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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)

“You in Greece” campaign – Facts about Greece

  Facts about Greece

· Greece is a safe country

Supportive data: According to Legatum Prosperity Index, Greece faces comparatively few security challenges. Domestic security is favorable. Moreover, according to Eurostat, Greece is a country with a relatively low rate of criminality. The feeling of security is well established in society.
· Greece is an attractive destination.
This comes not only due to its physical beauty but mostly due to the “value for money” relationship in the provided services.
Supportive data: According to a poll, conducted in a population of 1200 people,52% of the sample believes that the quality of travel services offered in Greece are of very good standard and 42% believes that the travel services offered in Greece rival those offered in other touristdeveloped tourist markets.

· Greece is a western democracy and the majority of Greek society supports government policy.
Supportive data: A recent research conducted by Kapa Focus research company on behalf of the weekly Newspaper ‘To Vima’, shows that 55,2% of Greeks support the austerity measures imposed by the Greek Government.
·  Demonstrations are strictly local and limited events/occurrences. They take place mostly in the center of Athens, in a specific and controlled area. The mainland regions and the islands of the Greek Archipelago, where the vast majority of tourists go, are not affected at all.
Supportive data: According to Eurostat, Greece is a favourite destination. Especially, in South Aegean and Ionian Islands, it appears that 48.168 stays and 33.304 per 1000 citizens took place, a proof of satisfaction for the Greek touristic product.
· Greece is a tourist country and Greeks know the importance of hospitality.
Supportive data: Zeus, the King of the Greek Gods, according to the Greek Mythology, named as Xenios (the one who offers hospitality) Zeus.
·  The overall number of demonstrations in Greece is lower than the E.U average.
Supportive data:All demonstrations occurred in Athens, in specific and isolated areas. In their vast majority they were peaceful.

· The picture that global media paint is, to say the least, in many cases exaggerating. In many occasions, library images were re-broadcasted as live feeds.
Supportive data: Greece is a pluralist, democratic western European country. Media freedom is protected and encouraged. During the last two weeks Greece hosted more than 300 foreign journalists.
(Greek National Tourism Organisation)

PM George Papandreou at Economist Conference

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Addressing an Economist Conference on the 28th April in Athens, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed that “we should not let a small spark become a threat for the eurozone.”
[…] “The markets do not always function rationally and tend to evaluate the situation according to the worst possible scenario and not the most probable,” added Papandreou, underlining the government’s political will to proceed with deep and structural changes.
Focusing on foreign policy, Papandreou reiterated his proposal on the accession of the Western Balkans to the European Union by 2014.
Greek News Agenda: Economist Gov’t Roundtable

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)

Prime Minister`s Belgrade Visit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou paid a short visit to Belgrade on January 4 to address the Annual Conference of the Ambassadors of Serbia. During his visit, the premier met with Serbia’s President and Prime Minister, Boris Tadic and Mirko Cvetkovic.

Speaking after his meeting with the Serb President, Papandreou said that bilateral relations are excellent and noted that his presence in Belgrade signals the beginning of an effort to enable the western Balkans to join the European Union in 2014.
“Greece is in the front line of the initiative that constitutes a basic aim for peace, cooperation, and stability in the region,” Papandreou said. 
Addressing the 3rd Congress of Serbia’s ambassadors, Papandreou said that 2014 is a crucial year for the EU accession of the Western Balkan states, stressing that this region has to make big steps forward and leave behind the wars and conflicts of the past.
The premier also referred to “global governance that is in the making,” stressing, among other things, that “national states are gradually becoming incapable of handling global problems by themselves, such as climatic change, immigration and organised crime,” and called for global cooperation and regional alliances. 
See also: Athens News Agency: PM reiterates support for Serbia’s EU course

The OSCE on a new path

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political Declaration Adopted

