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Διάλεξη “Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος” – Εκδήλωση Γραφείου Τύπου (Βαρσοβία, 5/3/2012)

Διάλεξη του αναπληρωτή καθηγητή του Πανεπιστημίου Μακεδονίας (Θεσσαλονίκη), Νίκου Μαραντζίδη, με θέμα «Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος – Εσωτερικές και διεθνείς διαστάσεις», πραγματοποιήθηκε στις 5 Μαρτίου στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας.
Η διάλεξη διοργανώθηκε από το Γραφείο Τύπου, σε συνεργασία με το Τμήμα Ελληνικών Σπουδών του Πανεπιστημίου Βαρσοβίας.
Ο καθηγητής παρουσίασε το ιστορικό πλαίσιο και τα σημαντικότερα γεγονότα του εμφυλίου, προκειμένου να αναδείξει το πολύπλοκο πλέγμα σχέσεων που συνέδεε την Ελλάδα της περιόδου του εμφυλίου με ξένες χώρες.
Επικεντρώθηκε στον ρόλο χωρών της Ανατολικής Ευρώπης και την υποστήριξη των κομμουνιστών ανταρτών από το Ανατολικό μπλόκ, δίνοντας έμφαση στην βοήθεια της Πολωνίας προς τους έλληνες κομμουνιστές, η οποία περιελάμβανε την υποδοχή και περίθαλψη προσφύγων ανταρτών και παιδιών, την ίδρυση μυστικού στρατιωτικού νοσοκομείου στη Βαλτική, αποστολές τροφίμων, ιατροφαρμακευτικού υλικού κ.ά..
Αναφέρθηκε, επίσης, στις διάφορες περιόδους μνήμης του εμφυλίου στην Ελλάδα και στην θεματολογία του εμφυλίου στην ελληνική λογοτεχνία.
Την διάλεξη, στην οποία παρέστησαν ο πρέσβης Γαβριήλ Κοπτσίδης και πολλά μέλη της Ελληνικής Πρεσβείας, παρακολούθησαν οι φοιτητές και οι διδάσκοντες του Τμήματος Ελληνικών Σπουδών, καθηγητές του Πανεπιστημίου Βαρσοβίας, ομογενείς και άλλοι Έλληνες της Βαρσοβίας.
Ο καθ. Ν. Μαραντζίδης συνεργάζεται στενά, τα τελευταία χρόνια, με το Γραφείο Τύπου, το οποίο παρέχει διευκολύνσεις στη  έρευνά του για την βοήθεια της Πολωνίας προς τους έλληνες πρόσφυγες του εμφυλίου.

Lecture by professor Nikos Marantzidis about the Greek Civil War (Warsaw, 5/3/2012)

A lecture titled “The Greek Civil War – Internal and international dimensions” was held at the University of Warsaw by the professor of the University of Macedonia (Thessaloniki), Nikos Marantzidis, on the 5th of March 2012. The lecture was organized by the Greek Press and Communication Office in Warsaw, in conjunction with the Department of Greek Studies of the University of Warsaw.
The professor presented the historical context and the main events of the Civil War, aiming to demonstrate the complicate relations of Greece with foreign countries during the Civil War. He focused on the role of various Eastern European countries and their support to the Greek communist partisans, emphasizing Poland`s aid towards the Greek communists, which concentrated on the reception and care of refugees (partisans and children), the creation of a secret military hospital in the Baltic Sea, food provisions, medical equipment etc.. There were, also, references to the different periods of collective memory regarding the Civil War in Greece and to issues related to the Civil War in Greek literature.
The lecture was attended by the Greek Ambassador Gabriel Coptsidis and several members of the Greek Embassy, students and professors of the Department of Greek Studies, professors of the University of Warsaw, along with members of the general public, among which were Greeks, expatriates and residents of Warsaw.
Professor Marantzidis works closely with the Press Office during the last years, in his research about Poland`s aid towards the Greek refugees of the Civil War.

