Greek Tourism – Oswiadczenie Greckiej Minister Kultury i Turystyki Tatiany Karapanagioti – Statement by Minister of Culture and Tourism Tatiana Karapanagioti (Athens, 22/5/2012)

Niedawno mianowana Grecka Minister Kultury i Turystyki, Tatiana Karapanagioti, wydała to oświadczenie w następstwie odprawy Premiera Panagiotisa Pikrammenosa, tymczasowego przewodniczącego rządu.
„Grecja jest tutaj tak jak zawsze była i tak jak zawsze będzie, oferując turystom unikalne przeżycia podróżnicze. Nasz kraj jest piękny, a dziedzictwo kulturowe bogate jak wcześniej.
Nic się nie zmieniło, przynajmniej w legendarnej greckiej gościnności, która przyjęła miliony odwiedzających przez lata, włączając rekordową ilość16,5 miliona w 2011 roku.
Odbyłam rozległe dyskusje z przewodnimi stowarzyszeniami branży turystycznej. Każdy wyraził silne zaangażowanie by zapewnić, że wakacyjne doznania w Grecji są tak bogate i satysfakcjonujące jak zawsze były.
Grecja jest tak ponadczasowa jak i serdeczne powitanie greków. W ten sposób zawsze było – i 2012 rok nie będzie wyjątkiem.”
Greece is offering tourists a unique travel experience, with its beautiful land and rich cultural heritage, said interim Culture and Tourism minister Tatiana Karapanagioti, following a meeting with Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, on May 22. After noting the legendary Greek hospitality, which has embraced millions of visitors over the years, the minister assured that everyone in the tourism industry has expressed a strong commitment to ensuring that the Greek holiday experience is as rich and rewarding as it has always been.

Prime Minister Pikrammenos also met with Dr. Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) and discussed the effects of Greece’s economic crisis on tourism. The SETE president assured the PM that the quality of holidays in Greece is not affected by the economic upheaval in any way, highlighting that the country remains one of the most desired destinations worldwide and this summer will be “business as usual.”
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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)

Holocaust Memorial Day

The opening of the exhibition The Memorial: 16 Artists Propose, featuring projects that were submitted last year by 16 artists, as part of an international competition for the construction of a Holocaust Memorial of Greek Jews, took place at the Jewish Museum of Greece.
The competition was conducted by the Jewish Community of Athens and resulted in the selection of the work of artist DeAnna Maganias which was unveiled at a special event in May 2010. The museum is also organising a week-long programme of educational activities and memorial events, lasting until February 4.
The exhibition –which will remain open until August 2011- is part of events that have been planned for the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, co-organized by the Attica region and the Jewish community of Athens for January 26 and 27. A memorial service was held on the 27th of January, at the Athens Synagogue in Thisseio, to be followed by a speech by University of Athens History Professor, Hagen Fleischer.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Droutsas issued a statement on the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day, in which he referred to Greece’s continuing efforts to preseve historical memory and educate younger generations. He further added that preparations are underway for a permanent Greek exhibition at the Auschwitz Museum.  
(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)

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)

Gaza Crisis

The Foreign Ministry has issued a statement this morning, saying that it has activated its Crisis Management Unit upon learning that Israeli armed forces had blocked the course of and seized vessels transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Citizens with family or friends participating in the mission “ Ship to Gaza” can call the contact number +30 210 368 1730. 
It is Greece’s longstanding position that any activities undertaken by non-governmental organizations must go unhindered, provided that they are legal, is mentioned in the statement.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Crisis Management Unit activated regarding the humanitarian aid transport operation in Gaza & Greek News Agenda: Greece sends aid shipment to Gaza in 2009
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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)