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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PM George Papandreou in Moscow

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou arrived in Moscow yesterday for a two-day working visit during which he will be holding meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to discuss economic, commercial, military and political issues.
Speaking to the Itar-Tass news agency, ahead of the visit, George Papandreou said that the level of Greek-Russian relations is excellent while he described relations between the European Union and Russia as having strategic importance.
In another interview with the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti, the premier stressed that Greece is expecting political support and not economic aid from the European Union.
 “Greece did not appeal for economic aid to the international community or to the European Union. Greece intends and is capable of solving its problems alone,” the prime minister said.
Referring to the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, Papandreou said that its construction can begin in six months.

Black Sea Business Forum / Thessaloniki, 12 & 13 November 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline is a significant project with geopolitical, economic and energy importance, Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis noted, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Black Sea Business Forum in Thessaloniki, on November 12. 
The 3rd Union of Black Sea and Caspian Confederation of Enterprises (UBCCE) business forum, entitled “Seizing New Investment and Trade Opportunities in the Black Sea and Caspian in the Post Crisis Era,” is being held in Thessaloniki on November 12-13.

It is hosted by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece.
Addressing the event, Kouvelis stressed Greece’s commitment to the enhancement of co-operation with the European Union, through the establishment of “Black Sea Partnerships” within the “Black Sea Synergy” process, as well as through the new “Eastern Partnership” EU initiative.
Greece, he said, will have the chance to advance this perspective during the Greek Chairmanship of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which commences on June 1, 2010.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization

Greece – Italy Pipeline

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis held a meeting with his Italian counterpart Claudio Scajola yesterday (July 20) in Milan on the sidelines of the Economic and Financial Forum for the MediterraneanThe two ministers had talks on the Greek-Italian Interconnector “IGI POSEIDON,” – an underwater natural gas transmission pipeline connecting the shores of Epirus with the Apulia shore in Italy- with the view to examine whether the pipeline can also transport natural gas from Italy to Greece, along with its current direction from Greece to Italy. The Interconnector Greece – Italy is a component of the extensive Turkey – Greece – Italy pipeline system through which natural gas from the Caspian Region and Central Asia is transmitted to Italy and the rest of Western Europe. Greece’s participation in the ITGI Project establishes the country as a significant energy hub for the transit of natural gas to Europe.  Greek News Agenda: Greece-An Energy Hub; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Italy

Greece: Energy Matters

» Greece-Bulgaria-Romania agree on gas pipeline project

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  An agreement has been signed by the Greek gas company DEPA and Italian Edison with Bulgarian Energy Holding for the construction of a pipeline that would allow Bulgaria to import 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Caspian Sea region, through the ITGI (Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy) pipeline. The 160-km long pipeline, called Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), will extend from Komotini, northern Greece to Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. Its construction is estimated to cost €120 million with €45 million provided by the EU.  Greece and Romania agreed yesterday during a meeting in Bucharest, between Romanian Economy Minister Adriean Videanu and Greek Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, to promote and coordinate gas connections between Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.  “We want to treat the Greek-Bulgarian, Bulgarian-Romanian and Romanian-Hungarian pipelines as a single whole, as a single pipeline. Especially since all three separate pipelines are financed by the European Union,” Hatzidakis said adding that this project would enhance cooperation between the four countries and strengthen their geostrategic position.  Meanwhile, DESFA, Greece’s Natural Gas National System Manager, and Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) signed yesterday a memorandum of understanding aimed at allowing the transportation of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria from the Revithousa LNG terminal. Kathimerini daily: Greece – Bulgaria pipeline to raise security, lower gas prices

Greek FM Tours Caucasus

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister and Chairperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Dora Bakoyannis began a tour of the Caucasus yesterday, specifically in Azerbaijan and Armenia. In statements after a number of meetings in Azerbaijan, the first stop of her tour, Bakoyannis said that her visit was aimed at “strengthening bilateral relations and contributing to a settlement of the long-lasting problem Nagorno-Karabakh problem, by intensifying efforts made for many years by OSCE.”  Bakoyannis said that they focused on energy cooperation and pipelines. “Our goal is to bring Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe via the Turkey- Greece– Italy (TGI) pipeline,” the foreign minister stressed. Referring to the currently “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that has a direct impact on stability in southern Caucasus, Bakoyannis stressed that the Greek OSCE chairmanship is intensifying efforts that are underway for years for the solution of the thorny issue.Today the minister is in Armenia. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis following her meeting with her Azeri counterpart Mammadyarov (Baku, 2.7.09) & Statements following her meeting with her Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian (Yerevan, 3.7.2009); Bilateral Relations Greece-Azerbaijan& Greece-Armenia; Greek News Agenda: FM on Nagorno-Karabakh

South Stream Pipeline Underway

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The agreement for the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline will be signed today (May 15) between Gazprom and all other participants in the project, in the Russian resort city of Sochi on the shores of the Black Sea, Greek Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis announced.    Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA), a subsidiary of the Greek Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), will be signing on behalf of Greece. The minister, who will also attend the signing ceremony, noted the particular importance placed on the South Stream agreement and Greece’s broader cooperation with Russia.   Greek News Agenda: Greece-Russia forge ties; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Energy Affairs