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Historic decisions for Greece and the Eurozone

Following a marathon negotiating session of European Council on the 26th of October in Brussels, Heads of State and Government of the Eurozone member states agreed on a comprehensive set of measures which reflect their unwavering determinationto overcome together the current difficulties and to take all the necessary steps towards a deeper economic union commensurate with their monetary union.
In particular on Greece, there was an agreement that should secure the decline of the Greek debt to GDP ratio with an objective of reaching 120% by 2020. It also includes a voluntary contribution by private creditors, amounting to a nominal discount of 50% on notional Greek debt. Additionally, a new EU-IMF multiannual programme financing up to € 100 billion will be put in place by the end of the year, accompanied by a strengthening of the mechanisms for the monitoring of reforms implementation.
“The debt is absolutely sustainable now,” Papandreou told a press conference, earlier today, after the meeting of euro zone leaders.
“Greece can now settle its accounts with the past, once and for all. […] We can claim that a new day has come for Greece, and not only for Greece but also for Europe,” the premier added.
Primeminister.gr: Papandreou press conference after the euro summit (in Greek); European Council President: Remarks by Herman Van Rompuy following the meeting of the Euro Summit & Statement by President Barroso
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM`s George Papandreou visit to Poland

Prime Minister George Papandreou visited Poland on April 7 for talks with his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk and the country’s President Bronislaw Komorowski, in view of the Polish presidency of the EU, during the second term of 2011.
The two Premiers discussed the priorities of the Polish Presidency, especially in what concerns the Common Agricultural Policy, migration, as well as developments in the Middle East. Papandreou also made a special reference to his great-grand father’s Polish origins and the flourishing Polish community in Greece. 
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Farewell to a great philhellene

Jacqueline de Romilly, a distinguished French academic and great philhellene, died on December 18 at the age of 97. De Romilly was a classical scholar who specialised in the civilisation and language of ancient Greece, and had been the second woman to be elected member of the prestigious French Academy.
In 1995, the Greek state bestowed honorary Greek Citizenship upon De Romilly. In 2000, she was named ambassador of Hellenism, and became a foreign guest member of the Athens Academy. As a scholar, she was known for her works on ancient Greek literature, and thought, especially on the historian Thucydides and Pericles’ Classical Athens.
“The life and work of Jacqueline de Romilly are bathed in the light that comes from the sources of the highest civilisation – the Greek civilisation, the flame of which lived with her till her last breath” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, while Prime Minister George Papandreou praised de Romilly for honouring Greek thought and for devoting herself to the promotion of Greek literature and arts.
You Tube: Jacqueline de Romilly – La Vigie Grecque
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Poems on the Underground – Greek contemporary poetry

The Press Office of the Greek Embassy in Warsaw promotes the contemporary poetry of Greece and participates to   “Poems on the Underground” events (6-30 September 2010).
“Poems on the Underground” (Wiersze w Metrze) has been inspired by other similar projects  in many cities: Dublin, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Stockholm, Stuttgard and Moscow, organised for the first time in London in 1986.
Wiersze w Metrze promotes contemporary European poetry in public city spaces, through happenings, haiku competition, poetry city game and a performing poetry festival.
Many cultural institutes and embassies participate to the project, which takes place under the auspices of the the mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
Greek contemporary poetry will be represented by two acclaimed poets, Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas.
Kiki Dimoula has recently been awarded the European Literature Prize for 2010. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Danish, Spanish and many other languages.
Dimoula’s poetry is haunted by the existential dissolution of the post-world era. Her central themes are hopelessness, insecurity, absence and oblivion. Using diverse subjects and twisting grammar in unconventional ways, she accentuates the power of the words through astonishment and surprise, but always manages to retain a sense of hope.
Nasos Vagenas, professor of Theory and Critique of Literature in the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Athens, in 2005 was awarded with the State Poetry Prize for his poetic collection ‘Stefanos’.
His poetic work includes the books: ‘Field of Mars’, ‘Biography’, ‘Roxani’s Knees’, ‘Wandering of a non-traveller’, ‘The Fall of the Flying’, ‘Barbarous Odes’ , ‘The Fall of the Flying B’, ‘Dark Ballads and Other Poems’, ‘Stefanos’.
His poetry has been translated into English, German, Italian, Dutch, Romanian, Serbian.
Two poems of Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas have been translated in polish language for “Wiersze w Metrze” by the professors and students of the Department of Greek Studies of the University of Warsaw (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales”).

