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FM of Greece: “No Compliance a la Carte”

Bacoyannis(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis informed her counterparts during an EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) yesterday (July 27) on Turkey’s provocative policy of questioning Greek sovereign rights in recent weeks.  “This policy is unacceptable,” Bakoyannis said at a press-conference at the end of the meeting, noting that EU governments should have a clear picture of the situation in view of the EU Commission’s assessment report on  Turkey’s accession course, due to be publicised in December.  “Until now, Turkey has not respected her commitments,” Bakoyannis noted, underlying that EU accession negotiations were founded on principles that clearly define the obligation of respecting good neighbourly relations and the peaceful resolution of differences. “Compliance a la carte and selective implementation of what has been agreed upon cannot be accepted,” the minister said.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece – Turkey & Enlargement [Photo from previous statement]

Greek FM: Relations with Turkey

Dora-Bakoyannis(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  “Bullying does not wash with Europe,” Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said over the weekend commenting on the latest Turkish over-flights in the Aegean, ahead of an EU foreign ministers’ summit, hosted by the new Swedish presidency of the Union. ” say this as an old friend of the Turkish people and a long-standing supporter of Turkey’s European course. Turkey is obliged to adhere to what it has agreed to. It doesn’t have a good record in doing so, but in Europe there is no other way,” Bakoyannis underlined. She also said that she has accepted, in principle, an invitation by her Turkish counterpart to visit Ankara, adding that she would do so at a suitable moment in order for the visit to be beneficial and effective.

Immigration: Greece Cannot Be Left Alone

PierreLelouche-Valinakis(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The French Minister of State, responsible for European affairs, Pierre Lellouche was welcomed yesterday by deputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis in Athens.   The two ministers had the opportunity to discuss a number of issues of European interest ranging from the Lisbon Treaty and immigration to Balkans and Turkey’s candidacy for the EU.   Referring to immigration in particular, Lellouche acknowledged that his visit to Greece helped him realise the true extent of the problem which Greece is facing and stressed that in view of the 150,000 illegal migrants that have entered the country, Greece cannot be left alone to deal with the problem, whether that help consist in prodding Turkey to cooperate or coming up with a coastal protection scheme.  Greek News Agenda: Diplomacy on Migration- Barrot visits Migrant Centres

Greek FM Tours Caucasus

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister and Chairperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Dora Bakoyannis began a tour of the Caucasus yesterday, specifically in Azerbaijan and Armenia. In statements after a number of meetings in Azerbaijan, the first stop of her tour, Bakoyannis said that her visit was aimed at “strengthening bilateral relations and contributing to a settlement of the long-lasting problem Nagorno-Karabakh problem, by intensifying efforts made for many years by OSCE.”  Bakoyannis said that they focused on energy cooperation and pipelines. “Our goal is to bring Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe via the Turkey- Greece– Italy (TGI) pipeline,” the foreign minister stressed. Referring to the currently “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that has a direct impact on stability in southern Caucasus, Bakoyannis stressed that the Greek OSCE chairmanship is intensifying efforts that are underway for years for the solution of the thorny issue.Today the minister is in Armenia. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis following her meeting with her Azeri counterpart Mammadyarov (Baku, 2.7.09) & Statements following her meeting with her Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian (Yerevan, 3.7.2009); Bilateral Relations Greece-Azerbaijan& Greece-Armenia; Greek News Agenda: FM on Nagorno-Karabakh

Greek President Papoulias Meets Romanian Counterpart

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias met on Wednesday with his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu, who is on a state visit to Greece. The two leaders discussed matters of bilateral well as of particular Balkan interest, confirming there is common ground regarding the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, provided that “good neighbour” policies are enshrined in the actions of the aspiring members.  The Romanian president made clear that this principle applies to all countries wishing to join the EU, including FYROM and Turkey. Regarding the latter and its relations to Cyprus, Basescu was pronounced in favour of EU’s “code of conduct,” stressing that is thus unacceptable that Turkey continues to occupy a section of an EU member country and that Nicosia continues to be a divided European capital.

