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Greek Companies prospering in Poland (Warsaw Business Journal)

Greece has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2011, with the country being hit by political turmoil as it struggles under the effects of the economic crisis. However, for many Greek companies based inPoland, this year has been business as usual.
There are currently about 40 companies with Greek capital active in the Polish market, according to figures from the Embassy of Greece in Warsaw.
Greek-owned companies have invested more than €1.4 billion and created a total of 11,000 jobs in Poland, the country’s ambassador to Poland, Gabriel Coptsidis, said in a statement earlier this year.
Mellon Group, a company headquartered in Athens specializing in IT services and sales for financial institutions, telecommunications firms and companies in the retail sector, established itself in the Polish market almost six years ago. A growing Polish client base, which includes lenders such as PKO Bank Polski, Polbank EFG, and mBank, helped Mellon Poland make it in to the top 100 companies of Europe’s 500 fastest growing companies in 2010. Europe’s 500, which makes the ranking, is an association of fast growing owner-managed companies in Europe.
“This year is better than the previous one, and we have not been affected,” said Grigorios Kotoulas, General Manager, Mellon Poland. “However, we see in the market that there is a slowdown, but not a recession. We are making plans accordingly but none that … will affect our forecast for2012”, he added.
For Lefteris Maroulis, general director of sports betting firm Totolotek (owned by Greek company Intralot), business has been going well inPoland. Totolotek is a company which has been organizing sports betting in Poland since 1992 and operates close to 400 locations in the country.
(Warsaw Business Journal, 20/12/2011)

Για την προετοιμασία του άρθρου η δημοσιογράφος Veronika Joy συνεργάστηκε με το Γραφείο Τύπου και το Γραφείο Οικονομικών και Εμπορικών Υποθέσεων. Continue reading

PM George Papandreou & the Media

Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed yesterday the NewsXchange 2010 Conference currently being held in Athens.
In his speech, the premier commended the role of media in highlighting several of the underlying causes of the financial crisis but also pointed to some of the negative stereotypes that resurfaced in of the international media’s reporting on Greece, during this last year.
“Your job is to report the facts as objectively as possible. My job is to be honest with you, with the Greek people, and of course with the international community, which is supporting us in this effort to deal with the crisis, present the facts as they are,” stressed the premier.
Youtube.com: PM’s Speech at NewsXchange 2010 Conference  
(Greek News Agenda)

PM George Papandreou`s interview in “Guardian”

“Greece is on a normalised road,” Prime Minister George Papandreou said in an interview in the UK newspaper The Guardian, noting that in the nine months since his government took office “it has been crisis management, day in, day out,” and stressing that, in politics “you have to make tough decisions.”
In the interview, titled “Reinvigorating Greece is an Olympian task,” concerning the reactions to the austerity measures, the premier admits that “naturally I feel very bad that we had to take these measures and that our financial sovereignty is under the tutelage of the so-called troika (the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank).”
“It’s not a happy state to be in, and the most painful thing is to take measures against people who were not responsible for the crisis,” Papandreou said. He goes on to explain that the option for the country was to default, or take these measures.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou Interview at “Politique Internationale”

Few countries have suffered from the global economic crisis as much as Greece. Not only did it feel the full force of the financial earthquake, but it also found itself under attack by international speculators.
Today, as the IMF and the European Union prepare to help, the country is licking its wounds and trying to understand how things got so bad.
George Papandreou is not the last to ask the question. Elected prime minister in October 2009, the leader of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) is fiercely critical of the previous center-right New Democracy administration, which he believes is guilty of setting up a system of cronyism and of knowingly underestimating the public debt and budget deficit. But the new head of government is an energetic man.
In this exclusive interview, he outlines his strategy for resolving his country’s daunting problems.
http://www.politiqueinternationale.com/revue/article.php?id_revue=127&id=901&content=synopsis

Greece in mourning

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political leaders expressed their shock and grief on Wednesday in the wake of a bank torching in central Athens that left three bank employees dead.

