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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)

“Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Addressing the conference “Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects” held yesterday on the premises of the Foreign Affairs Ministry,  Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis referred to Greece’s foreign policy priorities centering on economic diplomacy, relations with Greeks abroad and green development.

Kouvelis stressed that the Balkans, the wider Black Sea region and that of Eastern Mediterranean is of particular interest to Greece.
He therefore took the opportunity to refer to the country’s upcoming Chairmanship in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC, June 1 to December 31, 2010),  forwarding the message that, in its capacity, Greece is committed to strengthen the organisation’s role with respect to its member-states and the region’s economic development.
Finally, on green development, Kouvelis emphasised Greece’s need to live up to the challenges of the new situation taking shape globally. The conference was organised by the Institute of International Relations, an Athens-based think tank affiliated with Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

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: “Green Development” in Olympia Region

PLANT(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Five ministers accompanied the premier during his visit to the area, along with Spanish urban planner Josep Acebillo, who will have the central role in designing the restoration of the area.  The regional plan features the establishment of a new International School of Sports, Olympism and Civilisation, and the further expansion of the International Olympic Truce Centre, so that Olympia could become the centre for peace and cooperation initiatives among nations.  A new bill will focus on green development, which could become a model for the whole country, Papandreou pointed out, during his visit to the region. The project is “an initial effort to attract international interest for offers and investment in the region,” he said.

Greece: Measures to Reduce Emissions

green-car1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Measures to cut the carbon dioxide emissions produced by vehicles were on the agenda during an inner cabinet meeting yesterday, chaired by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.   Following the meeting, Town Planning, Public Works and Environment Minister George Souflias announced that higher “environmental taxes” will be levied on vehicles based on the amount of emissions produced by their engine.  Owners of so-called “green” vehicles will reportedly enjoy a reduction in license and road taxes, whereas owners of gas-guzzlers and older technology cars could see increases of between €50 to 150. The new rates will come into effect from 2010.  
Souflias announced a new programme (2009-12) to provide incentives for scrapping old cars in an effort to take off the road vehicles that pollute the environment. Also, he referred to changes for the current restricted zone in central Athens, according to which cars that pollute heavily would be excluded from entering it.

12th Symi Symposium: Progressive Governance

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The 12th annual Symi Symposium is taking place on the island of Skiathos on July 12-16. Held under the aegis of the Andreas Papandreou Foundation, the Symi symposia bring together leading academics, entrepreneurs, politicians, religious leaders, diplomats, scientists, and activists to develop progressive policy solutions to global challenges. The first such symposium was held in 1998 on the island of Symi, which has lent its name to the event ever since. This year’s theme is ‘Putting People First – Progressive Governance for a Green Economy and a Just Society’. The aim is to explore the steps required to lay the foundations for stable economic growth, environmental protection and social cohesion.  This year’s invited participants include Columbia University Business School professor and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (2001), Joseph Stiglitz, French Socialist Party’s former presidential candidate Segolene Royal, World Bank Vice President and Greenpeace International Executive Director, Gerd Leipold.

A floating “Green” Restaurant in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An Olympic city with many attractions and strong commercial foundations as a port, Volos is an ideal place for the first floating eco-friendly restaurant designed and constructed in Greek shipyards.  The new, floating, “green island” will be transferred to its permanent home in the summer. It will have naturally grown lawn, photovoltaic systems to cover its energy needs, and waste will be biologically cleaned.  More importantly, the materials used in its construction, as well as any other expendable supplies used during its operation, are eco- friendly. The artificial island will welcome its visitors on board in August.  Volos: Host of 2013 Mediterranean Games ; Agrotravel.gr: Volos

World Media on Greece: Greece to build its first “green isle”

