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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

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New impetus for Greek-Turkish relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A new impetus for Greek-Turkish relations was given yesterday following a letter by Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed to his Turkish counterpart, responding to prior correspondence between the two leaders.

The Greek side proposes the launch of a series of talks on the issue of the continental shelf, within a specific time limit and the option for both sides to resort to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in case of a dead-end.
Papandreou deems the Turkish proposal of establishing a High-level Council of Cooperation important and invites Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an official visit to Greece, sometime before summer, in order to set a time framework.
Moreover, the Greek Premier highlights the need for de-escalating tension over the Aegean Sea and stresses that military activity in the area must be avoided since it jeopardizes security and fuels tension. Referring to the pressure exercised on bilateral relations due to immigration flows’ movement, Papandreou reiterates the necessity for Turkey to abide by the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol (2001).
The premier concludes by expressing Greece’s support for Turkey’s European perspective, provided that the latter honours its obligations towards the Greek minority in Turkey and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Turkey Bilateral Relations & Greek-Turkish Rapprochement
[Photo from Papandreou’s visit to Istanbul, Turkey, October, 2009]

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.

Greece: Absorption of Structural Funds

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Greece’s absorption of structural funds from 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) in 2000-2006 stands at 91%, European Commissioner for regional policy Danuta Hubner announced on Wednesday.  The Commissioner clarified that Greece applied for payments reaching €20.9 billion of the €23 billion available. Presenting absorption figures for the 3rd CSF for all member-states, Hubner said that the Community average also stood at 91%. She expressed hope that the total available funds will have been absorbed by June 30, when the deadline for completing projects using Community funding expires. Greece’s absorption of money available in the structural funds and the EU Cohesion Fund comes to 88%, marginally above the EU average of 87%. Absorption of money exclusively derived from the Cohesion Fund by Greece is 61%, four percentage points below the EU average of 65%.  Ministry of Economy and Finance: Management Organisation Unit of CSF; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece, CSF (2000-2006) 

New website for the Greek National Strategic Reference Framework

espaThe new website of the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) 2007-2013 is now accessible at www.espa.gr. This new website provides users with access to overall information regarding the co-financed programmes for the actions of the new Programming Period 2007-2013. More specifically, this website provides information regarding the objectives, actions, institutional framework and the course of implementation of the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA 2007-2013), as well as information on sector programmes and operational programmes per se. Special sections have been created for private persons, businesses and bodies, in order to increase the usability of the website. Furthermore, a chat facility and forum have been added, enhancing the interactional potential of the website. Users can also subscribe to the ESPA 2007-2013 electronic newsletter, which regularly monitors events related to the programmes, while the electronic archive provides access to useful documents and sources. A special section has been created for children with games and educational material, so that children may learn about Europe and have fun at the same time. According to the Deputy Minister for Economy and Finance, Mr. Yianni Papathanasiou, “ESPA 2007-2013 has been designed in order to bring about developments for the country and the quality of life for all citizens, without any exclusion. The internet gives us the opportunity to disseminate this message to Greek society, in an effort to reinforce a climate of transparency and offer beneficiaries a chance to get to know and benefit from the actions of the new programming period.” Links: ESPA 2007-2013 http://www.espa.gr/