News of the abhorrent attack found Parliament in session to debate the latest round of government-announced austerity measures – the reason unions were holding protests outside the House.

» President of the Hellenic Republic

Referring to the current financial situation and the frustration many people are feeling with the political system, President Karolos Papoulias stated the following:
“Our country has reached the edge of the abyss. It is everybody’s responsibility that we do not take the fatal step. Responsibility is proven through action, not in words. History will judge us all.”

» Prime Minister

Prime Minister George Papandreou rebuked a murderous attack, while promising that “the perpetrators will be located and will stand trial.” Moreover, the premier called on all Parliament-represented parties to unequivocally condemn the violence.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are a free and democratic country. We fight, and have fought, for the right to live in a democratic Greece. And each citizen has a right to demonstrate.
But no one has the right to resort to violence, especially violence leading to the murder of fellow citizens. And we know that violence breeds violence. Protest is different from murder.”

» Opposition Leaders

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stressed that the country is going through “critical moments,” while expressing his grief for the innocent victims of fanaticism, and random violence.
The leaders of the remaining opposition parties – the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group Chief Alexis Tsipras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis – each condemned the violence and expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.

PM: “We`re on a new Odyssey for Hellenism

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) On April 23, Prime Minister George Papandreou formally requested financial support from the EU and the IMF.
“It is a national and pressing need to formally ask our EU partners for the activation of the support package that we jointly created,” Papandreou said in a televised statement from the southeastern island of Kastellorizo, where he was on a visit.
“We are on a tough course, a new Odyssey for Hellenism. But we now know the way to Ithaca and have chartered our course. Ahead of us lies a journey, a demanding journey for us all, but with a new, collective conscience and joint efforts we shall reach our destination safely… Our final goal, our final destination is to liberate Greece from supervision and trusteeship.”

PM George Papandreou at Europarliament

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) “If we appeal to the IMF, they will ask us for nothing more (no extra measures). But I would prefer a European solution. I would prefer a European solution as part of the eurozone, as a European, as an ardent European myself, and being able to show the world that Europe can act together,” Prime Minister George A. Papandreou said yesterday addressing the Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis of the European Parliament.
He further noted that, in the debate that goes around the world whether Europe will fail or whether Europe is on the map, more Europe rather than less is needed.

Regarding the financial situation in Greece, the premier stressed that “we are not asking for help, as some reckless country just wanting to live off the wealth of others.[…] What we are saying is we need the strong political support in order to make these necessary reforms, making sure that we are not going to pay more than necessary in order to get these reforms enacted.”
See also: President of the European Parliament, Buzek on the meeting with Prime Minister of Greece ; Common statement by Elmar Brok MEP, Marietta Giannakou MEP and Ioannis Kasoulides MEP; Othmar Karas MEP, “Greece is not begging for money
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE Group), Papandreou outlines austerity to EP special committee ; Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE President) Angela Merkel’s lack of solidarity with Greece is shocking, states Guy Verhofstadt

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 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  

EU backs up Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The European Union yesterday, in a joint statement by the Heads of State or Government, agreed to take determined and coordinated action to safeguard financial stability in the euro area, and expressed full support for the efforts of the Greek government and their commitment to do whatever is necessary to get the country’s public finances in order.
European commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said that the statement was intended to end speculation that Greece would require a bailout package, while adding that “the Greek government believe they do not need financial support.”
Addressing a press conference at the end of the informal summit in Brussels and referring to this agreement to assist Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou said:

“our partners assessed and ascertained our will to change, we convinced them, following our great efforts, and it is necessary for us to continue. We will succeed.”
Greece is aiming to reduce its deficit by 4 % of GDP this year, largely through cuts in public spending and an increase in taxes. However, Papandreou said that he would not hesitate to adopt more measures if it becomes necessary.
Council of the European Union: Agreement to support Greece; Kathimerini daily: EU offers help but no specific money pledge

The “Economist” Conference

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A much timely “Economist” Conference was addressed yesterday by the country’s leadership and experts from the financial and business world.

