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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.

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

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)

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.

Greek foreign policy in 2010

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas outlined Greece’s foreign policy priorities for 2010 during a press conference held yesterday.

Together with Deputy Minister Spyros Kouvelis, Droutsas highlighted that protecting Greece’s sovereignty and putting an end to past inertia will constitute the ultimate objective for the country’s foreign policy.
Referring to issues of particular national interest, Droutsas stressed that Greece has conveyed a message of friendship and peace to Turkey and expects the latter to respond to it.
The alternate minister mentioned the possibility of a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister sometime in the near future.
On the Cyprus issue, underlined the government’s commitment to actively helping Cyprus with actions rather than words, pointing out that the first foreign visit carried out by Prime Minister George Papandreou had been to Cyprus.
As regards to the country’s relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the alternate minister reiterated that Greece enters negotiations with an open mind and keeps an edifying stance on the matter.
Droutsas pointed out that in the communiqué forwarded by the European Union in December, it was made clear that Greece’s support to FYROM’s European course depends on reaching a viable solution to the name issue.
Greek News Agenda:  Greek Foreign Policy- Challenges and Prospects

Greece has a Strong Case on the Name Issue

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was briefed yesterday on Foreign Yugoslav’s Republic of Macedonia’s decision to lodge an appeal with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, claiming that Greece violated the 1995 bilateral interim accord during last year’s NATO Bucharest summit.

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed that Greece has a strong case, which will support before the Court, putting forward its arguments by January 2010.  “It will be a long process but Greece has strong defense arguments, which will prove that the real problem lies in Skopje‘s intransigence”. She further called on Skopje to enter the name negotiations in good faith in order to fund a mutually acceptable name. 

Remembering Greek Jews

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) memorial event for the Greek Jews killed during the Holocaust was held yesterday (June 17) at the Zappeion Conference Centre.  The event took place on the occasion of the Foreign Ministry’s publication of “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau” and was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias.  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held meetings with the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), Moses Constantines, and the President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, David Saltiel. The book “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau” recounts the story of the sixty thousand Greek Jews into the of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Greek News Agenda: Special Issue-The Jews of Greece

Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias Visit Denmark

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias began a three-day official visit in Denmark   on Monday (18.5), accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and a business delegation.   Speaking during the dinner hosted in his honour by the Queen of Denmark Margrethe II, Papoulias stressed that the planet needs a new, binding and effective international law framework for the environment.  Today, the President will address a business forum and on Wednesday morning, he will have meetings with the Speaker and a delegation of the Danish Parliament as well as the Danish prime minister.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Denmark

Greek President in Finland

papoulias1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias had a meeting on Tuesday (5.5) with his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen in Helsinki.  Presidents Papoulias and Halonen discussed the global economic crisis, bilateral, international and European issues and according to Papoulias they “shared the same positions.”  The Finnish President backed the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and the return of all antiquities that are being kept in third countries to their country of origin. On his part, Papoulias invited his Finnish counterpart to formally visit Greece and thanked Finland and the Finnish Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles for their support. The Greek President will address a special event today hosted by the Committee.  Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) – Greek President’s Speech in Finland; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece- Finland  

Greek President Received Chile’s Parliament Speaker

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday February 13, met with the President of Chile’s House of Representatives, Francisco Encina Moriamez, who is visiting Greece at the invitation of the Hellenic Parliament. Greeting Moriamez on arrival at the Presidential Mansion, Papoulias referred to the struggles of the peoples of Greece and Chile against the colonels’ junta and Pinochet dictatorship in the two countries, respectively. Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis also received Moriamez at the Prime Minister’s Mansion in Athens on Friday. Moriamez attended a plenary discussion on a bill on amendments to investment laws. He was greeted on arrival by Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas, who noted that the Chile House of Representatives supported the Greek positions on the Cyprus issue as well as on Greek-Turkish relations.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Chile

President’s of Greece Message to Hellenes Abroad

President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday addressed a holiday message to Greeks living abroad, stressing that their native country Greece will always be proud of their progress and their various successes in their adopted homeland. “This difficult time demands that all Greeks, both those of the metropolitan centre and those abroad, strengthen even more the bonds that unite us.” he said.

Greek Leadership Pays Respects to Cypriot Papadopoulos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis arrived in Larnaca today to attend the funeral of former president Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, who died on Friday in the Cypriot capital.  The funeral will be also attended by Dora Bakoyannis, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Popular Orthodox Party (LA.OS) president George Karatzaferis and a delegation of the Greek parliament. President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias sent his condolences stating that “Tassos Papadopoulos has faithfully served the Republic of Cyprus and during his term in office, Cyprus found the place it deserves as member state in the European Union. It is unfortunate that Papadopoulos did not live long enough to witness a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue, for which we all struggle.”  Karamanlis expressed his sincere and profound grief for the loss “of an historic political figure.” The premier emphasised Papadopoulos meaningful contribution to the Cypriot Hellenism, to which Papadopoulos had always been passionately devoted. The Associated Press: Cypriot ex-president Papadopoulos dies of cancer

Greek Prime Minister: National Unity Against Violance

karastanding11(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, in his statement on Tuesday night regarding ongoing riots and incidents in the country, stressed that “those who create disturbances and vandalism are enemies of democracy” and added that he made this position clear in successive meetings he held with the President of the Republic, party leaders and the Parliament speaker earlier in the day. “Generalisations and levelling aphorisms in the name of democracy deal a blow to democracy itself,” the prime minister said and concluded that the government is handling the situation with responsibility and calmness, but with determination and with the focus being protecting human life, securing legality and restoring the feeling of security.  President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias called on everyone to honour the 15-year-old boy, whose fatal shooting by police sparked days of rioting across the country, peacefully. “If our society fails to give convincing answers, giving solutions, the wound will remain open. But we must persist with respect to the institutions and the laws. Being a member of the generation that lived through difficult years in our history, I urge everyone to honour Alexis’ memory peacefully,” said the President of the Republic. Athens News Agency: PM calls for national unity against violence; ERTonline: Papoulias’ call for peaceful remembrance 

