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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

Greece: Attracting Tourism Development

Greece ranked 29th among a total of 139 countries in a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) regarding competitiveness for the tourism sector.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report is issued annually and grades countries on a total of 60 indicators, including policy regulations, resources, safety, prices and environmental protection. According to the survey, Greece benefits from its rich cultural resources (ranked 25th), excellent health and hygiene (20th), and a top-notch tourism infrastructure (5th). Further on, the report refers to the country’s strong national affinity for tourism (compared with many other European countries), including a generally open and positive attitude toward tourists (26th). The report ranks Greece 21st among European countries.
World Economic Forum: 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Blue Flags 2010

Greece was awarded Blue Flags for 421 Beaches and 9 Marinas by the International Blue Flag Jury, winning second place among 41 countries. 
The prefectures of Lasithi (on Crete), and Halkidiki (northern Greece), as well as the islands of Corfu and Rhodes were awarded the highest number of Blue Flags.
The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized standard for quality, develporewarding sustainable development at beaches and marinas, relying on strict criteria, such as water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety.
Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature: Greek Beachs awarded the Blue Flag for 2010
Greek News Agenda: 425 Blue Flags for Greece

Greece assumes BSEC chairmanship

Greece has assumed, the rotating chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation, at a special ceremony, during the 22nd meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs , held in Sofia, Bulgaria on May 28.
“It is our objective to establish the Greek Chairmanship-in-Office of the BSEC as a turning point for the entire region towards Green Development.
Its central theme will be Black Sea turns Green,” Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis stressed in his address to the meeting upon the assumption of the chairmanship.
He also noted that the emphasis on “green development” will highlight the comparative advantages of the Black Sea region in terms of environmental protection, culture, tourism, alternative energy sources and new technologies. 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

International Media on Greece

 

 

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) In their article “Can Greece lead the way” (9.11.2009) for “openDemocracy,” Anthony Barnett and Mary Kaldor write about the fact that though the left across Europe flounders in the wake of the economic crisis – where the centre right is resurgent – the Greek socialist party under George Papandreou could prove the exception with its dramatic election victory.    
They argue that Papandreou’s goal is an innovative form of progressive government that combines green development, democratic openness, and international reconciliation.
“Papandreou is an exceptionally original and open-minded politician, wishing to lead both Greece and PASOK towards a genuinely far-sighted response to the financial and environmental crisis and the international challenges facing Europe.”

Environmental Protection Comes… “NATURA”lly

NATURA(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias announced yesterday (June 20) the launch of a new environmental project.   It refers to the purchase of fire protection equipment in order to be used in the regions of Greece protected by the “NATURA 2000” Network.  The programme which is funded in the framework of the National Strategic Reference Framework for the environment and sustainable development reaches an overall budget of € 24,540,000.  The NATURA 2000 Networking Programme is targeting at environmental protection and wise use of habitat types and plant and animal species of special value.

Greece: Hydra’s Ecology University

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The 11th summer Ecology University will be held this year on the island of Hydra, from July 6 to 24, with four-hour seminars for teachers, environmentalists, engineers, local government officials, students and anyone interested in the latest news and trends in environmental science and sustainable development.  The theme this year is water conservation. There will also be a programme of evening lectures for the public.  Held by the Interdisciplinary Institute for Environmental Research with the cooperation of the Municipality of Hydra, the courses consist of three modules beginning on July 6, 13 and 20.  Information: Ecological University (in Greek)

425 “Blue Flags” for Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature -coordinator of the international “Blue Flag” programme in Greece- announced yesterday (May 27) the awarded beaches and marinas for 2009.  Greece was awarded flags for 425 beaches and 8 marinas by the international non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), conquering the second place among 39 countries worldwide.  The Blue Flag is an internationally recognised standard for quality, rewarding sustainable development at beaches and marinas, relying on strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety.  Greek News Agenda: Blue Flags; Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature: Greek Beaches and Marinas awarded the Blue Flag for 2009

Rhodes: HQ of Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The city of Rhodes – capital of the southeastern Aegean island – will be the seat of UNESCO’s Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre and the founding act will be signed today in a special ceremony to be attended by prominent figures from Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Israel, Romania, France, Belgium, the United States and Turkey. The centre will be temporarily housed at the Medieval City of Rhodes until the Rhodes Mansion is completely restored as its permanent headquarters. The Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre will undertake the organisation of European and international meetings and conventions on cultural heritage, cultural relations, and environmental protection. City of Rhodes: Press Releases   

Athens is Going Green

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A pilot project in Athens offering citizens redeemable coupons for recycling their trash is to be extended across the capital. Under the programme “Compensatory Recycling,” citizens who recycle plastic, metal, paper and other waste are given a coupon, whose value depends on the volume of trash recycled. The coupons can either be donated to the municipality’s recycling fund or used for discounts at supermarkets. The scheme is being funded by packaging producers and so costs are not passed on to consumers. Apart from its standard blue recycling bins, Athens already has 25 special compensatory recycling kiosks with slots for different types of trash. The aim is for another 75 to be set up across Athens next year and dozens more in other cities. City of Athens: Cleanliness & Environment – Recycling; Secretariat General of Information – About Greece: Environmental Protection  

Green Buses in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Athens is set to acquire one of the most modern public transport bus fleets in Europe, according to an announcement made earlier this week by Transport Minister Kostas Hatzidakis.  Unveiling details of a major upgrade in the fleet of buses operated by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA), he said the new buses are set to meet stricter environmental specifications and generate much lower levels of atmospheric emissions. The total fleet of buses will be 614, and their delivery is expected to be completed by the first half of 2009. Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- Greek Environmental Strategic Policies

Travelling through space and time in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Travelling through space and time, exploring oceans and active volcanoes, sightseeing around the planet billions of years ago, as well as other interactive experiences that bring science closer to society are available in research centres and museums all over Greece. The initiatives for communicating research and science are increasing, in number and variety, in Greece and the other European countries. Some important scientific attractions that Greeks can enjoy are the GAIA Centre for Environmental Research and Education at the Goulandris Natural History Museum (www.gnhm.gr), the Digital Planetarium at the Eugenides Foundation (www.eugenfound.edu.gr), “Tholos” the dome-shaped Virtual Reality “Theatre” of the Foundation of the Hellenic World (www.tholos254.gr), the Thessaloniki Science Centre and Technology Museum NOESIS (www.tmth.edu.gr) and the CretAquarium Thalassocosmos in Crete (www.cretaquarium.gr).