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)

Ομιλία υπουργού Εξωτερικών Δημήτρη Δρούτσα στους προϊσταμένους των Γραφείων Τύπου Εξωτερικού

Ο Υπουργός Εξωτερικών Δημήτρης Δρούτσας ήταν εκ των ομιλητών στην ετήσια συνάντηση των Προϊσταμένων των Γραφείων Τύπου & Επικοινωνίας Εξωτερικού, που πραγματοποιήθηκε στη Γενική Γραμματεία Επικοινωνίας – Γενική Γραμματεία Ενημέρωσης  στις 17 Ιανουαρίου 2011.
Ακολουθούν τα βασικά σημεία και το πλήρες κείμενο της ομιλίας του κ. Δρούτσα.
Βασικά σημεία:

  • Η κυβέρνησή μας από την πρώτη στιγμή που ανέλαβε, έδωσε τον τόνο της εξωτερικής πολιτικής που θα ασκήσει: έδειξε ότι θέλει και δεν φοβάται τις μεγάλες αλλαγές που είναι απαραίτητες και σε αυτόν τον τομέα. Τέλος λοιπόν στην αδράνεια που μόνο πιο απομονωμένους μας άφησε, τέλος στο συντηρητισμό χάριν δήθεν της διαφύλαξης των κεκτημένων, τέλος στις γνωστές φοβίες στα σύνδρομα του παρελθόντος που περιέβαλαν την εξωτερική πολιτική και την κρατούσαν εγκλωβισμένη. Ο κόσμος πήγε μπροστά κι εμείς κινδυνεύαμε να μείνουμε πίσω. Και όταν μας χτύπησε η οικονομική κρίση, φάνηκαν τα αδιέξοδα μίας εξωτερικής πολιτικής που δεν είχε εξασφαλίσει στη χώρα μας τουλάχιστον ένα απόθεμα αξιοπιστίας.
  • Σε ένα χρόνο, τολμώ να το πω, ήδη πετύχαμε πολλά. Κυρίως ανατρέψαμε ισορροπίες που είχαν διαμορφωθεί σε βάρος μας και, το σπουδαιότερο, δώσαμε πάλι φωνή και ρόλο στην Ελλάδα, ιδιαίτερα στον άμεσο περίγυρό της : στα Βαλκάνια, στον Εύξεινο Πόντο και τον Καύκασο, και στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο, η Ελλάδα είναι πάλι παρούσα.
  • Στα Βαλκάνια, η πρωτοβουλία μας, η γνωστή πλέον σε όλους πρωτοβουλία μας για μία «Ατζέντα 2014», έχει δώσει νέα ώθηση στην ενταξιακή προοπτική των Δυτικών Βαλκανίων. Κυρίως, έχει ανοίξει τη συζήτηση για την προοπτική ολοκλήρωσης αυτής της διαδικασίας με τον προγραμματισμό της Συνόδου Κορυφής ΕΕ-Δυτικών Βαλκανίων, που θα πραγματοποιήσουμε κατά την επόμενη προεδρία μας στην ΕΕ το 2014.
  • Μιας και μιλάμε για τα Βαλκάνια, το Σκοπιανό, εδώ η θέση της Ελλάδας είναι ξεκάθαρη και γνωστή σε όλους από την αρχή. Θέλουμε να βοηθήσουμε τη γειτονική μας χώρα, θέλουμε να δούμε την ένταξή του και στην ΕΕ, και για αυτό το σκοπό εργαζόμαστε, και για άλλη μία φορά απευθύνουμε την έκκληση-πρόσκληση προς την πολιτική ηγεσία των Σκοπίων να εργαστεί μαζί μας ακριβώς σε αυτήν την κατεύθυνση και να έρθει και εκείνη με εποικοδομητικό τρόπο στο τραπέζι των διαπραγματεύσεων υπό την αιγίδα του ΟΗΕ.
  • Στον Οργανισμό Οικονομικής Συνεργασίας του Ευξείνου Πόντου, ασκήσαμε την περασμένη χρονιά, μία εξαιρετικά επιτυχημένη προεδρία που διάνοιξε νέες αναπτυξιακές προοπτικές, και τις συνέδεσε για πρώτη φορά μάλιστα με το περιβάλλον, με την πράσινη ανάπτυξη.
  • Στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο, χώρο ζωτικού μας συμφέροντος, έχουμε ανοίξει, αν θέλετε, το παιχνίδι. Οι διευρυμένες σχέσεις μας με το Ισραήλ, αλλά και η ανανέωση των σχέσεών μας με τον αραβικό κόσμο, για να το τονίσω αυτό, παραδοσιακών σχέσεων αλληλοσεβασμού και αμοιβαίας εμπιστοσύνης με βαθιές ρίζες. Όλα αυτά έχουν δημιουργήσει μία νέα δυναμική και σε αυτήν την περιοχή και έχουν δώσει στην Ελλάδα ένα αυξημένο ρόλο, τον οποίο αναγνωρίζουν όλοι.
  • Κυπριακό – και εδώ οι θέσεις μας καθαρές: λύση βάσει των αποφάσεων του Συμβουλίου Ασφαλείας του ΟΗΕ με πλήρη σεβασμό στο ευρωπαϊκό κεκτημένο. Μην ξεχνάμε, η Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία είναι πλήρες κράτος-μέλος της ΕΕ και αυτό μία μεγάλη επιτυχία και της ελληνικής εξωτερικής πολιτικής στο παρελθόν.
  • Η Ελλάδα, ένας από τους πιο συνεπείς υποστηρικτές της ένταξης της Τουρκίας στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, δε θα ανεχθεί μία εικονική ενταξιακή διαδικασία, στην οποία η Τουρκία θα παίρνει σιγά-σιγά από την ΕΕ ό,τι θέλει, χωρίς όμως την εκπλήρωση των υποχρεώσεών της απέναντι στην ΕΕ και απέναντι σε κάθε κράτος-μέλος της ΕΕ. Ειδικά ως προς αυτό, προτείναμε και συζητούμε με τους εταίρους μας μία ιδέα, μία νέα ελληνική πρόταση, την ιδέα σύγκλησης μίας Συνόδου, ενδεχομένως ακόμα και σε επίπεδο κορυφής, γιατί όχι, που θα ανανεώσει την αμοιβαία δέσμευση για πλήρη συμμόρφωση της Τουρκίας με το κοινοτικό κεκτημένο, έναντι της πλήρους ένταξης.
  • Η ιδέα, η πρόταση είναι για μία σύνοδο για την Τουρκία, το θέμα της Τουρκίας και των σχέσεων της Τουρκίας με την ΕΕ, για το θέμα της ενταξιακής ευρωπαϊκής πορείας της Τουρκίας και όχι για να δώσουμε στην Τουρκία, μέσω αυτής της Συνόδου, μία αναβαθμισμένη, αν θέλετε, θεσμική ιδιότητα στην Τουρκία, όπως κάποιοι κακοβούλως θέλουν να παρουσιάσουν.
  • Όταν η Ελλάδα γίνεται πρωτοσέλιδο σε μεγάλα ΜΜΕ δεν είναι δυνατόν να απουσιάζει η ελληνική φωνή. Εγώ είμαι από αυτούς που πιστεύουν ότι ακόμη και η ατυχέστερη συγκυρία μπορεί να μετατραπεί ακόμα και σε ευκαιρία, αν τη χειριστούμε σωστά. Μην κλεινόμαστε στο καβούκι μας, λοιπόν. Εμείς από την Αθήνα θα σας υποστηρίξουμε, τουλάχιστον θα το προσπαθήσουμε αυτό με τον καλύτερο δυνατό τρόπο.
  • Πρέπει να το πάρουμε απόφαση όλοι μας ότι ερχόμαστε από μία χώρα συγκριτικά, ίσως, μικρή, όμως σημαντική, που δικαιολογημένα καταλαμβάνει πολύ περισσότερο χώρο στα διεθνή ΜΜΕ από ό,τι αναλογεί στο μέγεθός της. Για καλό, όπως π.χ. με τους πρόσφατους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες στην Αθήνα, ή δυστυχώς και για κακό, όπως σήμερα με την κρίση. Η φωνή σας, λοιπόν, έχει δύναμη και ο κόσμος περιμένει να την ακούσει.
    Διαβάστε το πλήρες κείμενο της ομιλίας
    (Πηγή: Forum Διεθνούς Επικοινωνιακής Πολιτικής icp-forum.gr)

