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Greece in mourning

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political leaders expressed their shock and grief on Wednesday in the wake of a bank torching in central Athens that left three bank employees dead.

News of the abhorrent attack found Parliament in session to debate the latest round of government-announced austerity measures – the reason unions were holding protests outside the House.

» President of the Hellenic Republic

Referring to the current financial situation and the frustration many people are feeling with the political system, President Karolos Papoulias stated the following:
“Our country has reached the edge of the abyss. It is everybody’s responsibility that we do not take the fatal step. Responsibility is proven through action, not in words. History will judge us all.”

» Prime Minister

Prime Minister George Papandreou rebuked a murderous attack, while promising that “the perpetrators will be located and will stand trial.” Moreover, the premier called on all Parliament-represented parties to unequivocally condemn the violence.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are a free and democratic country. We fight, and have fought, for the right to live in a democratic Greece. And each citizen has a right to demonstrate.
But no one has the right to resort to violence, especially violence leading to the murder of fellow citizens. And we know that violence breeds violence. Protest is different from murder.”

» Opposition Leaders

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stressed that the country is going through “critical moments,” while expressing his grief for the innocent victims of fanaticism, and random violence.
The leaders of the remaining opposition parties – the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group Chief Alexis Tsipras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis – each condemned the violence and expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.

Cacoyannis Foundation: A new Cultural Centre

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias officially inaugurated on March 9, the “Michael Cacoyannis Foundation,” housed in an Athens downtown building.
The Foundation’s building is designed to serve as a cultural centre for performing arts and is meant to preserve Cacoyannis oeuvre for future generation.
The official inauguration is to be followed by a series of events, including a costume and photography exhibition from Cacoyannis’s work for the cinema, opera and theatre.
Cypriot-born Michael Cacoyannis is the director of world acclaimed films, among which Stella, Electra, Zorba the Greek and The Trojan Women
Athens News (5.3.2010) Cacoyannis’ cultural centre

Papoulias re-elected President of the Republic

 Parliament on Wednesday re-elected the uncontested incumbent President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias to a second term in Greece’s highest office, with an overwhelming majority of 266 votes in the 300-member House among the 298 MPs in attendance, while 32 MPs simply declared their presence.
Papoulias was re-elected with the votes of the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), main opposition New Democracy (ND) and smaller opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) parties’ MPs in a roll-call vote during a special session of the unicameral parliament.
 The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) MPs did not vote for the incumbent, but simply declared themselves present when called.
Papoulias is the sixth President of the Republic since the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974, following Mihalis Stasinopoulos, Constantine Tsatsos, Constantine Karamanlis, Christos Sartzetakis and Costis Stephanopoulos.
 He will be sworn in for his second term on Friday, March 12 at noon.(Πηγή: ANA-MPA)

President @ World Future Energy Summit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A change of the energy and development model with extensive use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) could decisively contribute to combating inequalities and advancing social cohesion at local, regional, national and global level, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said yesterday (January 18), addressing the 3rd World Future Energy Summit, that opened in Abu Dhabi, UAE (January 18-21).

Papoulias – a keynote speaker at the summit- stressed that “global leaders are obliged to respond to the climate challenge, and, instead of limiting themselves to a ‘least common denominator’ agreement, they should proceed to a global, comprehensive, and legally binding agreement with specific targets and timetables.”
Every crisis entails an opportunity, and this crisis entails an opportunity for the adoption of policies and measures for the promotion of RES and energy efficiency, which can play a decisive role in the global economy’s exit from the crisis and a speedier recovery, the President noted.

» Papoulias – Erdogan Meeting

On the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit, Papoulias met with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Ergodan, who was also a keynote speaker at the summit.
The two leaders held a private 40-minute meeting during which Papoulias informed the Turkish premier that an answer to his letter to the Greek Prime Minister is to be expected in the next few days, while Erdogan expressed a desire to visit Athens in the near future.

OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens

» Papoulias Inaugurates OSCE Meeting

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias inaugurated yesterday the 17th Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), taking place in Athens (1-2/12).
Papoulias welcomed delegates from the OSCE’ s 56 member states and described the international meeting as “an important political event and an opportunity to strengthen peaceful cooperation and promote the common goals of the member states, in order to reach tangible and substantive conclusions.”

