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Greece at UEFA EURO 2012

Greece’s EURO 2012 final stage course has begun on Friday 08.06.2012 at 18:00, with the opening match against host country Poland (result 1:1), in Warsaw.
The second match of Greece was against the Czech Republic (1:2) on June 12 and the next one will be with Russia on June 16 in Group A of the Euro 2012 tournament held inPoland and Ukraine, between June 8 and July 1. The top two of each group will qualify for the knock out phase.

Greece, EURO’s surprise trophy holder in 2004, qualified to the tournament having topped its qualifying group with seven wins and three draws. This time, under a new coach, Fernando Santos, they hope to repeat past good performances.

The first football match of the Greek team, on the 8th of June, was attended by the Secretary General of Sports, Panos Bitsaxis.

“Greece is Changing” campaign

Greece is Changing, is a campaign launched through international media, in four languages, English, French, German and Dutch, aiming to bring to the attention of a wider international audience, through a series of graphs and compact information, the changes initiated in Greece in the last two years.
It is a one-off public service initiative funded by a group of leading Greek business people, whose aim is to ensure that the sacrifices made by every Greek under the toughest austerity package in modern history, are not in vain.

Karaghiozis: “Inextricable part of Greek Culture”

Greece is planning to press its claims to Karaghiozis, a shadow puppet theatre character that UNESCO has deemed to be part of Turkey’s cultural heritage.
“Karaghiozis is an extricable part of our culture,” Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson said, adding that UNESCO allows neighbouring countries to access the same commodity when it comes to intangible cultural heritage.
The issue has prompted an announcement by the Ministry of Culture, according to which, “it is commonly known and undoubted that shadow theatre refers to a cultural tradition which surpasses boundaries and spans through the Balkans, and the broader East, long time before the emergence of contemporary states.

Concerning the Greek version of Karaghiozis, it represents a vivid chapter of Modern Greek culture, which defends traditional values broadly cherished by the Greek people.”

Museum of Shadow Theatre: Museum of Shadow Theatre & Greek Shadow Theatre Group Athanasiou: Karaghiozis-History
You Tube: Karagiozis & Athens Plus (16.7.2010): Greece to stake its claim to Karagiozis show
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greek Tourism Shows Resilence

• Minister Is Optimistic

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Figures on arrivals at Greek airports during the first five months of the year show an annual drop by 8.8%, much less than had originally been anticipated, Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos said during a press conference on June 16. Despite the dire economic climate globally, Markoupolos appeared optimistic that the drop in tourism for 2009 will not reach double digits and stressed that domestic tourism will also reach high levels. Kathimerini daily (17.6.2009): Tourism will not fall by over 10pct this year, gov’t says. Greek National Tourism Organisation: www.visitgreece.gr

• New Planes Take Off

Marfin Investment Group (MIG) which recently bought Olympic Airlines (OA) announced yesterday (June 17) that its subsidiary Olympic Air bought eight Q400 aircrafts from Bombardier for € 161,5 million with an option to acquire another 8. Meanwhile Aegean Airlines has announced that it is beginning daily flights to Istanbul from September 9, expanding its international routes. Kathimerini daily: MIG buys planes for Olympic Air

“Upside Down” AFI at the Benaki Museum

afi(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An exhibition by the group AFI at the Benaki Museum showcases creations inspired by objects from the museum’s permanent collections, under the title Upside Down. Their works can stand on their own as exemplary artistic entities, as they project their aesthetic integrity publicly and provocatively. The show runs through to June 7, in the form of ad hoc displays throughout the exhibition areas of the permanent collection. Athens Plus: AFI’s contemporary art objects on display at the Benaki  (8.5.2009, p. 27)

Olympic Airlines Seals the Deal

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

The government has announced the successful conclusion of negotiations with Marfin Investment Group (MIG) for the sale of the national carrier Olympic Airlines (OA). Under the deal, clinched late on Friday, the state is set to receive the sum of €177.2 million for all OA assets, flight operations and technical maintenance. For the ground-handling division, since talks between MIG and Swissport are still in progress, negotiations have been extended for a week, Development Minister Kostas Hatzidakis announced.

In order for the agreement between the Greek state and the Marfin Investment Group (MIG) to be finalised, it must be approved by the European Commission, following which, the inter-ministerial privatisations committee must evaluate it.