Christmas in Greece

Traditionally, the Christmas holiday period in Greece lasts 12 days, until January 6, which marks the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Theophany (Epiphany).
There are many customs associated with the Christmas holidays, some of which are relatively recent, “imported” from other parts of the world (like eating turkey on Christmas day and decorating the Christmas tree).
The modern Christmas tree entered Greece in the luggage of the country’s first king, Otto of Greece, who ascended to the throne in 1833 – yet, the tree did not become popular until the 1940s.
In the past, Greeks decorated small Christmas boats in honour of St. Nicholas. Today, they are increasingly choosing to decorate boats, instead of trees, reviving this age-old Christmas tradition. Undoubtedly, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Greece is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Xmas: A Word of Greek Origin
Where did “Xmas” come from? Some transliterations of Greek spell Christos as “Xristos.” The “X” stood in for the first letter of the word Christ (ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ).
“Xmas” has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents the Greek letter X (chi). While in modern times Xmas is regarded as a kind of slang, it was originally considered to be a perfectly respectful.
Christmas (“Χριστούγεννα”), the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus is one of the most joyful days of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Christmas Elves
Greece’s hobgoblins are called “kallikántzari,” friendly but troublesome little creatures which look like elves. Kallikantzari live deep down inside the earth and come to surface only during the 12-day period from Christmas until Epiphany. While on the earth’s surface, they love to hide in houses, slipping down chimneys and frightening people in various ways.
Throughout Greece, there are customs and numerous rituals performed to keep these hobgoblins away. In Epirus, residents place twelve spindles in front of the fireplace to prevent the kalikantzari from climbing down the chimney.
On Christmas Eve, in the town of Grevena, people place a large log in the corner of the house and set it alight. As the fire burns, lasting until the Feast of the Epiphany, it protects the family from the naughty kalikantzari. On the island of Cephalonia, women burn incense at the front door of their houses making the sign of the cross in order to repel these undesirable “guests.”
The “kallikántzari” disappear on the day of Epiphany when all the waters are blessed, and they return to the earth’s core.
Sweets & Treats
Traditional culinary delights symbolise good luck in the New Year and adorn the white-clothed tables. “Melomakarona” (honey cookies) and “kourabiedes” (sugar cookies with almonds) are the most characteristic. In the past, melomakarona were made exclusively for Christmas, while kourabiedes were prepared for the New Year.
Today, this distinction is not observed anymore and both melomakarona and kourabiedes are prepared and consumed throughout the festive season.
Another traditional custom that dates back to the Byzantine times is the slicing of the Vassilopita (St.Basil’s pie or New Year Cake). The person who finds the hidden coin in his/her slice of the cake, is considered to be lucky for the rest of the year.
At the meal table there is also a special decorated round loaf called “Vasilopsomo” or St. Basil’s bread -which is really identical in form to the “Christopsomo” or “Christ bread” eaten on Christmas Day – and the “Photitsa” or “Lights’ bread” that is eaten on Epiphany.
“Kalanda” or Carols
The singing of Christmas carols (or kalanda, in Greek) is a custom which is preserved in its entirety to this day. On Christmas and New Year Eve, children go from house to house in groups of two or more singing the carols, accompanied usually by the sounds of the musical instrument “triangle,” but also guitars, accordions, lyres and harmonicas.
Until some time ago, carollers were rewarded with pastries but nowadays they are usually given money. Listen to some sound extracts with Greek Christmas carols (Kalanda) from Ikaria Island. Things to Do, Places to Go…. 
A Christmas spirit is taking over the squares and streets of the country’s major cities, as local authorities organise a variety of events and festivities, culminating with New Year’s Eve countdown parties in central squares.
Festivities in Athens revolve around Syntagma Square and its Christmas tree, with daily concerts throughout the season, while the National Garden turns into storybook Magical Forest for children.
Thessaloniki runs the country’s biggest Christmas village: the Helexpo pavilions are hosting Christmas Magic City, featuring shows, workshops and a big Christmas market.
The north-western city of Kastoria celebrates with “ragoutsaria,” the local carnival that starts on New Year’s Day, with every neighbourhood forming a carnival group, complete with brass band. In Agios Nikolaos, Crete, the New Year will come from the sea, with the New Year’s Eve party at the port, and Santa arriving on a boat.
And Holiday Performances
Venues and clubs participate in the Christmas spirit with special holiday performances.
The National Opera’s Christmas rich programme includes the Snow Queen ballet and Hansel and Gretel opera for children.
The Athens Concert Hall hosts the Bolshoi Theatre Academy on December 22-29, in a much-awaited performance of the Nutcracker, and the London Community Gospel Choir on December 27-28.
The recently inaugurated Onassis Cultural Centre presents Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée and Victoria Chaplin in their phantasmagoric yet poetic Invisible Circus, on December 28-30 and January 1-2.
At the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, on December 27 & 28, the Sounds of Christmas Go Baroque: a festive concert featuring Baroque Concertos.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece will defend its sovereign rights

The Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs issued announcements concerning the sea surveys conducted by “Piri Reis,” a Turkish naval research ship in an area between the Greek island of Kastellorizo and Cyprus.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the “Piri Reis surveys an area outside Greek territorial waters, however, Athens has claimed the rights to potential undersea mineral and fossil fuel deposits.”
National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that “Athens is watching closely” and that “in any case, Greece will defend its sovereign rights.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Differences with Turkey     [PHOTO]: Kastellorizo
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Crete, the island of miracles

Crete, land of Daidalos and Ikaros, is the largest island of Greece, separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea and marking the boundary between Europe and Africa. On Crete, the scenery is constantly changing.
Majestic mountains rise in its centre –the Lefka Ori, Psiloritis, Dikti– full of legends and history, while its plateaus are split by deep gorges, ending up in lush valleys.
This island’s fertile soil and towering peaks witnessed the development of one of the most important civilizations on earth, the Minoan (2800-1150 B.C.).
With its clear, warm sea, boundless beaches lined with tamarisks and mild starry nights, Crete is an idyllic place for vacation but for living as well, in bustling Iraklio, cosmopolitan Aghios Nikolaos, picturesque Rethymno or enchanting Chania.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Τουριστικό αφιέρωμα στη Βόρεια Ελλάδα σε πολωνικό περιοδικό

Το μηνιαίο ανδρικό περιοδικό Gentleman, με τίτλο «Δημοκρατία του Δία», δημοσιεύει τετρασέλιδο αφιέρωμα της Elżbieta Pawełek και του Zygmunt Chwast στη Θεσσαλονίκη, την Καβάλα και την Θάσο, το οποίο συνοδεύεται από πληθώρα έγχρωμων φωτογραφιών από τους Φιλίππους, την Θάσο και τις ακτές της βόρειας Ελλάδας.
Στην εισαγωγή του δημοσιεύματος υπογραμμίζονται τα εξής : «Η Γαλλία έχει το δικό της Έβερεστ, η Ιταλία το Mont Blanc, ενώ η Μακεδονία τον Όλυμπο, την κατοικία των θεών. Γιατί επέλεξαν αυτό το μέρος; Διότι εδώ υπάρχουν τα πάντα: χρυσές ακτές, ηλιόλουστα νησιά και καταπληκτικές ταβέρνες με θαλασσινά».   
  

Kavala

Στην ενότητα που τιτλοφορείται «Το άρωμα της ανατολής», οι αρθρογράφοι περιγράφουν την περιήγησή τους στην Καβάλα, την οποία στην αρχαιότητα είχε επισκεφθεί και ο Απόστολος Παύλος κατά την πρώτη ιεραποστολή του στην Ευρώπη. Επίσης αναφέρονται στην πολιτιστική κληρονομιά των Τούρκων και τη θυελλώδη ιστορία της πόλης.
Στην ενότητα «Σμαραγδένιο Νησί», οι αρθρογράφοι παροτρύνουν τους τουρίστες να επισκεφθούν την Θάσο, που αποτελεί ιδανικό προορισμό για ολιγοήμερη αναψυχή. 