Russia honours Polish director Andrzej Wajda

Polish film director Andrzej Wajda has been awarded an Order of Friendship by Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, the Kremlin informed Tuesday.
The Order of Friendship is one of the highest Russian distinctions.
Kremlin spokesmen said Wajda was granted the Order for his contributions to Russian-Polish cultural ties.
Wajda, 84, one of the founders of the so-called “Polish film school” in the 1950s and 60s, won world fame with his epic works Man of Marble and Man of Iron, in which he criticized Stalinism. Wajda has received numerous international awards for his films, including a lifework Oscar in 2000.
Earlier this year Wajda’s film Katyn about 1940 mass executions of Poles in Katyn Forest, west Russia, evoked broad reactions in Russia. Wajda said at the time that he had been personally involved in the film as his father had been among  the Katyn victims.
(PAP, 11/8/2010)

Συνέντευξη του πολωνού ποιητή Άνταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι στην “Ελευθεροτυπία”

Ανταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι «Οι πολιτικοί ας αφήσουν την Ιστορία στους ποιητές»
Ο Ανταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι είναι ο κορυφαίος Πολωνός ποιητής των ημερών μας και ένας από τους -πολλούς και ενδιαφέροντες- προσκεκλημένους στο Πρώτο Διεθνές Λογοτεχνικό Φεστιβάλ Τήνου ( 29, 30 και 31 Ιουλίου ). Στη συνέντευξή του στην «Ε», ο Ανταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι μιλά για την ποίηση, τη μνήμη, την Ιστορία, την πολιτική και τη διαδικασία της σύνθεσης απόψεων που πάντοτε οδηγεί σε καλύτερα αποτελέσματα από τον τυφλό φανατισμό.
Προ τριμήνου ένα μεγάλο μέρος της πολωνικής ηγεσίας χάθηκε σε αεροπορικό δυστύχημα ενώ προ εικοσαημέρου εξελέγη νέος Πολωνός προέδρος, ο Κομορόφσκι. Πώς είναι τώρα τα πράγματα στην Πολωνία; Είχε προηγηθεί η διακυβέρνηση της χώρας από τους αδελφούς Κατζίνσκι, οι οποίοι ήταν φιλοαμερικανοί και εχθρικοί τόσο προς τη Ρωσία όσο και προς τη Γερμανία και την Ευρώπη. Continue reading

New OSCE PA President: Petros Efthymiou

Ruling PASOK party deputy Petros Efthymiou was elected as the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), during the forum’s 19th annual session.
Efthymiou, who was a Vice-President in the Assembly, was elected with 130 votes, against 64 of Senator Consiglio Di Nino (Canada).
Participants at the 19th session discussed a wide range of issues, amongst which the situation in Kyrgyzstan, the Parliamentary Assembly’s involvement in the Corfu process, the peace process in the Middle East, nuclear security, cyber-crime.
(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.

PM George Papandreou at Europarliament

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) “If we appeal to the IMF, they will ask us for nothing more (no extra measures). But I would prefer a European solution. I would prefer a European solution as part of the eurozone, as a European, as an ardent European myself, and being able to show the world that Europe can act together,” Prime Minister George A. Papandreou said yesterday addressing the Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis of the European Parliament.
He further noted that, in the debate that goes around the world whether Europe will fail or whether Europe is on the map, more Europe rather than less is needed.

Regarding the financial situation in Greece, the premier stressed that “we are not asking for help, as some reckless country just wanting to live off the wealth of others.[…] What we are saying is we need the strong political support in order to make these necessary reforms, making sure that we are not going to pay more than necessary in order to get these reforms enacted.”
See also: President of the European Parliament, Buzek on the meeting with Prime Minister of Greece ; Common statement by Elmar Brok MEP, Marietta Giannakou MEP and Ioannis Kasoulides MEP; Othmar Karas MEP, “Greece is not begging for money
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE Group), Papandreou outlines austerity to EP special committee ; Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE President) Angela Merkel’s lack of solidarity with Greece is shocking, states Guy Verhofstadt

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

PM George Papandreou at the White House

» Meeting with Obama

Prime Minister George Papandreou met with US President Barack Obama in Washington yesterday.
After the meeting Papandreou said that the US is willing to work with the European Union to regulate the international financial system so speculators cannot target countries with troubled economies.
The premier said  that the issue of speculation will be discussed at the G20 summit in Canada, in June. The two leaders also discussed foreign policy issues such as the Cyprus issue, the integration of Western Balkans into Euro-Atlantic institutions, as well as Greece’s relations with Turkey.

» Visa Waiver

Furthermore, the US side announced that Greece will be included in the ‘visa waiver’ programme, thus enabling Greek citizens to travel to the US without a visa.
Papandreou termed the visa waiver “a vote of confidence” to Greece and noted that the Greek government is determined to respond to its obligations and cooperate closely at international level on the tackling of terrorism.

