s intention to consolidate its position in the international arena by being active in international peace missions, reinforcing its operations arm in economic diplomacy, reaching out to Asian countries and engaging Hellenism throughout the world.  Taking the stand, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis stated that “Greece is not a phobic state” adding that “it is a mature democracy that exercises policy within the EU  and via the EU, being present in the Balkans, in the Middle East – and today, through the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), in all the regions of the Caucasus and central Asia.” Athens News Agency: Greek Foreign Policy Confident, Responsible  Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE): The Greek Chairmanship  Secretariat General for Information: About Brand Greece- Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and opportunities in a changing geopolitical environment