Greek Prime Minister Confers with State Leadership

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Following further acts of vandalism by small groups, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met  with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias early morning yesterday, and briefed him on the latest upheaval triggered by the loss of the 15 year-old pupil. Following their meeting, the premier held  successive meetings with all leaders of the opposition parties who vehemently condemned the acts of violence perpetrated in the echo of the events. Yesterday, Minister of Interior Pavlopoulos clarified that there is no need for emergency measures to be taken and that law enforcement is being carried out through standard procedure. He further stressed that the government will not tolerate the manipulation of the lost adolescent’s memory and its use as an excuse for delinquency.  Secretary General of Information, Panos Livadas was invited yesterday to participate in BBC World Radio’s Newshour, during which, he reiterated the Prime Minister’s commitment on behalf of the government to indemnify the people whose property was destroyed or damaged. He further stressed that the government is determined to safeguard the right to freedom of expression in a peaceful way, without allowing minorities to infiltrate, creating violent unrest. 

Vatican Lends to Greece Parthenon Fragment

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Vatican has given a fragment of the Parthenon’s frieze to Greece on a one-year loan, fulfilling a request by late Archbishop Christodoulos to Pope Benedict XVI, and it is on display at the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. “This gesture sets an example for others to follow and finally restore the unity of the Parthenon Marbles,” Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said. The Vatican fragment follows the repatriation of the “Palermo fragment”, another piece of the Parthenon marbles which had been kept at the Museum of Palermo in Italy and which was returned to the Hellenic Republic on the occasion of the Italian president’s official visit to Greece in September. Kathimerini daily: Vatican lends museum Parthenon fragment; Greek News Agenda: Italian President in Athens International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures: www.parthenoninternational.org; Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Acropolis and the Parthenon Marbles

President of Greece K. Papoulias Receives Slovakian Counterpart

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias (left) received his Slovak counterpart Ivan Gasparovic on Tuesday, who is on a three-day visit to Greece. After the meeting, Papoulias stated that they discussed bilateral and European issues, underlining that the EU has an obligation to its principles and history to contribute to the creation of a new global economic system that will guarantee transparency and development. He also stated that he briefed his Slovak counterpart on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, pointing out that it is time for the wall dividing Nicosia, the last dividing wall in Europe, to fall. Other topics of discussion included the potential for more Greek investments in Slovakia, mainly in the sector of services and the exploitation of Slovakia’s mineral springs. President Ivan Gasparovic was awarded the City of Athens’ Gold Medal of Merit on Tuesday, by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. Athens News Agency: Greek, Slovak Presidents Meet; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Slovakia 

Celebrating Greece’s entry into World War II

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece celebrated the 68th anniversary of the country’s entry into World War II on Tuesday, which marks with a traditional military parade in Thessaloniki, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and the country’s political and military leadership. The parade wound up the annual three-day series of events held in Thessaloniki. In his statements, President Papoulias stated that “when the people and military, united, confronted the enemy, today we are also ready not only to confront any threats but to work and cooperate in order for the Balkans to be a place of peace, cooperation and cordial understanding.” Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis stressed that “… Greece is now building the future with an integrated European awareness of understanding and cooperation, and always undertakes initiatives so that all the countries of the wider region may accede to Euroatlantic institutions, providing that they fulfil the criteria and rules of good neighbourliness.” In Athens and in the rest of the country, the holiday was celebrated with the customary student parades. Athens News Agency: Greece celebrates anniversary of WWII entry

Greece: Maria Callas Honored by the Prespes Festival

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The 2008 Prespes festival celebrated its 20 years of life on August 29-30. As is the case every year, events were held in the remains of the basilica on the island of Aghios Achilleios in the Mikri Prespa lake. This year’s festival was of special importance, given that guests included President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis – Bakoyannis sent a message of friendship and collaboration to neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  An exhibition of Maria Callas memorabilia opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the city of Florina. Showcasing Maria Callas memorabilia (previously on display at the Greek Parliament in Athens), the exhibition was inaugurated in the presence of choreographer Maria Hors and curated by acclaimed set designer Yiannis Metzikoff. During the opening ceremony, President Papoulias honoured filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, whose work has often been set in the region’s remote landscapes. The programme featured tributes to Greek songwriters Vassilis Tsitsanis and Stelios Kazantzidis among other events, while participants included Dionysis Savvopoulos, Eleni Karaindrou and Goran Bregovic. Kathimerini daily: Art and Politics Come Together at Prespes Festival

Greece: A Joyful Anniversary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Hellenic Parliament held a special session on July to mark the 34th anniversary since democracy was restored to Greece after a seven-year dictatorship fell on July 24, 1974. During the “Third Hellenic Republic” political life had been normalised and democratic institutions consolidated. Nowdays, according to the 2007/8 UN Human Development report, Greece ranks 24th  among 177 countries. Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas, representatives of the government and the political parties in Parliament paid homage to the people that had struggled against the junta rule, highlighting the fact that the Cyprus problem was still unsolved 34 years later and stressing the need for a just and viable solution. On the occasion, President of the Republic Karlolos Papoulias held the annual anniversary banquet. Athens News Agency: Restoration of Democracy anniversary ; BBC: Greek Military Rule Gives In to Democracy; Konstantinos Karamanlis Archive: The Restoration of Democracy, 1974-77