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Government announced austerity plan

» PM: “Sacrifices will Bear Fruits”

The government announced yesterday an additional set of measures bound to slash the double-digit public deficit.
Speaking yesterday at a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Papandreou said that the emphasis is now shifting to what the European Union will do. 
The new measures aim at bringing into public coffers some €4.8 billion, amount which corresponds to 2% of the country’s GDP.  

» Pay Cuts

In particular, the new measures include a 30% pay cut of public sector’s supplements allocated annually, and a 12% across the board cut of public servants’ benefits. Moreover, subsidies to public entities and their social security funds will be reduced by 10%.
Any additional remuneration in the public sector will be trimmed by 50%, and compensation for overtime work will shrink by 30%.

Executive bonuses in the public sector will be abolished and the Public Investment Budget will be curtailed by 5% (€500 million). As of 2011, the ratio for public sector hirings will be one for every five retirees.

» Taxation

VAT is expected to rise at all cases by an average 1% to 2% and an extra levy on fuel, cigarettes, liqueur and luxury products will be imposed.
A one-off tax of 1% on personal incomes above €100.000 will also be introduced, together with a 15% rise in taxation of offshore companies’ real estate property.
Kathimerini daily: Further Cuts and Tax Hikes Announced
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Διάλεξη για την βενετοκρατούμενη Σητεία στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας (23/2/2010)

Διάλεξη με θέμα «Η βενετοκρατούμενη Σητεία – Αρχειακή έρευνα για την ιστορία της πόλης» έδωσε η Γραμματέας Επικοινωνίας του Γραφείου Τύπου και Επικοινωνίας Βαρσοβίας, Μαρία Μονδέλου, στις 23 Φεβρουαρίου στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας.
Πρόκειται για την δεύτερη διάλεξη που πραγματοποιείται ύστερα από πρόσκληση του Ινστιτούτου Διεπιστημονικών Σπουδών (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies) “Artes Liberales” του Πανεπιστημίου της Βαρσοβίας, με πρωτοβουλία της καθηγήτριας Malgorzata Borowska, διευθύντριας του Τμήματος Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας.
Την διάλεξη παρακολούθησαν οι φοιτητές του Β΄ έτους της Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας, στο πλαίσιο του μαθήματος «Κρητικά αριστουργήματα της περιόδου της Αναγέννησης».
Παρουσιάστηκαν, αρχικά, τα κυριότερα χαρακτηριστικά της βενετικής κυριαρχίας στη Σητεία (πόλη και ύπαιθρος), κυρίως κατά την ύστερη περίοδο της Βενετοκρατίας (16ος και 17ος αι.), και αναλύθηκαν ορισμένοι από τους θεσμούς που εισήγαγε η Βενετία στην πόλη (διοικητική οργάνωση, εκκλησιαστικοί θεσμοί, δικαιοσύνη). Έγινε αναφορά, μεταξύ άλλων, στην κοινωνική διαστρωμάτωση της πόλης και της υπαίθρου, τις κοινωνικές σχέσεις, τα χαρακτηριστικά της οικονομίας, τη μορφή της πόλης και τον τρόπο ζωής των κατοίκων. Ιδιαίτερη μνεία έγινε στον καταγόμενο από την Σητεία Βιτσέντζο Κορνάρο, ποιητή του Ερωτόκριτου, έργο το οποίο αποτελεί αντικείμενο σπουδών των φοιτητών του Β΄ έτους.
Οι φοιτητές ενημερώθηκαν για τον τρόπο αναζήτησης ανέκδοτου αρχειακού υλικού σε Αρχεία και Βιβλιοθήκες της Ιταλίας, όπως το Κρατικό Αρχείο της Βενετίας, το Αρχείο του Βατικανού και η Μαρκιανή Βιβλιοθήκη της Βενετίας. Επισημάνθηκαν τα κυριότερα χαρακτηριστικά των πηγών (επίσημες πηγές, συμβολαιογραφικό αρχείο), καθώς και μερικά συμπεράσματα από τη μελέτη του υλικού, τα οποία παρουσιάζονται στην υπό εκπόνηση διδακτορική διατριβή της ομιλήτριας.
Τέλος, παρουσιάστηκαν στους φοιτητές αντίγραφα ανέκδοτων χειρογράφων της εποχής, τα οποία αναγνώστηκαν, με παράλληλη εξήγηση βασικών κανόνων  παλαιογραφίας. 

Professor Borowska, Maria Mondelou and the students

Lecture “The Venetian Dominion in Sitia (Crete) – Research on the history of the town” (University of Warsaw, 23/2/2010) 

A lecture about “The Venetian  Dominion in Sitia (Crete) – Research on the history of the town” was hold by the Press Attachè of the Embassy of Greece in Warsaw, Maria Mondelou, on the 23rd February at the University of Warsaw.
It was the second lecture that took place, after the one on the 8th of December 2009, following an invitation by the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales” of the University of Warsaw and the director at the Department of Modern Greek Philology, Malgorzata Borowska.
The lecture was attended by the students of the 4th semester in Modern Greek Philology, that includes lessons on the subject “Cretan masterpieces of the Renaissance”.
Main aspects of the Venetian dominion in the territory of Sitia (town and villages), particularly during the late period of the Venetian dominion (16th and 17th centuries), as well as some of the institutions that Venice introduced in Sitia (administration, ecclesiastical institutions, justice etc.) were analysed. The social stratification in the town and the villages, the social relations, the characteristics of the economy, the form of the town and the way of life of the inhabitants were, also, described. A partiticular mention was made for Vitsentzos Kornaros, born in Sitia, famous for his poem “Erotokritos”, which is included in the studies of the Polish students.
The students were informed about the research of unpublished sources of archives, that was effected by the lecturer in Archives and Libraries in Italy, such as the National Archive of Venice, the Vatican Archives and the “Marciana”  Library of Venice. Main characteristics of the sources (official documents and notarial archives) were highlighted, as well as some of the results of the study, which are presented in the PhD of the lecturer.
Finally, copies of unedited documents of the 16th century were presented and read to the students.