Taking the floor, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou availed himself of the opportunity to note that Greece’s fiscal problems are also an issue for the entire eurozone and marked that a spill-over effect will not leave other eurozone countries unaffected, especially those which are as vulnerable as Greece.
The remarks were reported one day before the European Commission announces its recommendations on the country’s stability programme , which is most likely to receive European approval.   

» “Deficit Fetishism is a Mistake”
Addressing the Conference (Discussion and Debate with Joseph Stiglitz on the World Economy 2010), Nobel Economics Laureate 2001, former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, and Professor at Columbia University Joseph Stiglitz, dismissed fears that Greece will go bankrupt, adding that, when struggling with recession, governments ought to be careful with their rectifying measures.
“Cutting deficits in the wrong way can be counterproductive.”
Kathimerini daily: Greek woes are a eurozone issue

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)  

Finance Minister Interview in “Der Spiegel”

 
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)      Greece has no current need for credit and the excessive pessimism of the financial markets is unjustified, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told German weekly Der Spiegel, in an interview.
He added that while Greek spreads had soared this week, they would narrow once again, when Greece had proven that it was doing all it could, to improve the country’s financial situation.
“We are in a very serious fiscal situation, we have debts with a dangerous dynamic,” said the minister. “But we have a new government that clearly recognizes the problem. With our savings programme, we will reduce the deficit in the coming year by 3.6 percentage points.”
Papaconstantinou further said that there was no reason for Greece to ask for help from the International Monetary Fund. Instead, it would solve its problems inside the European Union and according to the bloc’s rules. Greece would release a new bond at the beginning of January, he concluded. 
On Friday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said Greece would meet its debt obligations and planned to reduce its budget deficit to below 3 percent of GDP within four years, sending bond yields lower. Today, the premier is expected to announce the measures, his government plans to implement, following talks with representatives of labour unions and business groups.
Foreign and Currency News: Greece has no urgent credit need – Greek Finmin 

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.”

Greece in ECOFIN: Adding Numbers Up

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou participated at the European Council Economic and Financial Affairs meeting in Luxemburg (October 19-20).  The minister acknowledged that the budget deficit for 2009 will creep up to 12.5% of GDP, a figure which has been also confirmed by the Bank of Greece.  One third of this significant increase can be attributed to the economic crisis – GDP contracted by 1.5%, investment dropped by 20%, tourism by 15% and shipping revenue by 20%.  The rest can be equally attributed to expenditure excesses, as well as the revision of the way by which the deficit is measured.  Papaconstantinou is ready to negotiate a three-year extension for deficit curbing with the possibility of a further one-year extension.  “The first step is to decrease the deficit to a single digit figure” for 2010, said the minister. The government has pledged to present the Commission with a revised three-year Stability and Growth Programme (2008-2011).Thirteen out of sixteen countries of the eurozone will be put under EU deficit supervision. The European Commission estimates that public finances for all eurozone members will begin to recover by 2011 at the latest.  European Commission: Driving the European Recovery 

The Athens Climate Change Summit 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENCY)   The two-day Athens Summit 2009 on “The Road to Copenhagen: Managing Climate Change and Energy Security in Southeast Europe and Beyond” – organised by the Institute for Climate and Energy Security in association with the Financial Times Global Events and C & C International Group of Companies – opens today.   The summit brings together Greek and foreign government officials, corporate leaders and as well as financiers and experts to debate and discuss how the twin goals of energy security and managing climate change can be achieved to the benefit of all.  It is part of a wider debate taking place worldwide, in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, in December, 2009. 