Foreign ministers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) 56 participating states charted the way ahead for the OSCE-anchored debate on the future of European security known as the Corfu Process in a decision and a Ministerial Declaration adopted yesterday after a two-day Ministerial Council held in Athens (December 1-2).
“The Corfu Process will be taken forward by our Permanent Representatives to the OSCE in Vienna, in accordance with the decision we are adopting today.
We remain committed to provide strong political impetus to the Corfu Process, and we are looking forward to reassessing its progress in 2010, in the format and level that we will deem appropriate, taking into consideration the results we achieve,” it is stated in the Declaration, which is the first to be adopted since 2002.
Athens Ministerial Council (dedicated webpage)

» Turning a New Page

Commenting on the Ministerial Council at a press conference, held at the end of the meeting, Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office George Papandreou referred to a new page in the Organisation’s history.
“We have committed ourselves in a joint document on how to face common challenges,” he said noting that, Kazakhstan’s task -which is assuming the Presidency of the OSCE for the next year-, is difficult.
But as the Greek premier stressed, “we proved today that if we want we can. The process can revive political dialogue and the tangible result was consensus.”

ON THE SIDELINES

» Meeting with Russian FM

The strategic nature of Greek-Russian relations and their excellent level was reaffirmed during a meeting in Athens on Wednesday between Prime Minister George Papandreou and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held on the sidelines of the OSCE Council in Athens.Papandreou accepted a formal invitation to visit Moscow in early 2010.

Papandreou and Lavrov discussed bilateral relations in all sectors, ranging from energy to culture and from regional cooperation to relations with the EU and NATO, and signed a 2010-2012 joint action plan to be renewed every two years.

» Meeting with Turkish FM

Prime Minister George Papandreou also met with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, with both sides citing closer cooperation in all levels.
The potential for the adoption of practical measures to boost cooperation of the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey in 2010 was also discussed at the meeting. Davutoglu spoke positively of Greece’s target for the EU integration of the western Balkans in 2014, and he confirmed Turkey’s intent for closer bilateral cooperation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece- Turkey

Informal Dinner in Madrid / Western Balkans

Droutsas

Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Ahead of Spain’s assumption of the EU presidency, Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas attended an informal dinner of EU foreign ministers, hosted by their Spanish counterpart in Madrid. This was an initial meeting to discuss the priorities of the Spanish Presidency, during which Droutsas had the opportunity to set forth Greece’s proposal for the inclusion in the EU of the Western Balkans, with the target-date of 2014.

Greece: Commemorating the Fall of the Berlin Wall

» Tear Down the Last Wall!

Two decades have elapsed since November 9, 1989, when the border separating Western from Eastern Germany was effectively opened.

Prime Minister George Papandreou attended the events, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, held yesterday in Berlin. The premier called for the last wall still dividing a European city, Nicosia, to be brought down and stressed that “as Greeks and Europeans, we can shout: Tear down the last wall, the one that divides Cyprus into two.” In Berlin, Papandreou held also a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during which they discussed issues of mutual interest. Kathimerini daily: PM sets sights on Cyprus wall

» “Breaking Down Walls, Building Bridges”

In Greece, the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall was commemorated in a special event, titled “Breaking down walls, building bridges” on November 8 at the City of AthensTechnopolis.

The President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and the German Ambassador in Greece Wolfgang Schultheissaddressed the event, stressing the great importance of the fall of the Berlin wall, which has become the “symbol of freedom for all humanity.” The event organised under the auspices of the German Embassy in Athens. Droutsas also addressed the OSCE event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Vienna on November 6.

» Conference: The Image of Germany

Τhe Association of Greek Press Attachés and the German Embassy in Athens are holding, on November 12, a conference titled “The public image of Germany,” at the Amphitheatre of theTheocharakis Foundation.

The event is being held on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany, the 20th anniversary since the fall of the Wall and 10th anniversary since the transfer of the country’s capital from Bonn to Berlin.
Experts from Germany and Greece will discuss how the image of Germany has changed over the years, from the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany, until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the restoration of the unity of the country [Programme, in Greek]. Government Spokesman George Petalotis will address the event. International Communication Policy Forum: “The Public Image of Germany

Greece: The Culture Agenda

» VISUAL ARTS

                                     Tribute to Ianis Xenakis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in association with the Center for Music Composition & Performance (CMCP) is organizing a second series of events in tribute to the composer Ianis Xenakis.
The events are taking place from September 15 to October 11.

