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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM receives George & Barbara Bush
  • [02] Papandreou, Piraeus mayor meet
  • [03] Interview:Tourism Minister
  • [04] Vassilakou on green governace

  • [01] PM receives George & Barbara Bush

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his wife Natasa Karamanlis on Wednesday received former US president George Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush at the Maximos Mansion government house in Athens, as Greece's prime ministerial couple hosted a luncheon for the parents of the current US president.

    George and Barbara Bush vacation in Greece on almost an annual basis, usually as guests aboard a private luxury cruiseship owned by the Latsis shipping family. In the past, several Bush grandchildren have joined their grandparents in Greece for a summer holiday in the east Mediterranean country.

    No official information was given on the itinerary of this year's cruise, although in past years the former US first couple visited several islands in both the Aegean and Ionian.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (L) with former US President George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush and Natasa Karamanlis (R) pose for photographers on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 on steps of the Maximos Mansion in Athens. ANA-MPA / SIMELA PANTZARTZI.

    [02] Papandreou, Piraeus mayor meet

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday promised Piraeus mayor Panagiotis Fassoulas that his party will bring the issue of the city's massive financial woes to Parliament, during a meeting between the two men ahead of controversial mobilisations called by the port city's mayor for Friday.

    Papandreou also took the opportunity to criticise the New Democracy (ND) government's policy on local administration, "the more so towards the local governments that are not under ND control".

    Fassoulas, a former star basketball player in Greece and at the European national team level, is a member of PASOK and a one-time candidate for Parliament.

    Serving his first term in the mayor's chair in Piraeus, he has called on supporters and municipal workers to block the port of Piraeus on Friday, ahead of a three-day weekend linked to a Monday holiday, a threatened move that has generated a flurry of criticism. The municipality of Piraeus has been plagued by serious financial problems dating back almost 15 years.

    [03] Interview:Tourism Minister

    Contained optimism as regards this year's tourist flow to Greece was expressed by Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos in an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA's televised news bulletin, pointing out that repeating the 2007 numbers in terms of tourist arrivals "would be a miracle". Spiliotopoulos said that the current economic situation does not favor the euro currency because it is more expensive compared to the dollar. Therefore, the destinations favored are those working with the dollar, he said, adding, however, that the likely decline in certain tourist markets, such as Britain, will be compensated by a rise in the number of tourists from such markets as Russia. Referring to the tourism sector investments, the minister stated that Greece still isn't a tourism investment reception country because it lacks the necessary institutional framework. On the problem of shared responsibility with other government ministries, he said that the tourism ministry produces national revenue and needs to be more flexible and effective to meet its objectives, pointing out that less shared responsibility means greater effectiveness. The country's improved image in the eyes of the tourists is the result of the successful hosting of the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, but despite the efforts made, certain of the inherent weaknesses have returned, he stressed, calling on tourism sector business professionals to turn towards quality and reject the "easy profit" rationale. (caption:

    [04] Vassilakou on green governace

    The environment, quality of life and the rights of immigrants are the main issues on which Austria's 'The Greens - The Green Alternative Party' Alternate President Maria Vassilakou is focusing, wishing to make a difference. Speaking to ANA-MPA from Thessaloniki, where she attended a Balkan Greens Conference, she said that she wants the Greens to enter the Austrian government because this is the only way to bring about change. Referring to the Ecologist Greens in Greece, she expressed optimism considering that in the last elections the party received roughly 80,000 votes, and added that it should be represented in Parliament because the environment needs to have a strong voice. Vassilakou was born in Athens and since 1986 has been living in Vienna, where she studied psychology and linguistics. (source:

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Austria's 'The Greens - The Green Alternative Party' Alternate President Maria Vassilakou.

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