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Tourism: challenges and priorities outlined by PM George Papandreou

Addressing the 19th General Assembly of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) on 4th May, Prime Minister George Papandreou outlined the priorities, the goals and the successes of the government policy in tourism sector and the promotion of Greece abroad. Papandreou focused on the simplification of the licensing process in tourist investments, stressing that tourism should be one of the basic pillars for boosting the Greek economy.
“In the coming months there will be a licensing simplification in investments and facilitation of visa issuing for nationals of emerging economies such as China and Russia. […] There will also be a reduction in the prices of sea transport tickets, as well as in landing and take-off fees at several airports,” said Papandreou noting that the tourism industry has been reporting positive signs as what is being offered is quality service at good prices.
Referring to the enormous potential of Internet and social networking, Papandreou hailed the online promotion of Greece via the official site of Visit Greece, the newly launched my-greece.gr, and through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
Prime Minister.GR: Tourism policy – Results (in Greek); YouTube: You in Greece Campaign [VIDEO]
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou at the World Economic Forum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Speaking as part of a panel – that also included Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet – at the annual World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland (January 27 -31), Prime Minister George Papandreou said that Greece would not leave the euro area and would use the discipline of membership to slash its budget deficit and make long-delayed structural economic reforms. “The answer is very simple. We went [to the market] for borrowing two days ago and we were five times oversubscribed. We’re not looking for money from anywhere else…” said Papandreou. He outlined an ambitious goal to reduce the deficit by four points this year and bring it below 3% by 2012, through measures taken as part of Greece’s Stability and Growth Programme (SGP)
The premier held a meeting with EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia yesterday, and the discussion focused on Greece’s SGP in light of the report that the European Commission will be submitting on February 3, on Greece. 
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso – speaking in Brussels on Thursday – stressed the need for the greater coordination of economic policies in the EU, emphasising that economic policies are not only a national issue, but European as well. Referring to Greece specifically, he expressed the conviction that the Greek government must be supported in its effort to fulfil its commitments in the framework of the SGP. 
See world reports – BBC.co.uk: Davos 2010: Greece denies a bail-out is needed; Reuters.com: Greece says being targeted as euro zone “weak link”

Green Buses in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Athens is set to acquire one of the most modern public transport bus fleets in Europe, according to an announcement made earlier this week by Transport Minister Kostas Hatzidakis.  Unveiling details of a major upgrade in the fleet of buses operated by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA), he said the new buses are set to meet stricter environmental specifications and generate much lower levels of atmospheric emissions. The total fleet of buses will be 614, and their delivery is expected to be completed by the first half of 2009. Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- Greek Environmental Strategic Policies

Greek Portal for Over 50 Citizens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An internet initiative aimed at citizens over 50 now is now available in English and Greek. The www.50plus.gr/english website, established in 2005, provides information of interest to anyone over 50 years of age on issues such as employment, social policies, health and a variety of other subjects. “50+ Hellas” is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting the interests of the elderly and speaking out on their behalf. It is a member of AGE, the European Older People’s Platform, a European network of 144 older people’s organisations representing 25 million members and involved in influencing EU policy affecting older citizens.

Greek Life Insurance Policy Programme from “New York Life Insurance Company”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The New York Life Insurance Company began selling life insurance policies in the Ottoman Empire in 1882. In connection with turmoil caused by the outbreak of World War I, however, New York Life stopped selling policies in Europe and in the Ottoman Empire after 1914. Various reference works and other sources indicate that many persons of Greek ancestry living in the Ottoman Empire at the outbreak of World War I were displaced or perished between 1915 and 1923. The company searched its records to locate all policies issued in the Ottoman Empire before 1915 insuring those of Greek heritage. New York Life paid benefits on many of those policies. However, it received no claims and thus paid no benefits or cash value on some of those policies, referred to as the “Greek Policies.”
In order to encourage claims upon the Greek Policies, New York Life has established the Greek Life Insurance Policy Programme. Descendants of persons insured under the Greek Policies may submit claims for benefits at: www.greekinsuranceclaims.com/en/board.php3
In order to be considered, the claim form and copies of all supporting documents must be mailed or e-mailed to the Claim Board by February 28, 2009.