Kathimerini daily: US joins fight against speculators
The White House: Honouring Greek Independence Day (21.35mins)

» Papandreou’s Op-ed

In an op-ed published in the International Herald Tribune (IHT), Papandreou notes that the Greek case is not an outlier, but one more flare-up in a broken system of financial regulation and predatory behaviour.
“If global economic growth is to be sustainable, we need better coordination and greater solidarity between nations… We must now establish and enforce clear rules to contain the inordinate power of markets over our national economies and our common currency – not for Greece’s sake, but for Europe’s,” he stresses.
Prime Minister’s website: Meeting with President Barack Obama: Prime Minister’s statement ; Brookings Institution: Prime Minister’s speech & YouTube: PM’s speech at Brookings Institution  
New York Times & International Herald Tribune: Prime Minister’s article “Greece is not an island“; Hellenic Finance Ministry: Newsletter Updating Greek Fiscal Measures  
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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.

PM Papandreou meeting with French President Sarkozy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou flew to France yesterday, for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy – on an array of issues, focused mostly on economic matters – ahead of today’s European Council meeting.
After his meeting with the French president, Papandreou stated that the Greek government is committed to taking all necessary measures to fix Greece’s public finances.
 “We are ready to take any measures in order to cut public deficit to 8.7% of GDP in 2010 from 12.7% in 2009 and to meet the commitments the government has undertaken in its Stability and Growth Programme.”
Besides the pressing deficit and credit crisis burdening Greece, Papandreou said issues dealing with the Balkans, the Cyprus problem, climate change and even Europe’s position on the international stage were discussed.
Kathimerini daily: Premier talks tough but EU may offer help; Youtube.com: Greek prime minister in France for debt talks

Papandreou in “Le Monde”

French daily “Le Monde” portrays George Papandreou in an article (‘L’ homme qui fait trembler l’euro’, February 5) describing Greece’s current affairs and Papandreou’s personal and political career over the years:
“Le monde le regarde. Le destin de l’euro tient à lui. Elu depuis tout juste quatre mois, le premier ministre grec est le point de mire des dirigeants et des marchés de la planète, pressé de questions affolées sur la situation dont il a hérité : un pays au bord de la faillite, discrédité sur les marchés, exposé à la spéculation, étranglé par une dette et un déficit public colossaux, un Etat dysfonctionnel, un système de fraude généralisé.
Le raffinement est son arme. Costume bleu marine, chemise blanche, cravate délicatement violette, Georges Papandréou a la silhouette longue et distinguée, la moustache taillée au millimètre, la politesse souriante, l’anglais parfait du brillant élève passé par Harvard et la London School of Economics, la graisse évanouie dans des heures quotidiennes de fitness et de cyclisme à haute dose. Si peu balkanique, si différent.
Devenir premier ministre n’était pas sa vocation, lui qui, à la fin des années 1960, étudiait la sociologie aux Etats-Unis et manifestait, cheveux longs et guitare rock en bandoulière, contre la guerre du Vietnam. “Si la Grèce avait été à l’époque un pays normal, dit-il dans son bureau à Athènes, je ne serais pas entré en politique.”
Son nom a fini par le rattraper. Celui de son grand-père, Georges Papandréou, trois fois premier ministre, centriste, figure mythique de la politique des années 1960. Celui de son père, Andréas Papandréou, ministre et économiste renommé, fondateur du Pasok (parti socialiste grec), et premier ministre dans les années 1980. Quant à lui, ce rêveur affable et modeste que l’on appellera longtemps Yorgakis (petit Georges), personne n’imaginait qu’il dirigerait le pays à son tour, dernier-né de l’une des trois dynasties familiales qui, avec les Caramanlis et les Mitsotakis, se partagent le pouvoir en Grèce depuis l’après-guerre.
Il a 14 ans ce 21 avril 1967. Le coup d’Etat des colonels, prélude à la dictature qui durera sept ans, vient d’avoir lieu. Les militaires viennent chercher son père, Andréas, caché sur le toit de la maison. L’un d’eux lui colle sa mitraillette sur la tempe. “Où est-il ?” L’enfant ne répond pas. La mitraillette frémit. Andréas se rend. Pour lui, c’est la prison. Puis, pour toute la famille, l’exil.
Georges Papandréou vient d’ailleurs. Avant la guerre, son père Andréas, déjà forcé à quitter la Grèce pour des raisons liées à ses activités trotskistes, était devenu citoyen américain, avait enseigné l’économie à l’université de Berkeley, puis en Suède et au Canada. Georges a une mère américaine, est né au Minnesota, a grandi en Californie et étudié dans l’Illinois, à Londres, à Stockholm. Il parle à quasi-égalité l’anglais, le grec et le suédois.
A son retour en Grèce, en 1974, la dictature abolie, il découvre un pays où tout est à réinventer. Et une élite forcée comme lui à l’exil, revenue “avec des idées nouvelles, la capacité de comparer, de tirer réflexion des contrastes.”
Etre différent, c’est son atout. “L’étranger” est un drôle de zèbre, mélange de “libéral” à l’américaine et de social-démocrate suédois, défenseur des libertés individuelles, de l’Etat-providence, de l’environnement, du progrès technique. Théodoros Pangalos, vice-premier ministre, s’amuse à rappeler ces années 1990 où Georges était ministre dans le gouvernement de son père, Andréas Papandréou : “En réunion, Georges prenait des notes sur un ordinateur portable. Nous, nous avions nos feuilles et nos crayons. On se donnait des coups de coude : “Regarde, le petit Georges joue, il n’a toujours pas grandi !”. En fait, comme toujours, il avait plusieurs longueurs d’avance…”
Au sein de la dynastie Papandréou aussi, il fait la différence. Après Georges “l’ancien”, le centriste anticommuniste, après Andréas le tempétueux tribun socialiste aux accents nationalistes, Yorgakis, président de l’Internationale socialiste depuis 2006, conquiert les Grecs par un agenda progressiste inhabituel. Il est hostile au blairisme, croit en la primauté de la politique sur le marché, préconise une société ouverte et multiculturelle, une économie tournée vers la valeur ajoutée et la croissance verte. “Je suis fier de porter mon nom mais je gouvernerai à ma façon. Comme Sinatra, je pourrai dire : “I did it my way”.”
Son style politique, il l’a déjà esquissé. Ministre de l’éducation, en 1988, il s’affronte au conservatisme ambiant et à la puissance de l’Eglise orthodoxe en défendant les droits des homosexuels. Ministre des affaires étrangères très estimé, en 1999, il milite en faveur de l’Europe et tempère l’anti-américanisme, sport national en Grèce. Il établit des conditions de dialogue avec la soeur ennemie, la Turquie, soutient la candidature de celle-ci à l’Union européenne (UE), contribue à l’intégration de Chypre dans l’UE.
“Yorgakis sait écouter, il ne fait pas l’intelligent, il prend calmement des décisions audacieuses. Il nous change de ce théâtre balkanique dont nous sommes tous fatigués”, témoigne l’un de ses anciens collègues au gouvernement, Nikos Dimadis. “La Grèce a plus que jamais besoin d’un dirigeant différent, citoyen du monde, qui a sur son pays une pensée globale”, analyse l’éditorialiste de centre droit, Georges Kirtsos.
Depuis quatre mois, Georges Papandréou est parti en guerre contre un Etat pléthorique, contre la corruption et l’économie parallèle. La droite l’accuse déjà d’immobilisme. Des mouvements sociaux se préparent contre les mesures d’austérité annoncées.
Certains le craignent plus visionnaire que pragmatique, plus théoricien que politique. Mais la Grèce n’a plus le choix, la zone euro non plus. Le petit Georges est peut-être la dernière chance. Lui-même en a fait un slogan : “Nous devons changer, ou sombrer.””
(
LeMonde.fr)