(www.minpress.gr, Xinhua, 20.03.09)  A small island in the northern Aegean Sea included in the European Union’s Natura 2000 network of nature protected areas, Agios Efstratios or Ai Stratis, will become Greece’s first “green energy” community entirely powered by renewable energy sources. “The purpose of the project is to create an island whose needs will be 100 percent covered by renewable energy sources” stated Development Minister Costis HatzidakisAgios Efstratios currently has fewer than 250 inhabitants and “controllable” energy requirements of 1,500 megawatt-hours per year. Solar and wind energy and biomass fuel infrastructure will be introduced by the end of the year. The pilot project in Agios Efstratios will serve as an international model. Residents on the islands of Nisiros and Tilos have also expressed interest in being powered by renewable energy. Read more…   
See also:  Greek exile island to turn ‘green’: minister (AFP, 20.03.09), 
 Greece unveils first ‘green’ island (TheEarthTimes, 19.03.09), 
 Greece’s First ‘Green’ Island (GreekNewsAgenda, 18.03.09), 
 Centre for Renewable Energy Sources

Green Power: Creating ”IRENA”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Greece signed on Monday the founding treaty for the creation of an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the founding conference of which was held in Bonn in January 26. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Greek government by Deputy Development Minister Ioannis Bougas, who highlighted the potential of renewable energy sources to help alleviate social inequality by providing new job opportunities in products and services with high added value. Based on an initiative launched by Germany, IRENA aims at becoming the main driving force in promoting a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale by providing support to both industrial and developing countries in order to improve their regulatory frameworks and to develop renewable energy sources. Kathimerini daily: IRENA aims to boost use of green power Greek News Agenda: The Photovoltaic Market; Ministry of Development: 4th National Report regarding the penetration level of renewable energy sources up to the year 2010

Greece at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Today the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poznań, (December 1-12) concludes with the participation of 192 United Nations member states and representatives from international organisations and NGOs. The purpose of the conference is to lay the foundations for the conclusion of a global climate treaty which will succeed the Kyoto protocol. The final agreement is expected to be signed in Copenhagen in 2009. Member states are called to agree upon specific targets and deadlines to curtail carbon emissions, a matter which is directly linked to the course of their economic activity. The conference has set out the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60-80% by the year 2050. Addressing the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for global solidarity on climate change and talked about a new “Green Deal,” while the European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas stressed that the European Commission aims at shifting the gear towards concrete negotiations and reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. In regard to Greece, the Commissioner noted that Greece’s economy will benefit immensely should the country choose to comply fully with the European aspirations. European Commission: Commissioner’s speech in Poznan & UN Climate Change Conference 2008; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek chair @ Human Security Network- Policy Papers on Climate Change; Secretariat General for Information: About Greece-Environmental Protection & About Brand Greece-Environmental Strategic Policies

Green Energy Technologies in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Delivering a speech on “Climate change and green enterpreneurship”  at the 73rd Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation Theodoros Skylakakis referred to the multiple benefits emanating from the enhancement of “the 21st new big industry” called green energy technologies. Greece aspires to acquire competitive advantage in fields such as energy-saving know-how and materials or solar cooling and heating. Furthermore, thriving sectors of the Greek economy such as construction, steel production and consulting can provide ‘fertile ground’ for profitable investments on environment friendly projects. Setting the example, the Secretary General made particular reference to a synergy between Hellenic Aid and United States AID (USAID) on renewable energy investment-tracing programmes and energy saving in buildings for 9 countries from the Energy Community of Southeast Europe. Promotion of renewable energy sources: Center for Renewable Energy Sources; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship

Greece: Foreign Ministry

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)                             Ambassador’s Forum 
The prospects and objectives of the French EU Presidency (second semester of 2008 ) were presented by France’s Ambassador to Greece Christophe Farnaud within the framework of the “Ambassadors’ Forum,” a Foreign Ministry initiative aimed at promoting discussion and dialogue on foreign policy issues. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis addressed the opening of the proceedings, following a short welcoming address by Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos. The French Ambassador’s speech was entitled “The French EU Presidency and Europe’s Challenges.”  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Opening address of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis at the third ‘Ambassadors’ Forum’ Meeting  Continue reading