Thasos Ancient Agora

Στην ενότητα με τίτλο «Ταβέρνα κάτω από τα αστέρια», ειδική αναφορά γίνεται στους μεζέδες και τα κυριότερα πιάτα της ελληνικής κουζίνας. Καταληκτικά σημειώνεται ότι «όταν τα τζιτζίκια τραγουδούν σαν τρελά κατά τη διάρκεια του δείπνου και φτάνει ο ήχος των κυμάτων από την ακρογιαλιά, διότι τα τραπέζια είναι στημένα κοντά στο νερό, και πάνω από τα κεφάλια βλέπει κανείς τον έναστρο ουρανό, όλα αποκτούν μια εκλεκτή γεύση. Είμαστε περίεργοι τι θα έλεγε τώρα ο Δίας;». 

Η δημοσιογράφος Elzbieta Pawelek και ο φωτογράφος Zygmunt Chwast φιλοξενήθηκαν, κατόπιν πρότασης του Γραφείου Τύπου Βαρσοβίας, στη Θεσσαλονίκη και τη Θάσο τον Ιούνιο του 2009.  

Blue Flags 2010

Greece was awarded Blue Flags for 421 Beaches and 9 Marinas by the International Blue Flag Jury, winning second place among 41 countries. 
The prefectures of Lasithi (on Crete), and Halkidiki (northern Greece), as well as the islands of Corfu and Rhodes were awarded the highest number of Blue Flags.
The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized standard for quality, develporewarding sustainable development at beaches and marinas, relying on strict criteria, such as water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety.
Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature: Greek Beachs awarded the Blue Flag for 2010
Greek News Agenda: 425 Blue Flags for Greece

Greece assumes BSEC chairmanship

Greece has assumed, the rotating chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation, at a special ceremony, during the 22nd meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs , held in Sofia, Bulgaria on May 28.
“It is our objective to establish the Greek Chairmanship-in-Office of the BSEC as a turning point for the entire region towards Green Development.
Its central theme will be Black Sea turns Green,” Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis stressed in his address to the meeting upon the assumption of the chairmanship.
He also noted that the emphasis on “green development” will highlight the comparative advantages of the Black Sea region in terms of environmental protection, culture, tourism, alternative energy sources and new technologies. 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

New impetus for Greek-Turkish relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A new impetus for Greek-Turkish relations was given yesterday following a letter by Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed to his Turkish counterpart, responding to prior correspondence between the two leaders.

The Greek side proposes the launch of a series of talks on the issue of the continental shelf, within a specific time limit and the option for both sides to resort to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in case of a dead-end.
Papandreou deems the Turkish proposal of establishing a High-level Council of Cooperation important and invites Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an official visit to Greece, sometime before summer, in order to set a time framework.
Moreover, the Greek Premier highlights the need for de-escalating tension over the Aegean Sea and stresses that military activity in the area must be avoided since it jeopardizes security and fuels tension. Referring to the pressure exercised on bilateral relations due to immigration flows’ movement, Papandreou reiterates the necessity for Turkey to abide by the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol (2001).
The premier concludes by expressing Greece’s support for Turkey’s European perspective, provided that the latter honours its obligations towards the Greek minority in Turkey and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Turkey Bilateral Relations & Greek-Turkish Rapprochement
[Photo from Papandreou’s visit to Istanbul, Turkey, October, 2009]

“Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Addressing the conference “Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects” held yesterday on the premises of the Foreign Affairs Ministry,  Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis referred to Greece’s foreign policy priorities centering on economic diplomacy, relations with Greeks abroad and green development.