Greece: Stable Outlook for the Economy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Recently appointed Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou on Wednesday defended the government’s economic policy, saying it remained committed to reducing the budget deficit to below 3%, but not at the expense of social cohesion in the country. Commenting on a decision by Standard & Poor’s rating agency to downgrade Greece’s credit rating to A-/A-2 with a stable outlook from A-/A-1, the minister said: “The main reason why Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country is that Greece faces an international financial crisis with high public debt and fiscal deficit. I would like to note, however, that the public debt has fallen to 93% of GDP, down from 100% in 2004, and that the fiscal deficit has been cut significantly from 7.5% of GDP in 2004.  He added that the deficit remains at high levels because of the government’s decision to place the real economy as a top priority, but that it is to the country’s benefit to gradually cut the deficit below 3.0%. “And this will happen with a plan without leaving behind the need for social cohesion. That’s exactly what we will seek with our updated Stability and Growth Programme which we will present by the end of month.”  Athens News Agency: FinMin defends economic policy; Ministry of Economy and Finance: Economic and Financial Data for Greece &  Hellenic Stability & Growth Programme 2007-2010 (December 2007)

Greece: Monitoring the Economy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The newly-established Inter-ministerial Committee on Economic Policy, headed by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, held its first meeting on Friday (9.1.2009). The Committee reviewed the international economic situation and discussed in detail the impact of the global financial crisis on Greece. Speaking to reporters after the two-hour meeting, newly appointed Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou (in the centre) explained that the committee was set up to render the coordination more effective in order to handle the crisis in the best possible way and constantly monitor the economy so as to adjust policies as required. The committee will periodically examine public finances and will focus on measures to ensure flexibility in adjusting either to what the European Commission calls for or meeting the needs of the local economy.  Kathimerini daily – New minister to scrutinise state of the economy; Greek News Agenda: Inter-ministerial Economic Policy Committee Convenes 

Greek Prime Minister: “There are no Easy Solutions to the Crisis”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis on Tuesday reiterated his unwavering devotion to the duty mandated by the international financial crisis, warning that there were no easy solutions or recipes. Addressing a meeting of his party’s parliamentary group, the premier said that uncertainty and intense worry over the explosion in unemployment, as well as a fear of recession, prevail throughout Europe. He added that the repercussions inevitably affect Greece as well. “Greece is not outside or beyond the world,” he said, adding that the times beckon a responsible position. “We can convert the international financial crisis into a national opportunity. I am here, and I will fight with all my strength. The Greek people, with unity and unanimity, can win the challenges at this international conjuncture,” the prime minister stressed. On the Vatopedi Monastery-State land transactions affair, the premier said: “I assume our share of the responsibility.” He further added “I underestimated the issue, I did not see its dimensions early on, I did not have the full picture,” Karamanlis conceded, stressing that “the mistake is mine, and I am not passing it on to anyone.”  Athens News Agency: PM Karamanlis: There are no easy solutions 

International Conference on “Combating Forced Labour and Human Trafficking” in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Europe must adopt a public policy geared towards the relief of people hit by the global financial crisis, said President Karolos Papoulias on Friday, November 21, opening a three-day international conference on “Combating Forced Labour and Human Trafficking” in Athens organised by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) to mark the 90th anniversary since its founding. The president emphasised that slavery and slave-trade is one of darkest pages in human history, underlining the importance of safeguarding human rights. The event was jointly organised by the International Trade Union Confederation, and the Confederation of European Trade Unions. Also speaking at the conference, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said that according to international figures, a total of 12.3 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, while an increase of 20 million of unemployed has been forecasted. “Neither the free economy nor open societies are to be blamed for the situation,” she said, explaining that the problem stems from the lack of rules, regulatory framework and control mechanisms. The minister suggested stricter penalties for culprits, increased protection for victims and higher public awareness. Addressing the conference on Sunday, main opposition PASOK party leader and President of the Socialist International George Papandreou stressed that combating forced labour and human trafficking is first and foremost a political issue and warned that of the millions of people worldwide held under conditions of forced labour, 5.7 million are children. He also said that figures show that roughly 1.8 million children also fall victim to sexual exploitation. Athens News Agency: Papandreou at conference on combating trafficking