Greek Foreign Minister on Images of Nations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis outlined the factors that impact a country’s international image, addressing a two-day Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) international conference in Athens on the theme “Images of Nations: Strategic Communication, Soft Power and the Media,” which examines images of nations in an internationalised environment with the focus on possibilities and prospects for Greece. Referring to mass media, the foreign minister noted that the rapid technological developments of the past two centuries have “contributed to amazing changes, from newspapers to radio, television and Internet communication.”  Bakoyannis referred to the case of Athens, comparing the city’s international image during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with that presented during last December’s incidents. As a result of the public image of the Olympic Games, tourism to Athens rose. “Tourists were going not only to the islands, but also to Athens … the city that was presented with and had the image that we desired, the result positive. December 2008. Athens in flames and the banner on the Acropolis… I had said in parliament at the time that the people who raised the banner on the Acropolis should have thought of the magnitude of the damage they were causing to the country. No matter how much one invests in and fights for the country’s public image, such a banner can destroy your entire effort.”  The issues under examination at the conference, which is under the aegis of the foreign ministry, include: Internet as a tool of public diplomacy and foreign policy; soft power as a part of the high-level strategy of states, and the institutional dimensions of shaping policies regarding a state’s image. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: FM Dora Bakoyannis’ speech at the international conference on “Images of nations: Strategic communication, soft power and the media” 

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis at Olive Group

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     yannis-valinakisDeputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis on Tuesday underlined the need for more effective EU policies in the Mediterranean region, pointing out that it was equally important to bring a Mediterranean dimension into European integration. Attending the 6th Informal Meeting of the EU Mediterranean countries “Olive Group” that took place in Taormina, Sicily (15-16.12), the minister stated that the meeting focused on migration issues in the western Balkans and EU enlargement. He underlined there should be a “Mediterranean neighbourhood” to face the problems together and join forces to create opportunities that “will protect us during a crisis and at the same time produce long-term benefits.” The Olive group consists of Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Slovenia. Greek News Agenda: The Olive Group; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus: 5th Informal Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Mediterranean EU Member-States, Concluding Remarks 

Doing Business in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   According to the Doing Business 2009 Report, Greece has improved its overall Ease of Business index, moving up to rank 96 (from 106 in 2008). Greece cut the minimum capital requirement to start a business by 80%, reduced capital tax and made publication of company statutes quicker. It also introduced electronic payment of social security tax, and passed a new bankruptcy law that is expected to allow more companies in distress to emerge as going concerns. Finally, Greece strengthened director accountability by making it easier for shareholders to sue directors for damages caused by related-party transactions.  The Doing Business Report, published by the World Bank Group, is tracking reforms in 181 economies. Greece’s areas of reform were: Starting a Business, Protecting Investors, Paying Taxes, Closing a Business  InvestInGreece Agency: www.investingreece.gov.gr; Competitive Greece: Surveys on Competitiveness;  Ministry of Economy &  Finance: Tax Reform & Investment Incentives Law  Greek News Agenda: The Greek Economy-Pointers; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- A New Economic Policy: creating a favorable environment for investment  Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Special Reports

Studying Greek Politics / A New Webside

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) of the UK’s Political Studies Association (PSA) has just launched its new website at: www.gpsg.org.uk  The GPSG is an independent, international, non-profit network of political and social scientists with an interest in Greece. The Group has a strong record of promoting the study of Greek government and politics through events and grants.  The GPSG will be organising panels at the 59th annual conference of the PSA (Manchester, April 2009) and will be proposing a panel on institutional reform at the 2009 international conference at Yale University (“The Challenge of Reform in Greece, 1974-2009: Assessment and Prospects”).  The Greek Politics Specialist Group website: Current Projects; Working Papers & Thematic Bibliographies; PSA Conference Panels

Athens / Photo Exhibition: The Modern Arab World

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Modern Arab World” photographers exhibition at the Benaki Museum, Athens, records the rise and catalytic effect of ever increasing information media in the Islamic world, the Western influence on the lifestyle of the local communities, as well as everyday life experiences in the Middle East. The exhibition, designed the Beetroot Design Group,  is taking place within the framework of anniversary events to celebrate twenty years of operation for Apeiron Photos.  The Benaki Museum collection of Islamic art, includes examples of all Islamic art local variations from as far as India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily and Spain, and ranks among the most important in the world.

Visit Greece: Naxos Island

 (GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The island of Naxos is the largest and the most fertile in the Cyclades group of islands. Its numerous sandy beaches make it an ideal holiday place for people who seek a quiet and beautiful are for their vacation. More than 64 villages, most of which are mountainous, cover its slopes. They are well known for their cool climate and their delicious local cuisine. Sport and nature lovers should not miss the walking tour in the fertile Tragea plains, where one sees Byzantine chapels, Venetian residence towers and picturesque villages. The Naxos Festival at the Bazeos Tower, (19 July to 4 September) guarantees a rich cultural life during vacation. Don’t miss this year’s exhibition on the theme: “Art and Madness.” At nights, as one may relax by the sea, and one must definitely try the excellent citron liqueur, produced at Khalki village. It must be noted that the Archaelogical Museum of Naxos has a unique collection of Cycladic statues and artifacts, dating back to 2800 B.C.