Theological School of Halki

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Turkish Dailies Hürriyet (April 18) and Today’s Zaman (April 27) report on the Theological School of Halki (Istanbul, Turkey), Ecumenical Patriarchate’s theology and primary seminary, closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971.  Since 1971, there have been attempts to reopen the Halki Theological Seminary. The debate over the potential opening up of the Seminary is, while not these days at the top of the public agenda, a topic which will clearly come up often in the near future.   In fact, it most recently came up during the visit to Turkey by US President Barack Obama (April 7).

Greek FM’s Call to Turkey

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Diplomats discussed the state of Greek-Turkish relations after Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis telephoned her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan on Thursday (April 30) to complain about an increase in transgressions of Greek air space in the Aegean. After a sharp rise in violations by Turkish fighter jets, Bakoyannis called Babacan and expressed Greek concerns. It is believed that Ankara’s belligerence is a reaction to Greece signing a bilateral treaty with Albania for the delineation of the continental shelf in the Ionian Sea. Kathimerini daily: FM calls Turks over violations Greek News Agenda: Greece- Albania Sign Pact; United Nations: Law on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf

Greek PM Meets US Lawmakers

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met on Wednesday (18.2) with US Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias who were in Athens as part of their tour to Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. Karamanlis welcomed the two US lawmakers, the first official US delegation to visit Greece following the inauguration of new US President Barack Obama, stressing that the US president’s commitment to closely cooperate with friends and allies on all major issues of mutual interest and concern is warmly welcomed. On their part, Senator Durbin and Illinois State Treasurer Giannoulias underlined the emphasis the Obama administration places on the US ties with Greece and Cyprus. The US lawmakers also met yesterday with Greek Parliament Speaker, Dimitris Sioufas, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and main opposition PASOK and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou.

Cooperation Greece – Azerbaijan in Energy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The issue of cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan in the energy sector was the focus of discussions held on Tuesday February 17, between Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and visiting Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.  The aim of the Greek government was to expand the field of cooperation between the two countries, Karamanlis said. “Our country is the first European Union country to import natural gas from Azerbaijan,” the premier noted, pointing to the Interconnector Turkey – Greece – Italy pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe via Turkey and Greece.  Greece has succeeded in becoming an energy hub for south-eastern Europe, a development that promotes the country’s interests and bilateral relations as well as the European strategy, Karamanlis said.  Later on Tuesday, at an event organised at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Karamanlis announced that “Greece is ready to sign agreements for natural gas supplies directly from Azerbaijan,” but also open to long-term cooperation and increased transactions between the two countries in other sectors besides energy.  ERT Online: Energy Cooperation; Greek News Agenda: Greece Turkey Interconnector; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Energy Policy of Greece

Greek – Azeri Energy Plans

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, arrived in Greece yesterday – the first Azeri president to officially visit the country – with a delegation of officials from the Azeri state gas company. Aliyev expressed confidence that this trip would inaugurate a new era in bilateral relations, and emphasised the issue of energy security, noting that Azerbaijan had done much to give the rest of the world access to its considerable energy resources. President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias received his counterpart on Monday and held talks on ways to further develop bilateral relations between the two nations. Aliyev also met with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and talks focused on the supply to Greece of 1 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year from Azerbaijan, as well as the signing of a four-party state agreement on the Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline. Greek and Azeri officials also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on renewable energy sources. Greek News Agenda: Greece Turkey Interconnector; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Energy Policy of Greece ; Centre for Renewable Energy Sources;

Greece: Democracy & Human Rights

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  With the opportunity of the publication of its second round of reports, JURISTRAS research project has launched its own webpage at: www.juristras.eliamep.gr. JURISTRAS, a Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy project, comparatively explores processes of human rights litigation in the European Court of Human Rights judgments, and its effects in national legislative reform and policy making in a number of EU member states and Associate Candidate States. Nine countries are selected as case studies: eight EU Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, and the UK) and one EU candidate country (Turkey). Gateway of the European Union: europa.eu 

