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Greece`s presentation by the Greek Embassy and the Press Office at the European Information Centre in Warsaw (19/3/2010)

A presentation of Greece by the Greek Embassy and the Press Office in Warsaw took place at the European Information Centre of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 19th March 2010 (www.cie.gov.pl).
Various aspects of Greece were presented by the Deputy Head of Mission, Paraskevi Charitidou, and the Press Attache, Maria Mondelou.
The audience, 70  students of higher secondary schools of Warsaw, was informed about Greece`s geostrategic position, its political system, the participation in international organizations, such as the EU and the NATO, the Greek Presidencies in the EU.
A brief presentation of the Greek history, mainly during the modern and contemporary period, was followed by characteristic examples of Greek culture, in the fields of literature, poetry, music, theatre and cinema.
Views of the New Acropolis Museum were presented, as well as Greece`s request for the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles.
During the discussion, the students were informed about Greece`s foreign policy, the situation of the Greek economy, tourism, the educational system and the scholarships offered for foreign students. They were, also, particularly interested about the image of Poles in Greece and their life.
 The European Information Centre, that invited the Greek Embassy to make the presentation of Greece, organizes annually discussions with representatives of the EU member states.

Centrum Informacji Europejskiej  

Spotkanie z przedstawicielkami Ambasady Grecji
 19 marca 2010 r. w Centrum Informacji Europejskiej MSZ odbyło się spotkanie uczniów XL Liceum Ogólnokształcącego im. S. Żeromskiego oraz LXXV Liceum Ogólnokształcącego im. Jana III Sobieskiego w Warszawie z przedstawicielkami Ambasady Grecji. Ambasadę reprezentowały Pani Paraskevi Charitidou, zastępca szefa misji oraz Pani Maria Mondelou, Pierwszy Sekretarz w Biurze Prasowym Ambasady Grecji w Warszawie.
Prelegentki omówiły historię i system polityczny Grecji oraz aktualne działania Grecji w Unii Europejskiej. Opowiedziały również o warunkach studiowania w tym kraju i stypendiach dostępnych dla polskich studentów. Podczas prezentacji został wyświetlony krótki film o Atenach.
Po wykładzie miała miejsce dyskusja, w czasie której przedstawicielki Ambasady odpowiedziały na liczne pytania publiczności dotyczące stereotypów o Polakach, greckiej kultury, popularnych Greków, kryzysu gospodarczego, relacji z Turcją, aktualnego sporu między Grecją i Byłą Jugosłowiańską Republiką Macedonii przed Międzynarodowym Trybunałem Sprawiedliwości oraz doświadczeń czterech prezydencji Grecji w Radzie Unii Europejskiej.
W spotkaniu uczestniczyło ponad 70 osób.
(Polish text by www.cie.gov.pl)
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The OSCE on a new path

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political Declaration Adopted

Foreign ministers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) 56 participating states charted the way ahead for the OSCE-anchored debate on the future of European security known as the Corfu Process in a decision and a Ministerial Declaration adopted yesterday after a two-day Ministerial Council held in Athens (December 1-2).
“The Corfu Process will be taken forward by our Permanent Representatives to the OSCE in Vienna, in accordance with the decision we are adopting today.
We remain committed to provide strong political impetus to the Corfu Process, and we are looking forward to reassessing its progress in 2010, in the format and level that we will deem appropriate, taking into consideration the results we achieve,” it is stated in the Declaration, which is the first to be adopted since 2002.
Athens Ministerial Council (dedicated webpage)

» Turning a New Page

Commenting on the Ministerial Council at a press conference, held at the end of the meeting, Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office George Papandreou referred to a new page in the Organisation’s history.
“We have committed ourselves in a joint document on how to face common challenges,” he said noting that, Kazakhstan’s task -which is assuming the Presidency of the OSCE for the next year-, is difficult.
But as the Greek premier stressed, “we proved today that if we want we can. The process can revive political dialogue and the tangible result was consensus.”

ON THE SIDELINES

» Meeting with Russian FM

The strategic nature of Greek-Russian relations and their excellent level was reaffirmed during a meeting in Athens on Wednesday between Prime Minister George Papandreou and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held on the sidelines of the OSCE Council in Athens.Papandreou accepted a formal invitation to visit Moscow in early 2010.

Papandreou and Lavrov discussed bilateral relations in all sectors, ranging from energy to culture and from regional cooperation to relations with the EU and NATO, and signed a 2010-2012 joint action plan to be renewed every two years.

» Meeting with Turkish FM

Prime Minister George Papandreou also met with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, with both sides citing closer cooperation in all levels.
The potential for the adoption of practical measures to boost cooperation of the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey in 2010 was also discussed at the meeting. Davutoglu spoke positively of Greece’s target for the EU integration of the western Balkans in 2014, and he confirmed Turkey’s intent for closer bilateral cooperation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece- Turkey

FYROM Name Issue

» Athens dismisses latest quip for ‘double-name’ solution

Bacoyannis(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis dismissed yesterday (July 21), statements made by the prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Gruevski that Skopje’s ‘natural position’ is a “double-name formula” to overcome the thorny name issue.”   This statement shows that Mr. Gruevski has not realised the message of the international community, which is clear and unanimous: for the sake of his country’s and his people’s Euro-Atlantic course, a mutually acceptable solution to this issue must be achieved; a composite name with a geographical qualifier, erga omnes,” the FM underlined in a press release.  Greek News Agenda: Greece has a strong case on the name issue

