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New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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New Greek Government: A Wind of Change

newcabinet2(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Shortly after being  sworn in as Prime Minister, George Papandreou unveiled his first Cabinet yesterday, presenting a relatively new team with a few party heavyweights.  The premier has downsized the number of ministries from 16 to 14 and deputy ministers from 26 to 21, plus two alternate ministers. Of the 37 individuals making up the government, 24 will be living the ministerial experience for the first time.  Additionally, nine members of the cabinet are women, a proportion which is a novelty in Greece. One of the surprises is the reinstatement of the post of deputy prime minister, which hasn’t been seen since the 1980s.  There is one new ministry, that of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. Many other ministries have been altered in some way: Citizen’s Protection; Infrastructure, Transport and Networks; Interior, Decentralization and e-Governance; Economy, Competitiveness and Merchant Marine; Education, Lifelong Learning and Religion; Justice, Transparency and Human Rights; and the former ministries of Culture and Tourism have merged into one. Kathimerini daily: Some surprises in Papandrou’s new team

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(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Transport and Communication Minister Kostas Hatzidakis discussed on July 30 the basic guidelines regarding the access of two million households and businesses to “Fibre to the Home” (FTTH) technology. FTTH is a network architecture that uses optical fibres to replace all or part of the usual copper local loop used for telecommunications. Past technologies, in order of an increasingly longer fibre loop, are fibre to the neighbourhood and to the building. The project is incorporated in the framework of the “Digital Strategy 2006-2013” and will help extend already existing digital structures and broadband network. On February 5, Hatzidakis said that Greece will invest €2.5 billion in fibre-networks, while the project will be implemented through the Public and Private Partnership. Fibre to the Home Council Europe: www.ftthcouncil.eu; see also: 3rd International Conference on Broadband Internet; Secretariat General for Information: About Brand Greece, Public and Private Partnerships in Greece