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New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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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

Greek building Materials

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board, with the goal of reinforcing the efforts of Greek companies to expand their activities to foreign markets, implements an ambitious initiative, entitled “Greek Building Materials” and “Greek Building Services”. The initiative is incorporated into the framework of Greece’s broad exporting policy set by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and concerns the overall promotion of the sectors of construction, building materials, equipment and related services.

“History Lost” at the European Parliament

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The multimedia exhibition on the illicit antiquities trade and the impact of antiquities’ theft on culture, entitled “History Lost,” was held from February 9 – 13 at the European Parliament’s Yehudi Menuhin Hall in Brussels. “History Lost” was organized by the Foundation for Hellenic Culture with the support of the Chairwoman of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament, Katerina Batzeli.  The exhibition has already been presented in Nicosia, Athens, Trieste, Lisbon and Dublin.

International Conference on “Combating Forced Labour and Human Trafficking” in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Europe must adopt a public policy geared towards the relief of people hit by the global financial crisis, said President Karolos Papoulias on Friday, November 21, opening a three-day international conference on “Combating Forced Labour and Human Trafficking” in Athens organised by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) to mark the 90th anniversary since its founding. The president emphasised that slavery and slave-trade is one of darkest pages in human history, underlining the importance of safeguarding human rights. The event was jointly organised by the International Trade Union Confederation, and the Confederation of European Trade Unions. Also speaking at the conference, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said that according to international figures, a total of 12.3 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, while an increase of 20 million of unemployed has been forecasted. “Neither the free economy nor open societies are to be blamed for the situation,” she said, explaining that the problem stems from the lack of rules, regulatory framework and control mechanisms. The minister suggested stricter penalties for culprits, increased protection for victims and higher public awareness. Addressing the conference on Sunday, main opposition PASOK party leader and President of the Socialist International George Papandreou stressed that combating forced labour and human trafficking is first and foremost a political issue and warned that of the millions of people worldwide held under conditions of forced labour, 5.7 million are children. He also said that figures show that roughly 1.8 million children also fall victim to sexual exploitation. Athens News Agency: Papandreou at conference on combating trafficking

Green Energy Technologies in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Delivering a speech on “Climate change and green enterpreneurship”  at the 73rd Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation Theodoros Skylakakis referred to the multiple benefits emanating from the enhancement of “the 21st new big industry” called green energy technologies. Greece aspires to acquire competitive advantage in fields such as energy-saving know-how and materials or solar cooling and heating. Furthermore, thriving sectors of the Greek economy such as construction, steel production and consulting can provide ‘fertile ground’ for profitable investments on environment friendly projects. Setting the example, the Secretary General made particular reference to a synergy between Hellenic Aid and United States AID (USAID) on renewable energy investment-tracing programmes and energy saving in buildings for 9 countries from the Energy Community of Southeast Europe. Promotion of renewable energy sources: Center for Renewable Energy Sources; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship

Thessaloniki International Trade Fair

The 73nd Thessaloniki International Trade Fair will take place at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre, HELEXPO, on September 6-14. The event is the largest trade fair in Southeast Europe, featuring exhibitors from 32 countries.