» Papandreou’ s Address

The Corfu Process needs to be taken a step further in order to meet the challenges to European security in the 21st century, OSCE chairman-in-office, Greece’s Prime minister and Foreign minister George Papandreou stressed, addressing the first plenary session of the organisation’s 17th ministerial council.
“We have to agree on important decisions in the next two days to strengthen co-operative security across the OSCE area, to shape the work of our organization, and to create a strong foundation for Kazakhstan to build upon as it assumes the OSCE Chairmanship on January 1,” Papandreou said.
He also expressed his hope that a constructive spirit will prevail during the two-day deliberations of the meeting.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Speech of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece Papandreou, to the 1st Plenary session of the 17th OSCE Ministerial Council
See also Project Syndicate: Renewing Europe’s Security Dialogue by George Papandreou

» Sideline Meetings

On the sidelines of the OSCE ministerial council, Papandreou met with the foreign ministers of Finland, Alexander Stubb and Kazakhstan, Kanat Saudabayev, who together form the current OSCE “troika.”
Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas had a meeting with FYROM’s FM Antonio Milososki while the premier is scheduled to meet today with the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey, Sergei Lavrov and Ahmet Davutoglou respectively.
At the end of the first day of meetings, the Greek OSCE chairmanship hosted a formal reception for the visiting diplomatic delegations at the Acropolis Museum.

Olympic Flame: Goodbye Greece, Hello Vancouver

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean’s official visit to Athens has coincided with the lighting of the Olympic Flame, that was passed on yesterday to the organizers of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, in Vancouver.

The Canadian city is becoming the flame’s keeper, after the final run on Greek soil by Greek-Canadian figure skater Niki GeorgiadouPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received the Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, on October 29.  In his welcoming speech, President Papoulias pointed out that Haiti, the country of origin of the Governor General of Canada, supported the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans in 1821.  He also underlined that “Canada embraced Greek immigrants,” and referred to the humanitarian aid Greece received from Canada, during WWII.  Olympic Movement: The lighting ceremony in Olympia & Greek News Agenda: Ancient Olympia in the Spotlight

Macedonian Diaspora’s Meeting

pap-lit1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias called on the FYROM leadership to abandon its “irredentist visions” and consent to a “mutually acceptable solution on the name issue that will respect history.”    Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 10th International Convention of Macedonian Associations and the 63rd Convention of the Pan-Macedonian Association of the United States, held in Litochoro, Pieria prefecture, on July 11, the President thanked the Macedonians who live overseas for the strength and determination with which they defend Greece’s interests.   “We all share a common vision for our country’s future and the future of the Balkans” – a vision of peace, prosperity, economic growth and cooperation in the framework of a united Europe,” the President noted.

Greece – Serbia Connection

Papoulias in Belgrade
papouliasserbia1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) 
President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias is on a two-day official visit in Serbia. Papoulias was warmly received by his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadić in Belgrade yesterday (July 2), where they held talks on bilateral relations and the European prospect of Serbia. Tadić thanked Greece for its position on the Kosovo issue. On his part, Papoulias emphasised the great importance of Serbia as a strategic partner and interlocutor for Greece. “Serbia can and should play a stabilising role […] in the region of Balkans” stated Papoulias, while stressing Greece’s support for Serbia’s accession to the European family and the ongoing initiative within the EU to lift visa restrictions for Serbian people. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Serbia; Greek News Agenda: Relations with Serbia  
Hellenic Culture Foundation in Belgrade
belgrad_ktirio5The Hellenic Culture Foundation Centre in Belgrade was inaugurated July 3, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias and his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadić. The new HCF centre will promote relations between the two countries in the field of education, as the Greek language has been taught for more than twenty years in Serbian Universities, and the same is true for the Serbian language in Greek Universities. Moreover, the HFC Centre in Belgrade will offer the study of the Greek language and will organise cultural events in collaboration with the local educational and cultural institutions.

Remembering Greek Jews

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) memorial event for the Greek Jews killed during the Holocaust was held yesterday (June 17) at the Zappeion Conference Centre.  The event took place on the occasion of the Foreign Ministry’s publication of “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau” and was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias.  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held meetings with the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), Moses Constantines, and the President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, David Saltiel. The book “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau” recounts the story of the sixty thousand Greek Jews into the of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Greek News Agenda: Special Issue-The Jews of Greece

Greek President Papoulias Meets Romanian Counterpart

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias met on Wednesday with his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu, who is on a state visit to Greece. The two leaders discussed matters of bilateral well as of particular Balkan interest, confirming there is common ground regarding the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, provided that “good neighbour” policies are enshrined in the actions of the aspiring members.  The Romanian president made clear that this principle applies to all countries wishing to join the EU, including FYROM and Turkey. Regarding the latter and its relations to Cyprus, Basescu was pronounced in favour of EU’s “code of conduct,” stressing that is thus unacceptable that Turkey continues to occupy a section of an EU member country and that Nicosia continues to be a divided European capital.

Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias Visit Denmark

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias began a three-day official visit in Denmark   on Monday (18.5), accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and a business delegation.   Speaking during the dinner hosted in his honour by the Queen of Denmark Margrethe II, Papoulias stressed that the planet needs a new, binding and effective international law framework for the environment.  Today, the President will address a business forum and on Wednesday morning, he will have meetings with the Speaker and a delegation of the Danish Parliament as well as the Danish prime minister.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Denmark

The Athens Summit 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The two-day international Athens Summit 2009 conference on “The road to Copenhagen” opened yesterday with speakers focusing on managing the security of energy supply, providing energy security in Europe and beyond, and assessing the role of the countries of Southeastern Europe as a gateway to energy security and diversification.  Senior governmental officials, corporate leaders, financiers, and experts participate in the summit to discuss how the twin goals of energy security and managing climate change can be achieved to the benefit of all people. 

Papoulias’ Address

The inaugural speech was delivered by the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias. The President called for the collaboration of social forces beyond political parties for an economic and social vision to ensure viable development and protection of the environment, despite possible confrontation with vested interests. 

Papandreou’s Green Diplomacy

For his part, main opposition PASOK and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou stressed that Greece should take all necessary measures to increase “green” investments.  He called for a “turn toward quality products and the use of new technologies in all sectors (transport, health, tourism),” underlining the importance of investing in human resources through education.  He also noted that “Greece can play an important role as regards cooperation with the SE European countries and the Mediterranean region through ‘green’ diplomacy,” he stated.

Greek President in Finland

papoulias1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias had a meeting on Tuesday (5.5) with his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen in Helsinki.  Presidents Papoulias and Halonen discussed the global economic crisis, bilateral, international and European issues and according to Papoulias they “shared the same positions.”  The Finnish President backed the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and the return of all antiquities that are being kept in third countries to their country of origin. On his part, Papoulias invited his Finnish counterpart to formally visit Greece and thanked Finland and the Finnish Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles for their support. The Greek President will address a special event today hosted by the Committee.  Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) – Greek President’s Speech in Finland; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece- Finland  

Greek Official Visits

President Papoulias in Finland President
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)
  President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias is officially visiting Finland. During his four-day official visit until May 7, Papoulias will hold talks with his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen the Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and the Parliament Speaker Sauli Niinisto.  Papoulias will also be awarded Helsinki’s Medal of Honour, while on Wednesday afternoon he will address a seminar concerning the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles.    Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece- Finland 

Deputy Foreign Minister in Syria
kassimisDeputy Foreign Minister Theodore Kassimis has completed a three-day official visit to Syria.   After holding a series of meetings with Syrian officials, Kassimis confirmed the excellent relations between the two countries and stressed common positions on issues concerning the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider Middle East region.  Kassimis also visited the Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius in Damascus, met with Greek expatriates and inaugurated the construction of a school for Palestinian refugees funded by the Greek government.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations – Greece-Syria

Greek President Received Chile’s Parliament Speaker

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday February 13, met with the President of Chile’s House of Representatives, Francisco Encina Moriamez, who is visiting Greece at the invitation of the Hellenic Parliament. Greeting Moriamez on arrival at the Presidential Mansion, Papoulias referred to the struggles of the peoples of Greece and Chile against the colonels’ junta and Pinochet dictatorship in the two countries, respectively. Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis also received Moriamez at the Prime Minister’s Mansion in Athens on Friday. Moriamez attended a plenary discussion on a bill on amendments to investment laws. He was greeted on arrival by Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas, who noted that the Chile House of Representatives supported the Greek positions on the Cyprus issue as well as on Greek-Turkish relations.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Chile

President’s of Greece Message to Hellenes Abroad

President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday addressed a holiday message to Greeks living abroad, stressing that their native country Greece will always be proud of their progress and their various successes in their adopted homeland. “This difficult time demands that all Greeks, both those of the metropolitan centre and those abroad, strengthen even more the bonds that unite us.” he said.

Greek Prime Minister: National Unity Against Violance

karastanding11(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, in his statement on Tuesday night regarding ongoing riots and incidents in the country, stressed that “those who create disturbances and vandalism are enemies of democracy” and added that he made this position clear in successive meetings he held with the President of the Republic, party leaders and the Parliament speaker earlier in the day. “Generalisations and levelling aphorisms in the name of democracy deal a blow to democracy itself,” the prime minister said and concluded that the government is handling the situation with responsibility and calmness, but with determination and with the focus being protecting human life, securing legality and restoring the feeling of security.  President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias called on everyone to honour the 15-year-old boy, whose fatal shooting by police sparked days of rioting across the country, peacefully. “If our society fails to give convincing answers, giving solutions, the wound will remain open. But we must persist with respect to the institutions and the laws. Being a member of the generation that lived through difficult years in our history, I urge everyone to honour Alexis’ memory peacefully,” said the President of the Republic. Athens News Agency: PM calls for national unity against violence; ERTonline: Papoulias’ call for peaceful remembrance 