“Itinerary to Mount Athos, 1928-1930” Boissonnas_sofia_1

The exhibition “Itinerary to Mount Athos, 1928-1930” features a selection from the 400 photographs taken by Swiss photographer Frédéric Boissonnas during his travels to Mount Athos in 1928 and 1930.
The exhibition is organised by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, in Sofia and runs from September 16 through October 25.

» MUSIC

                                     Jose Carreras returns to Athens

Legendary tenor Jose Carreras returns to Greece after four years since his last appearance for a concert with the ERT National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of David Gimenez, on 19 September at the Herod Atticus Odeon (Herodion) in Athens.

Amadou & Mariam in Athens

Amadou & Mariam, the two musicians who manage to overcome all obstacles to become international stars and ambassadors of Mali’s musical tradition throughout the world, will be appearing live in Athens 18 September at the Papagou Garden Theatre.

The Spaghetti Western Orchestra @ Badminton Theatre

Armed with over 100 instruments the Spaghetti Western Orchestra is performing in Athens the stunning music Ennio Morricone wrote for movies such as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “For a Few Dollars More” and “Once Upon a Time in the West.” At the Badminton Theatre from September 16 to 25.

Alternative Tourism in Greece

horseback1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Trekking, swimming in the waters of gorges, exploring caves, rafting and horseback riding is just a small taste of the activities offered to tourists who do not like crowded vacation destinations and choose alternative tourism.  Away from the seaside, Western Macedonia, in north-western Greece counts many facilities for an adventurous vacation.  The region comprises the prefectures of Kozani, Grevena, Kastoria and Florina. Of Greece’s thirteen regions, Western Macedonia is landlocked; however, visitors may simply enjoy the serene beauty of its large lakes and impetuous rivers.  Western Macedonia: www.westernmacedonia.gr; Macedonian Heritage: Travelling in Macedonia; Athens News Agency: Western Macedonia- ‘The Alps’ of Greece

Greek Presidency in the Western European Union

WEU(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece will assume the Presidency of the Western European Union (WEU) for the second semester of 2009, and the Foreign Ministry presented the main priorities of the Presidency on June 3, regarding budget, institutions and the future of the WEU. Speaking in WEU Parliamentary Assembly, Secretary General for European Affairs of the foreign ministry Dimitris Katsoudas mentioned the major challenges that Europe faces this period in many sectors, and stressed the leading role of Greece in combating piracy and supporting the European perspective of Western Balkan counties. The Western European Union was established on the basis of the Treaty of Brussels in 1948.

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.

Culture and Customs of Greece in a Book

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Artemis Leontis, Culture and Customs of Greece, Greenwood Press April, 2009. The Parthenon, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, and Homer’s epic poems. All of these images bring to mind traditional pictures of Greece, the cradle of Western Civilisation. But what do we know of modern Greece? The answer to that question and more can be found in this comprehensive look at contemporary Greek culture. This reference source is packed with illustrative descriptions of daily life in Greece in the 21st century. Ideal for high school students and even undergraduates interested in studying abroad, this extensive volume examines topics such as social customs, language, performing arts, modern art and architecture, among many other topics. Woven into the text are beautiful and accurate vignettes of Greek life, helping to illustrate how people live. “Culture and Customs of Greece” is a must-have volume for all high school and public library shelves. Artemis Leontis is Associate Professor of Modern Greek and Coordinator of the Modern Greek Program, at the University of Michigan, USA.