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)

The “Economist” Conference

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A much timely “Economist” Conference was addressed yesterday by the country’s leadership and experts from the financial and business world.

Taking the floor, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou availed himself of the opportunity to note that Greece’s fiscal problems are also an issue for the entire eurozone and marked that a spill-over effect will not leave other eurozone countries unaffected, especially those which are as vulnerable as Greece.
The remarks were reported one day before the European Commission announces its recommendations on the country’s stability programme , which is most likely to receive European approval.   

» “Deficit Fetishism is a Mistake”
Addressing the Conference (Discussion and Debate with Joseph Stiglitz on the World Economy 2010), Nobel Economics Laureate 2001, former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, and Professor at Columbia University Joseph Stiglitz, dismissed fears that Greece will go bankrupt, adding that, when struggling with recession, governments ought to be careful with their rectifying measures.
“Cutting deficits in the wrong way can be counterproductive.”
Kathimerini daily: Greek woes are a eurozone issue

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”

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.

Prime Minister`s Belgrade Visit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou paid a short visit to Belgrade on January 4 to address the Annual Conference of the Ambassadors of Serbia. During his visit, the premier met with Serbia’s President and Prime Minister, Boris Tadic and Mirko Cvetkovic.

Speaking after his meeting with the Serb President, Papandreou said that bilateral relations are excellent and noted that his presence in Belgrade signals the beginning of an effort to enable the western Balkans to join the European Union in 2014.
“Greece is in the front line of the initiative that constitutes a basic aim for peace, cooperation, and stability in the region,” Papandreou said. 
Addressing the 3rd Congress of Serbia’s ambassadors, Papandreou said that 2014 is a crucial year for the EU accession of the Western Balkan states, stressing that this region has to make big steps forward and leave behind the wars and conflicts of the past.
The premier also referred to “global governance that is in the making,” stressing, among other things, that “national states are gradually becoming incapable of handling global problems by themselves, such as climatic change, immigration and organised crime,” and called for global cooperation and regional alliances. 
See also: Athens News Agency: PM reiterates support for Serbia’s EU course

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.