Greek Life Insurance Policy Programme from “New York Life Insurance Company”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The New York Life Insurance Company began selling life insurance policies in the Ottoman Empire in 1882. In connection with turmoil caused by the outbreak of World War I, however, New York Life stopped selling policies in Europe and in the Ottoman Empire after 1914. Various reference works and other sources indicate that many persons of Greek ancestry living in the Ottoman Empire at the outbreak of World War I were displaced or perished between 1915 and 1923. The company searched its records to locate all policies issued in the Ottoman Empire before 1915 insuring those of Greek heritage. New York Life paid benefits on many of those policies. However, it received no claims and thus paid no benefits or cash value on some of those policies, referred to as the “Greek Policies.”
In order to encourage claims upon the Greek Policies, New York Life has established the Greek Life Insurance Policy Programme. Descendants of persons insured under the Greek Policies may submit claims for benefits at: www.greekinsuranceclaims.com/en/board.php3
In order to be considered, the claim form and copies of all supporting documents must be mailed or e-mailed to the Claim Board by February 28, 2009.

Greece supports Cyprus

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Meeting her Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou in Athens on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis relayed Greece’s support for Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias’ efforts to solve the Cyprus issue. The meeting was held just two days before the round of a new phase of negotiations between Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Bakoyannis particularly emphasised Cyprus’ capacity as a member of the EU and the European dimension the solution must have, stressing that this should ensure the safety and prosperity of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots without including “vague interventionist rights.”  Athens News Agency: Support for Christofias in Athens; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Cyprus – The Parameters of the Problem and the Solution; Statements of FM DoraBakoyannis and her Cypriot counterpart, Markos Kyprianou, following their meeting

Η Ελληνική Συμμετοχή στο Πείραμα του CERN / Greek Scientists at the “Big Bang” Test

(ATHENS NEWS AGENCY)  Με την ουσιαστική συμβολή του Α.Π.Θ. σε ένα από τα μεγαλύτερα και σημαντικότερα επιστημονικά εγχειρήματα του αιώνα μας, ξεκινάει σήμερα η ‘ζωή’ του Μεγάλου Συγκρουστήρα Αδρονίων στο Διεθνές Εργαστήριο Πυρηνικών Ερευνών CERN, στη Γενεύη. Το Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης, μέσω της ερευνητικής ομάδας του Τομέα Πυρηνικής Φυσικής και Φυσικής Στοιχειωδών Σωματιδίων, συμμετέχει από το 1995, στο μεγαλύτερο σε όγκο πείραμα ATLAS.  (ΣΤΟ ΧΑΡΤΗ: Γαλαζια τα ιδρυτικά μέλη, πράσινα τα νέα μέλη) Continue reading

Mediterranean Documentary Film Festival in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The 11th Mediterranean Documentary Festival will be hosted from September 6 to 9 at the Lavrion Technological Cultural Park. The festival is organized by the Association of Greek Film Directors and Producers. This year, the festival screens 26 movies from Greece, Italy, France, Israel, Egypt, Spain, Turkey, Portugal and Palestine. In addition to the traditional sections of work, immigration, political documentary film, people and places, there will also be an eco section, thus inaugurating a collaboration with the eco festival EcoFilms. The festivall kicks off with “Cairo” (1991) in memory of the late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine. The festival will also screen “The band’s visit” by Eran Kolirin, a joint production by Egypt and Israel followed by a discussion moderated by Kolirin on behalf of the Greek Film Critics Association. This year’s parallel events include a concert by Thanos Mikroutsikos and an exhibition featuring film posters. The Mediterranean Documentary Festival is not based on competition and therefore includes movies which are selected on the basis of the mark they have left in their time.

