Greek Companies prospering in Poland (Warsaw Business Journal)

Greece has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2011, with the country being hit by political turmoil as it struggles under the effects of the economic crisis. However, for many Greek companies based inPoland, this year has been business as usual.
There are currently about 40 companies with Greek capital active in the Polish market, according to figures from the Embassy of Greece in Warsaw.
Greek-owned companies have invested more than €1.4 billion and created a total of 11,000 jobs in Poland, the country’s ambassador to Poland, Gabriel Coptsidis, said in a statement earlier this year.
Mellon Group, a company headquartered in Athens specializing in IT services and sales for financial institutions, telecommunications firms and companies in the retail sector, established itself in the Polish market almost six years ago. A growing Polish client base, which includes lenders such as PKO Bank Polski, Polbank EFG, and mBank, helped Mellon Poland make it in to the top 100 companies of Europe’s 500 fastest growing companies in 2010. Europe’s 500, which makes the ranking, is an association of fast growing owner-managed companies in Europe.
“This year is better than the previous one, and we have not been affected,” said Grigorios Kotoulas, General Manager, Mellon Poland. “However, we see in the market that there is a slowdown, but not a recession. We are making plans accordingly but none that … will affect our forecast for2012”, he added.
For Lefteris Maroulis, general director of sports betting firm Totolotek (owned by Greek company Intralot), business has been going well inPoland. Totolotek is a company which has been organizing sports betting in Poland since 1992 and operates close to 400 locations in the country.
(Warsaw Business Journal, 20/12/2011)

Για την προετοιμασία του άρθρου η δημοσιογράφος Veronika Joy συνεργάστηκε με το Γραφείο Τύπου και το Γραφείο Οικονομικών και Εμπορικών Υποθέσεων. Continue reading

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“Kali Patrida” Greek Communities of Political Refugees in Eastern Europe

By the end of the Greek Civil War (1946-49), Greece was in a tragic state. The human loss and physical destruction incurred in this conflict was added to the suffering and damage already accumulated during World War II and the occupation. One of the most dramatic consequences of the Civil War was the odyssey of thousands of Greek men, women and children who settled in Eastern Europe and the USSR – mainly in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarianism and Democracy is hosting until December 31, 2011, an exhibition titled Kali Patrida… Greek Communities of political refugees in Eastern Europe.
The exhibition draws on material (printed and audiovisual) from many sources, both from Greece and abroad in order to shed light on particular themes in the lives of political refugees: their establishment in the host countries (East Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Uzbekistan); their children’s education, their communities, their efforts to preserve their distinctive cultural heritage as well as their repatriation.
“Kali patrida” meaning “Happy Homecoming,” is actually a wish political refugees shared, expressing their nostalgia for their homeland.
ERT Archive: Documentary: Second Homeland – Episode: Stepmother Homeland & Michalis Gkanas: The history of my times [VIDEO]; TVXS: Writer Alki Zei talks about the Civil War [VIDEO]
ODYSSEY Magazine about Greece and the Greek Diaspora: Features-Our Town Beloiannisz in Hungary
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

 

PM George Papandreou`s intervention at the plenary session of the Eastern Partnership Summit (Warsaw, 30/9/2011)

By virtue of its location, Greece is uniquely positioned as a bridge linking the Eastern and the Mediterranean dimensions of Europe’s Neighborhood Policy and has promoted the development of both since the ENP’s inception. Therefore, we are very supportive of the strengthening of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) envisaged in the new Neighborhood Policy, based on our shared principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.
The re-launching and re-energizing of the Eastern Partnership, and of the European Neighborhood Policy as a whole, was long overdue. It was necessary in order to better respond to serious common challenges – political, economic, geostrategic, environmental or pertaining to security and energy – but also in order to better prepare for the future.
Structural reforms, internal political tensions, gas routes, energy supply, ecological risks, economic development, illegal immigration and organized crime, are only some of the challenges we are faced with in the framework of the Eastern Neighborhood Policy. Our engagement in the Eastern Neighbourhood is also a matter of consistency and credibility for the EU. Our strategic goal is and will remain the creation of a wider area of stability and prosperity, both in the South as well as in the East. This could only be done by boosting mutually beneficial institutional cooperation and by converging on a set of common values and standards, modeled on the EU positive paradigm and experience. Continue reading

