• Photos from Greece

    Events of Press Office

    Click to go to Events of Press Offce site















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)

Stability programme on “the right track”

The team of experts from the so-called “troika” (European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank), after completing their monitoring of the progress of the stability programme, said that the latter is “on track on all of the dimensions.”
 The government is ahead of the deficit reduction target set in the plan for this year and tax hikes are boosting revenues, according to the team.
The government is also making progress on more long-term economic reforms, which can help its future finances, they added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister George Papandreou, who attended the European Union Summit in Brussels yesterday, underlined that “his government is determined to go ahead with important and difficult reforms,” in order to put the country on the right path for achieving its goals. 
(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

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

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 

Finance Minister on Greek Economy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The new government “will do what is required to be consistent with the need for a medium-term reduction of the budget deficit,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou stated, after a downgrade in Greece’s credit rating by Fitch rating agency.
He also dubbed unrealistic the scenario of Greece resorting to the assistance of the International Monetary Fund.

Giving an interview about the issue yesterday on CNN , Papaconstantinou stressed that “the government is putting together very quickly a number of initiatives and measures to reassure the markets and our European partners that we are serious about reducing the deficit […].”
“There is a movement on all reforms fronts,” something that will restore Greece’s credibility.
Kathimerini daily: Fitch rating downgrade upsets markets

Greece: Economy & Finance

» BoG Governor on Budget Deficit

The strong parliamentary majority of the new government will enable it to move ahead with much needed reforms in the economy combined with a growth agenda, Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos said  October 6.  Speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Istanbul, Provopoulos also warned that the budget deficit will be considerably higher than 6%, possibly reaching 10% of the GDP for 2009. Brussels is expected to publish its own estimates on the Greek budget and economy in the Commission’s fall report on November 3.  Kathimerini daily: Deficit seen above 10pct mark

» Investing in Gold

European Goldfields, a Canada-based resource company involved in the exploration, acquisition, mining, and development of mineral properties in Greece, Romania and South-East Europe, has won preliminary approval to develop two projects in the Olympias and Skouries mines, in northeastern Greece. It is expected that an output of 420,000 ounces of gold from 2012 onwards, will double current European gold production.  Kathimerini daily: Gold mine projects move ahead

Greek Finance Minister at 10th Venture Capital Forum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Economic growth will come from within business activation and through collaboration between public and private sector, economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said on Tuesday, addressing the 10th Venture Capital Forum organised in Athens by the Invest in Greece Agency in cooperation with the New Economy Fund (TANEO) and the PRAXIS network.  Papathanassiou also said that the government will continue to fulfil its duty with responsibility, adding that it was seeking consensus, unanimity and understanding at the national level.  In the framework of the country’s safe exit from the crisis, he said, businesses were called on to assume their significant role with new initiatives, a creative disposition, and investments in sectors on which growth in the new era will be founded. Ministry of Economy and Finance: Statement by Minister at 10th Venture Capital Forum (in Greek, 16.6.2009) 

Greek Finance Minister: Economic Prospects

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The next two years will be a period of intense reform, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said on Monday (25.5), addressing an Economist conference in Athens. He also stressed that the growth model that helped Greece enjoy strong rates so far, must be adjusted to modern demands and expressed the government’s determination to improve the country’s competitiveness by taking measures to support innovation, reduce bureaucracy, promote alternative energy sources, and attract big foreign investments. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published yesterday (25.5) its annual report on the Greek economy, according to which the economy is expected to shrink by up to 2% this year with recovery beginning late in 2010. The IMF also recommended sweeping changes to tax regulations, continuing wage moderation and social security reforms.  Commenting on the IMF report, Papathanassiou said that “the Government is studying and carefully evaluating all the reports by international organisations pertaining to our country, even when it happens to disagree with certain estimates and predictions. In any case, it is clear that the next two years will determine the outcome of many significant issues for Greece’s present and future.”  Ministry of Economy and Finance: Speech by minister Papathanassiou at the Economist conference (in Greek); Kathimerini daily: IMF sees better days in late 2010

Alternative Tourism in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)       Dancing at the Waterfalls
The city of Edessa has launched an alternative tourist campaign by commissioning the Greek painter Giorgos Stathopoulos to produce a work of art which will be projected at nights at the city’s famous waterfalls. “We do not want to be just another tourist destination; we wish to offer our visitors such an experience that would render Edessa unforgettable and will bring them back to the city” said mayor Yiannis Sontras. His idea was to spend money on acquiring the rights to use the painting as the city’s symbol, instead of producing conventional tourist brochures. National Tourism Organisation of Greece: Greece’s tourist campaign
EDEN Awards
A number of projects aiming to promote alternative tourism opportunities in Greece has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Amongst these are projects related to the restoration of medieval castles, the construction of trekking routes and agro-tourism complexes. The region of Grevena – in northern Greece – won one of the 20 “European Destination of Excellence” EDEN awards last year at the European Annual Tourism Forum, launched by the European Commission to promote the development of alternative tourism, while the region of Florina won in 2007 an EDEN award as one of the “Best Emerging European Rural Destinations of Excellence.”
Green Passport
The “Green Passport Campaign” launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) aims at raising tourists’ awareness of their potential to contribute to sustainable development by making responsible holiday choices. To assist them, an online guide has been produced offering tourists useful tips on how to minimize the impact of their journeys on the environment. The guide will soon be available in Greek as the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage has undertaken its translation, showing that Greece is following a worldwide trend of growing ‘green tourism’ at rates that treble those of conventional mass tourism.   

Greek Finance Minister at IMF: Restoring Trust

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Thanks to its relatively solid banking system, Greece is ‘insulated’ enough against the clogged financial system that has been inflicting the global economy; however, the necessity to fortify financial policy and cohere with fiscal principles is urgent. The remarks belong to Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis speaking to the press in Washington on the occasion of his address at the International Monetary Fund annual meeting’s plenary session. Alogoskoufis noted that IMF has projected a prolonged crisis which will last through 2009. The conclusions drawn at IMF coincide with the ones of G7 and Ecofin and call for action to assure liquidity, remove toxic assets from banks’ balance-sheets, consolidate capitals and provide guarantees to rebuild credit trust. As for Greece’s stance on the matter, the minister reiterated that bank deposits are now guaranteed by law and that the comparatively high growth rates and the ongoing decrease in unemployment signal a lighter disturbance by the latest financial turbulence. Ministry of Economy and Finance: Speech by Giorgos Alogoskoufis & The Greek economy at a glance (October 2008); Greek News Agenda: PM: Growth Secured & Special Issue-The Greek Economy  International Monetary Fund: IMF Welcomes Euro Zone Plan to Combat Crisis & World Economic Outlook, (October 2008)