Kouvelis stressed that the Balkans, the wider Black Sea region and that of Eastern Mediterranean is of particular interest to Greece.
He therefore took the opportunity to refer to the country’s upcoming Chairmanship in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC, June 1 to December 31, 2010),  forwarding the message that, in its capacity, Greece is committed to strengthen the organisation’s role with respect to its member-states and the region’s economic development.
Finally, on green development, Kouvelis emphasised Greece’s need to live up to the challenges of the new situation taking shape globally. The conference was organised by the Institute of International Relations, an Athens-based think tank affiliated with Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

Black Sea Business Forum / Thessaloniki, 12 & 13 November 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline is a significant project with geopolitical, economic and energy importance, Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis noted, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Black Sea Business Forum in Thessaloniki, on November 12. 
The 3rd Union of Black Sea and Caspian Confederation of Enterprises (UBCCE) business forum, entitled “Seizing New Investment and Trade Opportunities in the Black Sea and Caspian in the Post Crisis Era,” is being held in Thessaloniki on November 12-13.

It is hosted by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece.
Addressing the event, Kouvelis stressed Greece’s commitment to the enhancement of co-operation with the European Union, through the establishment of “Black Sea Partnerships” within the “Black Sea Synergy” process, as well as through the new “Eastern Partnership” EU initiative.
Greece, he said, will have the chance to advance this perspective during the Greek Chairmanship of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which commences on June 1, 2010.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization

Greek-Russian Talks ahead of OSCE Meet

Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Titov

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Thursday had a working lunch with Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Titov (right), who is visiting Athens.
The two men earlier discussed matters of bilateral cooperation within the field of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Droutsas is expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the works of the OSCE ministerial meeting that will take place in Athens at the beginning of December.
According to the Greek foreign ministry, the role of Greece in European energy security will receive special attention in the forthcoming Greek-Russian talks of December.

Hellenic Acquaculture Thrives

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Greeks have always had a symbiotic relationship with the sea. It is no surprise that they are at the forefront of sea farming, especially nowadays that consumer demand for seafood is increasing, while over-fishing and other industrial practices have depleted wild fish supplies all over the world. In the European Union (EU) alone, farmed fish has more than doubled in the last 20 years.  The EU supports sustainable aquaculture as a means to replenish natural stocks and supplement the struggling fishing trade. In Greece, the number of fish farms rose from 12 in 1985 to 290 in 2005.  With annual production of approximately 100,000 tons (Greek Mariculture Federation), and sales turnover at €460 million, mariculture is now the psaria3country’s second biggest export sector.  Greece is the world’s leading exporter of Mediterranean sea bream and sea bass, whose short production cycles are ideal for farming in Greek waters.  Greek Mediterranean Gastronomy: www.kerasma.gr; Federation of Greek Mariculture: www.fgm.gr; European Commission: Fisheries and Maritime Affairs

Watersports Delight in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece famous for its sun, sea and wonderful beaches is a watersports paradise, providing perfect conditions for adventures of the aquatic variety for almost five months a year – June to roughly October.  Watersports facilities and clubs can be found on many islands as well as in the Attica region, just an hour away from Athens.

» Windsurfing

WindsurfingConditions in Greece are perfect for windsurfing, especially during July and August when the northern ‘meltemi’ wind blows across the Aegean. The sport became extremely popular in the country in the 90s after Nikos Kaklamanakis’s gold medal in the Athanta 1996 Olympics.  There are several windsurfing clubs around Attica – the closest to Athens being the Varkiza sailing Club. Closer to Sounio, there is also the Kouros Club Anavissos.  On the east coast of Attica, windsurfing clubs can be found in Schinias and Loutsa.

» Kite surfing

Kite SurfingKite surfing -the newest and more adrenaline-inducing surf experience- has been growing rapidly in popularity in Greece in the last few years.  In Attica the Aiolos Surf Club in Loutsa offers lessons for beginners while on the island of Paros there is a Kiteboarding Center, home of the official International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) school. 