Greek Prime Minister Confers with State Leadership

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Following further acts of vandalism by small groups, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met  with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias early morning yesterday, and briefed him on the latest upheaval triggered by the loss of the 15 year-old pupil. Following their meeting, the premier held  successive meetings with all leaders of the opposition parties who vehemently condemned the acts of violence perpetrated in the echo of the events. Yesterday, Minister of Interior Pavlopoulos clarified that there is no need for emergency measures to be taken and that law enforcement is being carried out through standard procedure. He further stressed that the government will not tolerate the manipulation of the lost adolescent’s memory and its use as an excuse for delinquency.  Secretary General of Information, Panos Livadas was invited yesterday to participate in BBC World Radio’s Newshour, during which, he reiterated the Prime Minister’s commitment on behalf of the government to indemnify the people whose property was destroyed or damaged. He further stressed that the government is determined to safeguard the right to freedom of expression in a peaceful way, without allowing minorities to infiltrate, creating violent unrest. 

Greece Mourns Death of Youth

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A tragic incident took place on Saturday night, when a teenager was shot by a police officer. Due process is being followed: the two people responsible for this act of violence have been brought to justice. One of them is charged with premeditated manslaughter, and the second with complicity. The whole of Greece in one voice, be it the government, the opposition, and the people themselves, expressed its condemnation of the tragic incident of Saturday night. Some isolated extremist groups tried to take advantage of this spontaneous expression of sorrow and transformed it into acts of vandalism of public and private property in downtown Athens.In a condolence letter to the boy’s parents on Sunday, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis promised the state would do everything in its power to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. Early aftermoon, the premier made the following statement:

“As every Greek, I feel deep sorrow for the unfair loss of the young pupil. At such difficult times, my thought is with his friends and family. I know that there is nothing that can soothe their pain. However, I want to assure everyone that the State will spare no effort to render justice. The culprits will receive the punishment they deserve. Each and every Greek can rest assure that the State will do anything in its power for this tragedy not to be repeated in the future. At this point, everyone has a part to play: The government first and foremost, along with all political forces, the youth and the rest of the society. It is unfortunate that extremist elements have taken advantage of the tragic event to serve their own purposes. With everything that they perpetrated, especially yesterday, it becomes obvious that their sole motive was bare violence and that their aim mere destruction. Once again, their acts turned against innocent people and their properties, therefore against society as a whole. In a State governed by law and democracy, the duty of the government, of any government, is to protect society. Those unacceptable and dangerous incidents occurred, under the cover of the commotion stirred by this tragic event must not and will not be tolerated again. The State will protect the citizens, it will protect society. I have asked the Minister of Economy and Finance to explore every possibility in order, for our co-citizens whose property was destroyed or damaged, to be immediately and fully indemnified. There are specific proposals already tabled which will be further elaborated in the coming days by the competent ministries involved. Life is the supreme good. Its loss is irreplaceable. May the stance of each and every one of us pay tribute to the memory of Alexis.” 
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias also sent a telegram expressing the state’s condolences to the parents. “I express by deepest anguish for the loss of your son. His death was a wound to the operation of the state of law. I hope that it is the last and I am certain that those to blame will be held responsible,” Papoulias said in his message.  During a news conference on Sunday, Interior Minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, said, “It is inconceivable for there not to be punishment when a person, let alone a minor, loses their life.” He added: “The loss of life is something that is inconceivable in a democracy.”  Pavlopoulos tendered his resignation soon after the incident, but the premier did not accept it.  Athens News Agency: PM promises ‘no leniency’ over boy’s death

International Conference on “Combating Forced Labour and Human Trafficking” in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Europe must adopt a public policy geared towards the relief of people hit by the global financial crisis, said President Karolos Papoulias on Friday, November 21, opening a three-day international conference on “Combating Forced Labour and Human Trafficking” in Athens organised by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) to mark the 90th anniversary since its founding. The president emphasised that slavery and slave-trade is one of darkest pages in human history, underlining the importance of safeguarding human rights. The event was jointly organised by the International Trade Union Confederation, and the Confederation of European Trade Unions. Also speaking at the conference, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said that according to international figures, a total of 12.3 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, while an increase of 20 million of unemployed has been forecasted. “Neither the free economy nor open societies are to be blamed for the situation,” she said, explaining that the problem stems from the lack of rules, regulatory framework and control mechanisms. The minister suggested stricter penalties for culprits, increased protection for victims and higher public awareness. Addressing the conference on Sunday, main opposition PASOK party leader and President of the Socialist International George Papandreou stressed that combating forced labour and human trafficking is first and foremost a political issue and warned that of the millions of people worldwide held under conditions of forced labour, 5.7 million are children. He also said that figures show that roughly 1.8 million children also fall victim to sexual exploitation. Athens News Agency: Papandreou at conference on combating trafficking