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EU Heads in Athens

» International Biodiversity Conference

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was welcomed  in Athens in order to attend a two-day international conference on “Biodiversity Protection Beyond 2010” hosted by Greece (April 27-28). Some 230 representatives of EU member states, NGOs, European enterprises and UN agencies discussed EU policy on biodiversity, as 2010 will be a major milestone for biodiversity policy both in the EU and globally. Addressing the event, Barroso underlined the significance of protecting biodiversity, shifting from “business as usual,” to a new model, hopefully shaped by this new “message emitting from Athens.” 

Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis praised Greece for its high quality biodiversity amongst Mediterranean and European countries, but stressed that environmental protection ought to know no geographic boundaries. Taking the floor, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas warned that the world cannot turn its back on climate change and on any pressing matters of environmental protection. European Commission: Follow the Conference on-line & Dimas on biodiversity

» Remarks on Greek Economy

Meeting yesterday with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Barroso welcomed Greece’s plans to tackle microeconomic imbalances and deliver on structural reforms. The Greek government has pledged to rein in the country’s deficit by 2010 (a fall to less than 3% of GDP), in keeping with EU’s proposed measures on fiscal policy.

» Honours Bestowed

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso received  (April 27) distinction from the Hellenic Parliament and the City of Athens. Hellenic Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas decorated Barroso with the Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament, while Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis awarded Barroso the Medal of Honour and Benefaction of the City of Athens.

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City of Athens Launches Chrismas Events Tomorrow

dhmos-athinasCity of Athens Christmas and New Year festivities will commence tomorrow, Tuesday, December 16, with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree at Syntagma Square at 19:30. The festivities programme had been suspended due to recent tragic events.
Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis assures all Athens citizens that the festive events will take place in order to assist the city to find its rhythm once again and bring smiles mostly to the faces of young children.
City of Athens teams are waging a “battle” with time in order to repair damages and rebuild the festive scene at Syntagma Square from scratch.
Mayor Kaklamanis invites all Athens citizens to attend the launch of Christmas events and, together, convey the message that “Athens will live on and celebrate Christmas”.
Syntagma Square: The centre of the celebration
Syntagma Square will be filled with the melodies of the City of Athens Philharmonic Orchestra and songs of the Spyros Lambrou Children’s Choir, until the moment Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis gives the signal for the lighting of the Christmas tree and illumination of the city with festive lights.
Fireworks will light up Athens skies, making the start of the celebration, a celebration that will reach even the smallest city neighbourhood.
The City of Athens Music Ensembles Big Band will then stage a concert at the square.
For three full weeks Syntagma Square will be transformed into a festive scene with special structures, games and the magic carousel. Individuals of all ages will have the opportunity to enjoy a series of music and art events featuring classic and jazz melodies, Christmas songs from around the world, Byzantine hymns, ethnic music and traditional dances, to take place on a specially-built stage. The Municipality’s young friends can expect plenty of surprises and a range of educational and entertainment activities.

President of Greece K. Papoulias Receives Slovakian Counterpart

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias (left) received his Slovak counterpart Ivan Gasparovic on Tuesday, who is on a three-day visit to Greece. After the meeting, Papoulias stated that they discussed bilateral and European issues, underlining that the EU has an obligation to its principles and history to contribute to the creation of a new global economic system that will guarantee transparency and development. He also stated that he briefed his Slovak counterpart on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, pointing out that it is time for the wall dividing Nicosia, the last dividing wall in Europe, to fall. Other topics of discussion included the potential for more Greek investments in Slovakia, mainly in the sector of services and the exploitation of Slovakia’s mineral springs. President Ivan Gasparovic was awarded the City of Athens’ Gold Medal of Merit on Tuesday, by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. Athens News Agency: Greek, Slovak Presidents Meet; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Slovakia 

From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  In 2004, the Olympic Games returned to Greece, the country of their birthplace, and Athens, the city of their revival in modern times. In 2008, Beijing is hosting the Olympic Games for the first time in its pioneering history as a seat of authority and government as well as culture and learning. Greece and China have benefited from a favourable development of friendly cooperation cooperation in political, economic, and cultural affairs. On the political side, top government officials have paid many visits to China, the latest being the one of President Karolos Papoulias last June. Concerning economic prospects, Greece can constitute a potential base of operations, from where China could expand its business in the EU, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Shipping leaves much room for economic cooperation and the latest Cosco Pacific Ltd’s deal over Piraeus port inaugurates a fruitful synergy in the broader field.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece’s relations with China; mediainfo2004.gr: From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008; Press and Communication Office – Beijing: www.grpressbeijing.com  
                                                     Greece @ 2008 Olympics
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, and General Secretary of Information Panos Livadas are in Beijing for the Olympic Games. Greece will participate in the XXIX Olympic Games of Beijing with 156 athletes, 84 men and 72 women. 22-year-old gold medal winner in the 2004 Olympic Games judoka Ilias Iliadis will be the flag bearer of the Hellenic delegation during the Opening Ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium. Hellenic Olympic Committe: www.hoc.gr; SportInGreece.com: Olympics 2008