Local Elections Run-off

Following the second round of local elections yesterday, the ruling PASOK party won the majority of regional governorships (8 to 5).
In municipal elections and -despite a high abstention rate- there was a change of leadership in the three major cities.
In Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, the former Ombudsman, won the mayorship, with the support of Pasok, after defeating the incumbent New Democracy (ND) mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, the independent Yiannis Boutaris, supported by Pasok, defeated ND-backed candidate Costas Gioulekas, while in Pireus, Vassilis Michaloliakos, supported by ND defeated Pasok candidate Yiannis Michas.
Commenting on the results, Prime Minister George Papandreou said that the citizens “rejected the sirens of destabilisation and gave the government a clear three years of work to enable it to continue the effort for the country’s salvation and recovery.”
The premier also called on all political parties to “assume responsibility” and work together with the aim of saving the country. Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras said that “the second round confirmed the political conclusions of the first Sunday” and gave the opportunity to his party to emerge “renewed, strong and responsible.”
For more information: Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and E-Government: Regional & Municipal Elections 2010 Results (in Greek); Kathimerini Daily: Pasok gets regional upper hand; YouTube: PM’s nationwide televised press statement (in Greek)
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Η εικόνα της Ελλάδας στο εξωτερικό-Τέσσερις ξένοι ανταποκριτές μιλούν για βελτίωση και δημοσιεύματα αλληλεγγύης