International Meetings in Corfu

Corfu Process Launched
ministerialsummit1The informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers on the Greek island of Corfu concluded yesterday (28.6) with the launch of the “Corfu Process” to tackle European security challenges with concrete steps to restore confidence and prepare the ground for the ministers’ next meeting in Athens in December. “We have agreed on the need for an open, sustained, wide-ranging and inclusive dialogue on security and concurred that the OSCE is a natural forum to anchor this dialogue, because it is the only regional organization bringing together all states from Vancouver to Vladivostok on an equal basis,” said Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Dora Bakoyannis.
Karamanlis’ Address 
KaramanlisAddressing the informal ministerial meeting Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis noted that “[…] history teaches us that crises are often the springboards for improvement. The Chinese word for crisis is made of two characters: one means danger, the other means opportunity. We have to grasp the opportunity; we have to overcome the danger. As he stressed, Greece is convinced that a sincere, inclusive and open-ended dialogue is the first step in order to restore confidence and trust among the participating states and enhance the collective capacity to solve old problems and address new challenges. Karamanlis underlined the significance of the Corfu meetings, noting that it was a big success of Greece’s foreign policy.
NATO-Russia Council
nato-russia1(1)Twenty-nine foreign ministers of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) also gathered on Corfu on June 27 – the first high-level meeting between the two sides since the crisis in Georgia, last summer- to review the current state of relations and discuss the way forward for the Council. The ministers agreed to open the door for renewing military cooperation in the framework of the NRC.  The meeting was chaired by the outgoing NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who said afterwards that “the NRC which has been in the neutral stand for almost a year, is now back in gear.”  There are still “fundamental differences” between the Alliance and Russia on the Caucasus issues, […], though they do not constitute a reason for discontinuation of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) talks on a broad range of security threats, he said. On his part, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called for a return to the founding principles of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) and said that the Council convened after a long time, with positive results and a sincere exchange of views. On Russia’s decisions regarding the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Lavrov said that they were “irreversible,” but added that the meeting had been useful in averting new clashes.
Bilateral Meetings
HPA -GREECEOn the sidelines of the Corfu meetings, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met with US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.  They spoke of a “new air” in Greece-US relations and signed two accords: a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a cooperation agreement on tackling serious crime, which pave the way to Greece’s inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Programme. Karamanlis also had a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on the sidelines of the NATO-Russia meeting, and the two leaders discussed illegal migration, the establishment of an EU coastguard, Greek-Italian cooperation in the energy sector, with the focus on the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline and the South Stream natural gas pipeline. Furthermore, Bakoyannis met for the first time with her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece – USA & Greece – Italy

Greece / Corfu High-Level Meetings

oscehellas(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The Greek Chairmanship of the OSCE is hosting an informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers on June 27 and June 28, on the Greek island of Corfu.  The Corfu ministerial meeting will bring together all 56 participating states to the same table for a dialogue related to security in Europe and OSCE’s role. Corfu will also play host to the NATO-Russia Council meeting -the first one since the crisis in Georgia last summer- scheduled to take place on June 27. The meeting will focus on revitalizing the Council with the objective of developing its activities and improving NATO-Russian relations.  Among those attending the meetings will be the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, Javier Solana, the EU Commissioner on External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the Secretaries General of  NATO and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The US delegation will be headed by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and the Russian by FM Sergey Lavrov.

Greek PM Meets with Outgoing NATO Secretary General

karamsceff(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Thursday (May 14) in Athens with the outgoing NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.  Pointing out that during Scheffer’s term the alliance was enlarged twice, while in the field of operations NATO was called to meet very demanding challenges, Karamanlis praised the efforts to promote the Alliance’s relations with Russia as well as the progress made in relation to Ukraine and Georgia and the countries of the ‘Partnership for Peace’, the ‘Mediterranean Dialogue’ and the ‘Istanbul Initiative.’  On his part, the NATO SecGen stressed that “Greece’s participation in NATO’s operations and missions was and still is very important.” He also referred to energy and internet security issues as well as to the participation of Greek Navy frigates in the efforts to combat sea piracy.  De Hoop Scheffer also met with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.

OSCE Chair at Munich Security Conference

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis presided over a panel on “NATO, Russia, Oil, Gas and the Middle East: The future of European security,” at the main plenary session of the 45th Munich Security Conference, where she emphasized Greece’s willingness to move forward with the dialogue on European security issues. Europe faces common threats and security challenges, and the OSCE remains the forum for dialogue on security issues, she said. “There appears to be widespread consensus that, to say the least, we need to engage in a dialogue on security issues. It goes without saying that – provided that there is agreement by all 56 OSCE participating states – Greece stands ready to organise meetings at any level that could launch, or more generally facilitate, such a dialogue,” Bakoyannis noted. In her speech, she touched upon several points, including European security, common interests and common values – such as respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law, observing territorial integrity, refraining from the threat or use of force – as well as the continuation of OSCE work in Georgia. Lastly, she underlined the considerable advantage of such meetings, namely that the participants have the possibility of “speaking far more openly than in ordinary forums.” Bakoyannis is in Tirana today as part of her Balkan countries’ tour, where she will be meeting with Albanian President Bamir Topi, Prime Minister Sali Berisha and her counterpart Lulzim Basha. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Speech of FM Dora Bakoyannis at the 45th Munich Security Conference