Wykład na temat Sitii pod panowaniem weneckim, wygłoszony na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim (23/2/2010)

Wykład pod tytułem „Sitia, pod panowaniem weneckim – badanie archiwalne na temat historii miasta” został wygłoszony przez Marię Mondelou, Attaché Prasowego Ambasady Grecji w dniu 23 lutego na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim.
Był to już drugi wykład wygłoszony pod otrzymaniu zaproszenia przez Instytut Studiów Interdyscyplinarnych „Artes Liberales” z inicjatywy profesor dr hab. Małgorzaty Borowskiej, Kierownika Wydziału Filologii Nowogreckiej. 
Wykład został wysłuchany przez studentów II roku filologii nowogreckiej w ramach zajęć „Kreteńskie arcydzieła okresu Odroczenia”.

Immigration Policy:Interview of Giorgos Tsarbopoulos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) In an interview with a Greek daily (Ta Nea), Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, head of the Greek branch of United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) comments on the government’s decision to overhaul Greece’s migration policy.
Tsarbopoulos admits that the draft law on granting citizenship to immigrants is a positive initiative but needs to be supplemented.
He says that naturalisation should be the first step within a broader social integration policy. Similarly, asylum policy needs to be enhanced by a well organised hospitality and welfare safety net.
What is important about the new asylum policy is that it disassociates itself from the police and that a new independent body is created to address the issue.
UNHCR recognises that within the European Union, the Dublin II Regulation has placed a disproportionate burden on Greece and advises other EU countries not to send back asylum seekers when their reception is deemed precarious. 
Greek News Agenda: UN Refugees High Commissioner in Athens & A Joint Letter on Immigration; UNHCR: 2010 Regional Operations Profile – Greece

PM`s press conference for the first 100 days of the government

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The year 2010 was the time for Greece to make a new start and major changes, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Wednesday during a press conference held to mark the completion of 100 days since PASOK was sworn in as the new government.
“It is time to change everything, to turn the crisis into an opportunity.
We have already shown that we are capable of doing this, that we can be leaders and not laggards,” Papandreou said, emphasising that the government was determined not to fall into the inertia of its predecessors and had already made important changes at every ministry, while several deep reforms were now in the process of being introduced.
Among these he listed the effort to establish a new taxation system, overhauling the social insurance system, and initiating a debate on local administration reform and a new electoral law.Reviewing his government’s course during the first 100 days, he admitted that some mistakes have been made but stressed that the government is prepared to take corrective action when this proves necessary.
“We are determined to do the things for which we were elected by Greek men and women.
It is this that gives us the strength to not back down,” he underlined, and urged everyone to join the “democratic front” in order to democratically restructure the country.

Bridging the Mediterranean

bridgingm(GREEK NEW AGENDA)  The Union for the Mediterranean launched in 2008 has created lots of expectations for revitalising the cooperation of all business communities of the countries concerned. A new political will has been expressed at high level for the transformation of the Mediterranean basin to an area of sustainable development, economic integration and social cohesion.  Following the very successful “Med Business Days” organised by MEDEF in Marseille last year and the previous events in Valencia and Palermo, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises hosted the new edition of the major Euro-Mediterranean Business Forum: “Bridging the Mediterranean – Athens Business Forum”, which was being held in Athens (Divani Apollon Palace & Spa- Kavouri) from July 8th to 10th, 2009.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Speech of FM Dora Bakoyannis at the Euro-Mediterranean Business Forum  

International Symposium on Social-Democrasy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   “Social-democracy and the challenges of the future. Which will be the progressive model for Europe?” is the title of an international symposium that Greek newspaper To Vima and Spanish newspaper El Pais are jointly organising on May 12 at the Athens Concert Hall as part of the Megaron Plus series.  Socialist International and PASOK Party President George Papandreou will open the Athens Symposium and Segolene Royal –French presidential candidate in 2007- will deliver the keynote speech. Prominent figures in international social-democracy will participate in the event – among which former Prime Ministers of Spain, Italy and Greece Felipe Gonzalez, Massimo d’ Alema and Costas Simitis.  (Photo from prior visit- Greek News Agenda: Papandreou & Socialist MP Ségolène Royal)

Boosting Employment in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli Petralia on Thursday unveiled a package of measures, budgeted at €3.2 billion, aimed at supporting employment and dealing with the consequences of the economic crisis in the labour market. Presenting the plan, the minister said the money for the programme would be covered by both national and EU funds, and stressed that the package would cover more than 1.3 million workers and unemployed people, offering vocational training, supporting vulnerable social groups and subsidizing work.Secretariat General for Information: About Greece- Labour Market Flexibility/ Industrial Relations