Τέσσερις Ευρωπαίοι δημοσιογράφοι, που εργάζονται στην Ελλάδα, συγκλίνουν στην άποψη ότι η εικόνα της Ελλάδας έχει αλλάξει προς το καλύτερο, είτε διότι οι αναφορές που γίνονται περιλαμβάνουν θετικά σχόλια και εκπέμπουν κάποια αισιοδοξία είτε διότι τα ρεπορτάζ έχουν απλώς λιγοστέψει.
«Το κλίμα άρχισε να αλλάζει αμέσως μετά τις εκλογές στη Ρηνανία-Βεστφαλία» μας λέει η Κορίνα Γιέσεν, ανταποκρίτρια της βερολινέζικης «Berliner Zeitung». «Η γερμανική κυβέρνηση συμφώνησε στο πακέτο στήριξης, προβλήματα ανέκυψαν και για άλλες χώρες και στο στόχαστρο βρέθηκαν πλέον οι τράπεζες. Η ατμόσφαιρα για την Ελλάδα άλλαξε και άρχισαν να βγαίνουν στον Τύπο δημοσιεύματα αλληλεγγύης προς την Ελλάδα. Αναφορές του είδους, “τώρα είναι η καλύτερη εποχή για διακοπές στην Ελλάδα”, “κανένας κίνδυνος για τους Γερμανούς”, “οι Ελληνες ακόμη αγαπούν τους Γερμανούς” έκαναν όλο και συχνότερα την εμφάνισή τους. Στο βάθος όμως, εκτός από αλληλεγγύη, κρύβονταν και οι ευκαιρίες από τις φθηνότερες τιμές στα τουριστικά καταλύματα» επισημαίνει η κ. Γιέσεν.
«Κανείς στο εξωτερικό δεν αμφισβητεί την προσπάθεια της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης να ανατρέψει τα δεδομένα» τονίζει η Χελένα Σμιθ, ανταποκρίτρια του βρετανικού «Guardian». «Ο δρόμος είναι μακρύς και δύσκολος, όπως επισημαίνω και σε σημερινό εκτενές άρθρο με την ευκαιρία της επίσκεψης των ξένων διαπραγματευτών, αλλά υπάρχουν σαφείς ενδείξεις αισιοδοξίας. Επικαλούμαι μάλιστα και σχετικό άρθρο της γερμανικής οικονομικής εφημερίδας “Handelsblatt” που τόνισε ότι για τον τρόπο με τον οποίο μειώνονται τα ελλείμματα οι Ευρωπαίοι μπορούν να διδαχθούν περισσότερο από την Ελλάδα παρά από τη Γερμανία». «Σε σχέση με την προηγούμενη κυβέρνηση, η εικόνα της σημερινής είναι η μέρα με τη νύχτα» τονίζει η κ. Σμιθ, η οποία στο χθεσινό άρθρο της επισημαίνει ότι οι κινήσεις αναδιάρθρωσης δεν θα είναι εύκολες σε καθεστώς οικονομικής ύφεσης, με πολλούς Ελληνες να ασκούν δριμεία κριτική στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ενωση και το Διεθνές Νομισματικό Ταμείο, «αν και κατ’ ιδίαν παραδέχονται πως μόνον η εξωτερική παρέμβαση μπορούσε να αναγκάσει το αναξιόπιστο πολιτικό σύστημα» να πάρει μέτρα.
«Η αντιστροφή στην εικόνα της Ελλάδας είναι εμφανής» λέει ο Αντόνιο Φεράρι, αναλυτής της ιταλικής «Corriere della sera» που ασχολείται επί δεκαετίες με θέματα Ελλάδας, Μέσης Ανατολής και Βαλκανίων: «Υπάρχει η αίσθηση ότι τα χειρότερα πέρασαν, αν και είναι δύσκολο να προβλεφθούν οι αντιδράσεις του κόσμου στην Ελλάδα αλλά και άλλες χώρες το φθινόπωρο, τότε που οι πολίτες θα νιώσουν στο πετσί τους τις συνέπειες των μέτρων». Ο κ. Φεράρι μάς θυμίζει ότι εξαρχής η Ιταλία δήλωσε την αλληλεγγύη της στην Ελλάδα, αλλά και ότι τα ιταλικά μέσα ενημέρωσης ελάχιστα ασχολήθηκαν με ηθικοπλαστικές πλευρές της κρίσης, όπως έκαναν οι Γερμανοί. «Συμβάλλουν οι συγγένειες στη νοοτροπία αλλά και προβλήματα όπως η φοροδιαφυγή που υπάρχουν και στην Ιταλία. Ειλικρινώς φοβόμουν χειρότερες αντιδράσεις, που προς το παρόν δεν είδαμε. Ισως βοηθούν και οι καλοκαιρινές διακοπές. Ισως κάποιοι κατάλαβαν ότι δεν μπορείς από τη μια να καταγγέλλεις ένα κράτος και από την άλλη να πιέζεις για να εξασφαλίζεις προμήθειες εξοπλισμών»…
Ανταποκρίτρια του πρώτου κρατικού τηλεοπτικού σταθμού της Γερμανίας ARD, η Σουζάνε Μπάουζινγκερ μας μιλά για «στάση αναμονής» των γερμανικών μέσων. «Οι εποχές που στέλναμε καθημερινώς αναλυτικά ρεπορτάζ για το πώς λειτουργούν τα ελληνικά σχολεία, τα νοσοκομεία, οι δημόσιες υπηρεσίες και το συνταξιοδοτικό σύστημα πέρασαν. Το ενδιαφέρον αμβλύνθηκε και αυτό δημιουργεί τη διαφοροποιημένη εικόνα για την Ελλάδα, ειδικά στην τηλεόραση που λειτουργεί βραχυπρόθεσμα και χωρίς να επανέρχεται εύκολα στα θέματα. Ισως εάν έχουμε και πάλι μεγάλες διαδηλώσεις, επεισόδια και ταραχές να δημιουργηθεί και πάλι ενδιαφέρον. Εως τότε οι αναφορές περιορίζονται στα πιο ειδικά μέσα ενημέρωσης».
(Ελευθεροτυπία, 27/7/2010)

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)

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.