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Tourism: challenges and priorities outlined by PM George Papandreou

Addressing the 19th General Assembly of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) on 4th May, Prime Minister George Papandreou outlined the priorities, the goals and the successes of the government policy in tourism sector and the promotion of Greece abroad. Papandreou focused on the simplification of the licensing process in tourist investments, stressing that tourism should be one of the basic pillars for boosting the Greek economy.
“In the coming months there will be a licensing simplification in investments and facilitation of visa issuing for nationals of emerging economies such as China and Russia. […] There will also be a reduction in the prices of sea transport tickets, as well as in landing and take-off fees at several airports,” said Papandreou noting that the tourism industry has been reporting positive signs as what is being offered is quality service at good prices.
Referring to the enormous potential of Internet and social networking, Papandreou hailed the online promotion of Greece via the official site of Visit Greece, the newly launched my-greece.gr, and through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
Prime Minister.GR: Tourism policy – Results (in Greek); YouTube: You in Greece Campaign [VIDEO]
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Talking Business in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   On May 11, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises held its annual general assembly. Addressing the event, chairman Dimitris Daskalopoulos highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship in today’s times of economic uncertainty. Knowledge- and investment-based entrepreneurship holds the key to creative adaptation and exit from the dire economic situation which is holding the economy back, he said. In his speech, Minister of Economy and Finance Yannis Papathanassiou (photo) expressed the hope that economic climate would be reverted even by 2009. He further noted that projections which point to negative growth dismiss a recent package of measures, aiming at boosting the construction sector, the car market and employment. Addressing the 2nd annual Greek Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Market Forum yesterday, Papathanassiou linked the government’s structural reform programme to the PPPs, pledging to provide a strong impetus for such partnerships, which has so far proven effective and “the modern way of financing infrastructure projects.”

Black Sea and Caspian Confederation of Enterprises: Hellenic Presidency

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) has taken over the presidency of the Union of Black Sea and Caspian Confederation of Enterprises (UBCCE) for a two-year term 2009-2011, at theUBCCE’s second general assembly held in Istanbul. The UBCCE – a non-governmental international Union of central, private, voluntary, nationally representative business organizations from countries neighbouring or having strong geographical ties with the Black Sea and the Caspian Region – aims at establishing cooperation between organizations from member countries with a view to assisting the economic and social development of the region.

EU – Greece: Fund Influx for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)        The European Commission has a set of measures to help finance innovative and growing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  On January 20, the European Commission and the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Special Secretariat for the Development of International Programmes held the “EU Finance Day for SMEs” in Athens on January 20. Addressing the event attended by more than 500 participants, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed that “Access to finance is a crucial issue for Greek SMEs. In times of recession, we see new opportunities and are obliged to back innovation and entrepreneurship.” 
INFORMATION ON THE CONFERENCE
Speakers’ powerpoint presentations can be found at the Special Secretariat’s website; European Commission-Entreprise & Industry: About EU Finance Day for SMEs 
INFORMATION ON FUNDING
Ministry of Economy and Finance: SMEs NSRF funding & SMEs funding through the Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME SA); Greek News Agenda: Stimulus for SMEs  European Commission- Enterprise & Industry: European Portal for SMEs; Europe’s Information Society: Competitiveness & Innovation Framework Programme; European Investment Bank: European Investment Fund

Greek Government Support Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The government is determined to offer financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amid the international financial crisis, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said on Monday. Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the premier stressed that the EU is experiencing a recession and noted that the crisis is hitting consumption, production and commerce, while unemployment is on the rise. The Greek economy is still resisting pressures from an international crisis but 2009 would be a difficult year for all, the premier said, adding that the government’s aim is to limit the impact and to safeguard benefits gained in the previous years. He emphasised that the government is transferring funds from the Fourth Community Support Framework to SMEs, while it is introducing new measures to boost entrepreneurship among young people, and women.  Ministry of Economy and Finance: National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-2013; Secretariat General for Information: About Brand Greece- Competitiveness & Entrepreneurship ; Greek News Agenda: Gov’t Reforms Push On & Stimulus for SMEs