Greece: Responding to the Caucasus Crisis

(GREEK  NEWS AGENDA)           From the first moment, the crisis in Caucasus has been of great concern to Greece. A precautionary activation of the Crisis Management Unit was deemed necessary in order to tackle the problems which have arisen from the clashes in South Ossetia and make provision for the citizens of Greek origin residing in the area. Within this framework, Greece dispatched a humanitarian aid shipment to Georgia and contributed to the cause of relieving the turbulent area with 100,000€ through the UNHCR. The OSCE, which has also addressed the matter, decided to send 20 international observers and Greece, -in viewof holding 2009’s chairmanship– is ready to assume full responsibility arising in the light of the current developments.  During the extraordinary meeting of the 26 NATO members which took place on August 19 in Brussels, Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated that “the NATO-Russia dialogue is very important” and that “Greece-along with many other countries-has been in favour of the continuation of this dialogue at all levels”.  South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s recent succession movement from Georgia has prompted an expedient reaction of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bakoyannis clarified that within both the NATO Council and the Council of the European Union, Greece’s foreign policy abides to the principles of territorial integrity and added that Greece endorses the French presidency’s statement condemning the movement.  Today, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will participate in the European Union’s special summit on the Caucasus crisis. Moscow’s relations with the international community are expected to top the summit’s agenda. Before leaving for Brussels, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece’s interest for “a common European position regarding the framework of EU-Russia relations”, “given that Moscow is an ‘important partner’ for Europe”.

Greek Think Tanks

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Particular concerns of Greek think tanks include European issues and policies, as well as relations with Turkey, the Balkans and the East Mediterranean. The main Greek political parties have established research institutes, and there are some advocacy think tanks propagating free market, social democracy, and civil society development although most of the Greek think tanks are academic-style policy research institutes with nonpartisan orientation. Most of the Greek Think Tanks can be accessed through the web. A comprehensive list of their websites is offered at Secretariat General of Information “Greece – Links Library”: Greece – Links Library – Major Think Tanks
                                                             Recent Reports         
Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy: Conceptualizing a Differentiated Europe; Institute of International Relations: Middle East Bulletin -“60 years of Israel”; International Centre for Black Sea Studies Policy Brief: The European Union and the Black Sea Region: The New Eastern Frontiers and Europeanisation; Re-public, Re-imagining Democracy: Towards a critique of the social web; The Fletcher School: Karamanlis Chair Working Papers in Hellenic and European Studies; London School of Economics – Hellenic Observatory: GreeSE (Greece and Southeast Europe) Papers

Books about Greece: “Sea of Many Returns” & more

Ithaka and Odysseus’ journeys have inspired many writers. Arnold Zable’s new novel, “Sea of Many Returns,” charts more recent comings and goings from Ithaca, explores the sense of physical and emotional journeying, and continues the renowned author’s fascination with the migrant experience.  Xanthe is compelled to return to the birthplace of her father, Manoli, and her maternal grandfather, Mentor, prompted by family and literary associations. Xanthe is translating Mentor’s manuscript, an account of leaving Ithaca and his subsequent life in Australia. The book takes the reader to modern-day Ithaca, to its mountains, its villages and its harbours, and into the houses of its people.  Secretariat General of Information: Books – Living in Greece   Continue reading

Symi Festival

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Symi Festival one of the well – known festivities in Greece will take place on Symi island from July 26 to     September 6. Following a 13-year tradition, the festival has become a focal point for culture and creativity. Classical and modern music concerts, dance, theatre, cinema, literature evenings and conferences along with several additional happenings have turned the festival into a major popular summer event that attracts many famous artists and visitors.  This year, the festival’s programme includes, inter alia, an interesting two-day event dedicated to peace, organized by the municipality of Symi and the Municipality of Datca (Turkey) on September 1 -2.

Greece: The Balkan Grid Connection

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece’s electric grid links with those for neighbouring countries are proving be a critical element in preventing power cuts and in the development of an integrated power market in Southeast Europe. In fact, the security of the country’s power supplies and the development of its market in the future will greatly depend on boosting the system’s capacity to be replenished by other grids. The grid management agency, Hellenic Transmission System Operator (DESMIE) is promoting a number of projects to this end, including a link with Turkey, a second connection with Bulgaria, upgrading the link with Italy and new links with other neighbouring grids.  The development of Balkan links north of Greece’s border – the section including Albania, FYROM, southern Serbia and Bulgaria – will be decisive for Greece’s power imports.  Kathimerini daily (Athens Plus, p.10): Greece hopes for stronger Balkan grid connections