» Sea kayaking

Sea KayakingSea kayaking offers the opportunity not only to enjoy doing a watersport but also explore the surrounding area.  In that sense, the Ionian Sea is considered to be an ideal place to practice this activity.  With dramatic coastal cliffs, fascinating sea caves, unspoiled beaches, and turquoise bays of sparsely inhabited isles, along with traditional fishing villages, Venetian fortresses, and ancient Orthodox monasteries, the region is considered one of the world’s top 10 kayaking destinations.
Athens Plus: Summer Watersports (17.07.09 p.24-4)

Corfu: An Ionian Jewel

Corfu(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Corfu town is Venice and Naples, a touch of France and more than a dash of England, apart of course from being Greek.”  Countess Flamburiari who used these words to describe Corfu island was not the only one to be enticed by the beauties of this famous and much visited island off the West coast of Greece.  In 19th century, Empress Elisabeth of Austria expressed the desire to immerse herself in the Greek culture and in 1890, she commissioned the construction of a summer palace which she called the Achilleion, after Homer’s hero Achilles. The palace, with the neoclassical Greek statues that surround it, is a monument to romanticism as well as escapism.  The various architectonic styles of its buildings, monuments and city planning are due to the island’s long history of conquerors. Venetians, British, French, Italians and Germans, all left their mark. The island’s city centre -the Old Town- is an historic complex of narrow streets dominated by the 16th century fortress. Close to the capital lies a small island, home to a monastery, the white staircase of which resembles a (mouse) tail, thus the name of the island Pontikonissi (mouse island). Corfu’s natural habitat is equally exquisite. The island has some of the Ionian Sea’s most beautiful beaches, favoured by thousands of visitors. UNESCO World Heritage: Old Town of Corfu is protected by UNESCO; You Tube: UNESCO Ceremony

European Maritime Day in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   May 20 was European Maritime Day. The sea has always played a key role in Europe’s history and its prosperity. The European continent has some 70,000 km of coastline and 22 of the EU’s 27 Member States are coastal or island countries. EU’s maritime regions are home to 40% of the population, and generate 40% of the economy. Being both a popular tourist destination and an archipelagic nation with extensive coastlines, and long tradition in shipping and maritime activities, Greece attributes special importance to this day and celebrated it with a number of events. Vice-President of the European Parliament and one of the inspirers of the institution, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, addressed the European Maritime Day Stakeholders Conference (May 19-20) in Rome yesterday.

South Stream Pipeline Underway

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The agreement for the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline will be signed today (May 15) between Gazprom and all other participants in the project, in the Russian resort city of Sochi on the shores of the Black Sea, Greek Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis announced.    Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA), a subsidiary of the Greek Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), will be signing on behalf of Greece. The minister, who will also attend the signing ceremony, noted the particular importance placed on the South Stream agreement and Greece’s broader cooperation with Russia.   Greek News Agenda: Greece-Russia forge ties; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Energy Affairs

Greek PM Meets with Outgoing NATO Secretary General

karamsceff(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Thursday (May 14) in Athens with the outgoing NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.  Pointing out that during Scheffer’s term the alliance was enlarged twice, while in the field of operations NATO was called to meet very demanding challenges, Karamanlis praised the efforts to promote the Alliance’s relations with Russia as well as the progress made in relation to Ukraine and Georgia and the countries of the ‘Partnership for Peace’, the ‘Mediterranean Dialogue’ and the ‘Istanbul Initiative.’  On his part, the NATO SecGen stressed that “Greece’s participation in NATO’s operations and missions was and still is very important.” He also referred to energy and internet security issues as well as to the participation of Greek Navy frigates in the efforts to combat sea piracy.  De Hoop Scheffer also met with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.

The Hidden Fabulous Greece

greece_insidwe(www.minpress.gr / The Observer , 10.05.09)  Greece has been a popular tourist destination for decades. Despite the mass tourism, quiet villages and deserted beaches do still exist. Nicola Iseard of “The Observer” assembled a panel of experts and persuaded them to reveal their personal favorites of Greece.   The extensive article features secret islands like Kastellorizo in the  Dodecanese, Milos in the Southern Cyclades and Antipaxoi in the  Ionian Sea and hidden fabulous beaches like Egremni in Lefkada Island.   Moreover there are suggestions for special places to stay like Milia Settlement in Crete and suggestions for the best taverns serving traditional Greek food. For the more adventurous ones, the article suggests active escapes like rock climbing in Kalymnos Island. Read the whole article here.