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Newsletter February 2010


EU Heads of State Pledge

At a meeting on February 11 in Brussels, convened by President Van Rompuy (photo), EU heads of state issued a statement stressing both responsibility by the Greek Government and EU solidarity.
The Greek government is determined to improve the country's public finances and aims to reduce the budgetary deficit by 4% in 2010. It has not requested any financial support.
At an earlier date, President Van Rompuy expressed confidence in Greece's efforts to address its debt crisis, which he said is a matter of common interest for the entire bloc.

"I am confident that the Greek government is already taking the further necessary steps to address the situation," Van Rompuy said following a working luncheon with Prime Minister George Papandreou January 12 in Athens, his first visit to an EU member-state.

"Resolute fiscal consolidation should start without delay in 2010 and the deficit should be brought below 3% by the end of 2012. This commitment needs to be supported by concrete and credible measures," the European Council President noted. On his part, the premier stressed that the situation of Greece's economy is the result of long-standing problems but the biggest one now is the loss of credibility, which he pledged to restore.

"We look forward to close cooperation both with the European Council president and the European Commission," Mr. Papandreou said.

February, 2010
Sources: Greek News Agenda, Secretariat General of Communication and Information

Make Your Movie in Greece

The website of the Hellenic Film Commission Office offers useful information on locations and services for filming in Greece. New policies and incentives are designed to make Greece a sought-after movie set for inspired film makers.

Greece combines breathtaking landscapes, nature’s wonders, a variety of world-known archaeological sites and cultural venues, together with friendly people with a strong sense of hospitality, accustomed to providing tourism related services.

All these features make Greece a valuable asset for any production. Some of the most popular locations are the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and of course Athens.

Visit Greece:; Greek Film Centre:
CL Productions:, Film Greece:, Make a movie in Greece:  
January 14, 2010
Source: Greek News Agenda, Secretariat General of Communication and Information

Hellenic Petroleum on Exploration

The Hellenic Petroleum group plans to strengthen its oil exploration portfolio in Egypt, Libya and Montenegro, the group’s chairman Tassos Yiannitsis said.

Speaking on research, development and production of oil and natural gas at the national and corporate levels, Mr. Yiannitsis said the aim was to take advantage of opportunities beyond the country’s borders, weighing the group’s powers, competitive skills, risks and benefits.
Hellenic Petroleum Chief Executive John Costopoulos underlined the need to set up a state agency to manage oil exploration and production rights as well as to attract investment capital by international oil companies.

Development Deputy Minister Ioannis Maniatis announced plans in late January, 2010 to set up a state agency managing oil exploration and production rights.

January 26, 2010
Source: ANA-MPA

Promoting Greece in the Gulf

Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis travelled to Gulf countries (United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar), promoting Greece’s relations with the countries in the region and paving the way for new sectors of cooperation, with an emphasis on green growth.

While in UAE, Mr. Kouvelis signed two economic cooperation agreements as well as a bilateral agreement on the avoidance of double taxation in trade relations between the two countries, and a Cooperation Protocol in the field of air transport.

During his visit to Kuwait, the Minister signed three cooperation agreements and discussed Kuwait’s investment prospects, including joint ventures for the establishment of tourist units in Greece.

January 26, 2010
Source: ANA-MPA

Greece at Vienna Tourism Fair

Greece participated in the Vienna International Tourism Fair with a stall of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and numerous regional tourism organizations. The fair, which attracts roughly 150,000 visitors, opened on January 14 and ran until January 18, with the participation of hundreds of exhibitors from roughly 60 countries.

The Greek pavilion hosted a number of events including meetings with reporters and tour operators, Greek music concerts, wine tasting and Greek cuisine presentations.

Based on figures released by the Austrian statistical agency and tour operators, roughly 500,000 Austrian tourists visited Greece last year despite the negative impact of the global economic crisis on the tourist sector.

Greece remains the most popular holiday destination for Austrians (18 percent). In 2009, roughly 400,000 Austrian tourists visited Greece by air, while 100,000 arrived by boat or by car.

The increase recorded in commercial flight arrivals compared to chartered flights shows that Austrian tourists seek new destinations in Greece.

January 14, 2010
Source: ANA-MPA

Greece to be at 54 Tourism Fairs in Q1

Greek National Tourism Organization will participate in a total of 54 international travel fairs in the first quarter of 2010, according to Tourism Deputy Minister Angela Gerekou.

The minister stressed that the country would participate in alternative and special forms of tourism fairs for the first time. Selection of these fair was based on the criterion to maximize the country's tourist product.

January 14, 2010
Source: ANA-MPA

The Future of Banking in Greece 

"The future of Banking in Greece" is the title of a conference hosted by the Financial Times newspaper and the Banker magazine held in Athens on January 21.

The conference was structured around three axes: assessing the macroeconomic climate in Greece, strengthening key banking markets, and discussing the next steps to sustain growth.

Speakers included Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister, Louka Katseli; Finance Minister, George Papaconstantinou; Bank of Greece Deputy Governor, Helen Dendrinou-Louri; and the EU Commission’s  Head of Unit Banking and Financial Conglomerates, Mario Nava.

January 12, 2010
Source: Greek News Agenda, Secretariat General of Communication and Information

Greek Shipowners Top International Fleet

Greek shipowners top the international commercial marine fleet, having acquired 164 ships in 2009 for the amount of $3.16 billion US.

Chinese companies are in the second place, by investing $2.79 billion US in vessel acquisitions.

Turkish and Norwegian ship-owners followed, by purchasing various types of ships, for a total of $650 and $520 million US, respectively.

January 8, 2010
Source: Greek News Agenda, Secretariat General of Communication and Information

METAXA: The Most Famous Greek Spirit

Spyros Metaxas, a silk trader from Athens, was the first in Greece to distil wine in 1888 and the company he founded now sells over a million cases worldwide.

METAXA is produced from Savatiano, Sultanina and Black Corinth, double-distilled, married with aged Muscat wine from Samos and Lemnos, blended with a secret botanical mix and then aged in hand made oak casks.

In the world market, Metaxa is generally available in three versions: Three Star, Five Star, and Seven Star. Extra old Metaxa "Private Reserve" brandies are marketed in attractive, painted, ceramic bottles.

December 22, 2009
Source: Greek News Agenda, Secretariat General of Communication and Information

Metka Signs Patriot Production Contract with Raytheon
The Greek firm Metka SA announced the signing of a contract with Raytheon Company/IDS and Intracom Defence Electronics for the manufacturing of significant groups of Patriot missile anti-aircraft defence systems.

The two contracts, worth more than 51 million US dollars, will cover supplies for the governments of UAE and Taiwan.

G. Economou, General Manager of Metka’s production units, said "this international success was proof of the capabilities of Greek industry and a justification of the Greek Defence Ministry’s policies to support the country’s defence industry."

January 5, 2010
Source: ANA-MPA