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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)

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PM George Papandreou in 100 Top Global Thinkers

Prime Minister George Papandreou has been included in this year’s edition of the Foreign Policy magazine Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2010.
Papandreou ranks 79th and, according to the special report on the December issue of the magazine, was selected “for making the best of Greece’s worst year.”
Billionaire philanthropists Warren Buffett and Bill Gates top the list this year followed by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and World Bank President Robert Zoellick while US President Barack Obama is in third place.
Nicholas Christakis, a Harvard University social scientist, of Greek origin, is also included in the list, in 83rd place.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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)

PM George Papandreou & the Media

Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed yesterday the NewsXchange 2010 Conference currently being held in Athens.
In his speech, the premier commended the role of media in highlighting several of the underlying causes of the financial crisis but also pointed to some of the negative stereotypes that resurfaced in of the international media’s reporting on Greece, during this last year.
“Your job is to report the facts as objectively as possible. My job is to be honest with you, with the Greek people, and of course with the international community, which is supporting us in this effort to deal with the crisis, present the facts as they are,” stressed the premier.
Youtube.com: PM’s Speech at NewsXchange 2010 Conference  
(Greek News Agenda)

PM George Papandreou in “Foreign Policy” Magazine

Prime Minister George Papandreou in an in-depth interview in the American magazine Foreign Policy (July 19) explained the reasons behind the crisis and the measures taken by his government in order to tackle it.
He stressed that with the support of the European Union, Greece decided against defaulting, which would cause insurmountable problems especially for the banking institutions in Greece and Europe alike.
He recognized that there was a lack of transparency; there was a lot of money that was lost, wasted, through a huge bureaucracy and patronage. Nevertheless, he highlighted that “we’re committed to changing the situation.
My government, for example, has now brought in laws such as total transparency in all signatures in the public sector, putting more and more tax reform resources and contracts online.”
The premier empathised with Greeks’ sentiments of unhappiness and pain, but “the wide majority of the people realize that we needed to make changes that were long overdue in our country, such as making governance much more responsible, and running the country much more transparent.”
Finally, he debunked recent media stereotypes of Greeks being lazy and concluded saying that: “we’ve seen in this crisis is that we need more Europe, not less…[ ]
…We need to find global governance and we need to find it based on some common values on which we can agree – democratic values.”
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou`s interview in “Guardian”

“Greece is on a normalised road,” Prime Minister George Papandreou said in an interview in the UK newspaper The Guardian, noting that in the nine months since his government took office “it has been crisis management, day in, day out,” and stressing that, in politics “you have to make tough decisions.”
In the interview, titled “Reinvigorating Greece is an Olympian task,” concerning the reactions to the austerity measures, the premier admits that “naturally I feel very bad that we had to take these measures and that our financial sovereignty is under the tutelage of the so-called troika (the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank).”
“It’s not a happy state to be in, and the most painful thing is to take measures against people who were not responsible for the crisis,” Papandreou said. He goes on to explain that the option for the country was to default, or take these measures.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou`s profile in the New York Times

Suzanne Daley, a journalist for the New York Times, wrote an extensive profile of George Papandreou entitled Greek Leader Finds Balm for Deficit: Straight Talk
Published on June 15th, the piece describes how honesty about the state of the economy and transparency into government activities have become the most important tools in confronting the sovereign debt crisis- and the hallmarks of the Papandreou administration.