Greece: Nikopolis: The City of Victory

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Nikopolis (Greek for “city of victory”) is an ancient city in western Greece. It was founded by the Roman Emperor Augustus to commemorate his naval victory in Actium against Mark Antony and the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra in 31 BC. Its strategic location at the edge of a gulf in the Ionian Sea made it an ideal place for the Romans to impose their dominance in the region. Nikopolis quickly became a commercial, port city, as well as an important religious capital, favoured by the emperor who had granted the city freedom and privileges. Augustus also established the “Actian” athletic games, and honoured the God of light, Apollo. The 8th century marks the beginning of the city’s decline. First it was looted by Arabs and Bulgarians and was finally destroyed in the late 11th century. It was only in the beginning of the 20th century that the city saw the sun’s light again when it was revealed through archaeological excavations. Among the sites excavated we find walls dating back to the Roman era, a theatre and an Odeon, baths, an aqueduct and a Roman house, all restored. Visitors can also admire a variety of findings in the local museum of Nikopolis.

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis at Olive Group

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     yannis-valinakisDeputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis on Tuesday underlined the need for more effective EU policies in the Mediterranean region, pointing out that it was equally important to bring a Mediterranean dimension into European integration. Attending the 6th Informal Meeting of the EU Mediterranean countries “Olive Group” that took place in Taormina, Sicily (15-16.12), the minister stated that the meeting focused on migration issues in the western Balkans and EU enlargement. He underlined there should be a “Mediterranean neighbourhood” to face the problems together and join forces to create opportunities that “will protect us during a crisis and at the same time produce long-term benefits.” The Olive group consists of Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Slovenia. Greek News Agenda: The Olive Group; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus: 5th Informal Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Mediterranean EU Member-States, Concluding Remarks 

Athens / Photo Exhibition: The Modern Arab World

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Modern Arab World” photographers exhibition at the Benaki Museum, Athens, records the rise and catalytic effect of ever increasing information media in the Islamic world, the Western influence on the lifestyle of the local communities, as well as everyday life experiences in the Middle East. The exhibition, designed the Beetroot Design Group,  is taking place within the framework of anniversary events to celebrate twenty years of operation for Apeiron Photos.  The Benaki Museum collection of Islamic art, includes examples of all Islamic art local variations from as far as India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily and Spain, and ranks among the most important in the world.

Greece Wins Euro U-18

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Greek Under-18 basketball team won the European Championship on August 3, after beating Lithuania 57 – 50 in the final. The Greek team landed the trophy after scoring eight wins in eight games in Pyrgos and Amaliada, western Peloponese. This is the first time Greece wins this cup. U18 European Championship Men 2008: Making History: Greece First Time Champions; Kathmerini daily: Greece takes Euro U-18

Greece: Ancient Meets Contemporary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Work on excavating ancient Pellina in Thessaly has begun and is continuing at a rapid pace, local authorities said on July 28, in a project that ultimately aims to create an archaeological park with various educational, recreational and sports facilities around the ancient site. The immediate goal is to clean and display the ancient wall, and to calculate its course. Ancient Pellina or Pellinaion was situated on the left bank of the Peneus River in western Thessaly, between Trikki and Farkadona. The first ancient reference to the city that survives was in Pindar, who cited it as the home of the athlete Ippocles, who won a race in the Pythia Games held in 498 B.C. Ancient accounts and architectural remains yield information about the city mostly during and after the 4th century B.C. Athens News Agency: Ancient Pellina archaeological park; Region of Thessalia: www.thessalia-region.com  (Photo: Peneus River )

Greece – Italy: Making Connections

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The public gas corporation DEPA has signed an agreement with Italy’s Edison for the construction of a €500 million underwater pipeline linking the two countries in one of Greece’s largest energy projects. The company that is to design, build and develop the 203 km pipeline will be called IGI Poseidon with equal stakes by the two companies. Setting up IGI Poseidon opens the door to supplying the large Western European markets with natural gas from the Caspian region. Kathimerini daily: Gas pipeline deal signed with Edison; Greek News Agenda: Greece – An Energy Hub; Invest in Greece: Energy Sector Powers Ahead; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- Energy Policy of Greece