Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs K. Fragogiannis’ visit to Astypalea for the “Smart & Sustainable Island” project (October 7-8, 2021)

The residents of Astypalea were briefed on the Smart & Sustainable Island project during a two-day visit to the island, on October 7-8, by an inter-ministerial team from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Energy and Transport, as well as the Governor of the South Aegean Region. The event was organized by the Municipality of Astypalea in the port of the island and was attended by citizens and entities who asked questions to the speakers.

Underlining the government’s vision for the transition to sustainable and ecological living models, the Deputy Minister referred to the progress of the work for the implementation of the emblematic e-Astypalea project. Responding to questions, Mr. Fragogiannis focused on the four pillars, assuring that the development plan of the first hybrid plant for the production of energy from RES is in the process of implementation. He also referred to the generous subsidy program for the island’s residents in order to change their conventional cars with new generation electric cars, while he also stressed the decision of the systemic banks to provide low-interest financing programs for all loans concerning the purchase of new vehicles. “The vision is what has made us the best in the world in what we do. What we, all the institutions, all the ministries and the local government are trying to achieve, is to make this vision a reality”, noted Mr. Fragogiannis, answering citizens’ questions.

Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Mr. Michalis Papadopoulos, who also addressed the event, noted: “In Astypalea we are creating a model for the transition to green development, with the use of clean energy, but also with innovative custom transport services, through digital applications. Residents or visitors will be able to access transport services upon request through their mobile phones, stating where they are and where they want to go. In practice, we are designing an interactive custom transport system, an innovative project that aspires to transform beautiful Astypalea into a Smart and Green Island and can become the guide for the implementation of similar projects in other parts of the country.”

For his part, the Governor of the South Aegean Region expressed his full support to the implementation of the necessary work for the project, which extends until 2026. In his speech Mr. Hatzimarkos said: “The e-astypalea project is a difficult and complex one but our islands are accustomed to difficulties and it will succeed. For us, the islands of the South Aegean are not disadvantaged places but places of potential; they are protagonist islands with unique characteristics. At a time when the pandemic has caused economic and social upheaval on a global scale, the islands of the South Aegean are once again emerging as champions in the field of economy.”

“We are implementing here in Astypalea a model project for all our islands, which we want to become cleaner, greener and energy autonomous within the next decade. In this effort we want the local community to be by our side, because every project concerns the people who participate in it. With the e-Astypalea program of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, we provide an important tool and we have set aside the sum of 9 million Euros to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles, so that all vehicles on the island become electric”, said Secretary General for Energy and Mineral Resources, Alexandra Sdoukou, presenting in detail to the residents of the island the criteria of the program and making a step by step description of the operation of the platform e-astypalea.gov.gr.

The two-day visit included intensive meetings with executives of the German Volkswagen car industry who visited the island, as well as test drive events of electric cars with broad participation from the residents of the island.

Zoom Named a Leader in 2021 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Meeting Solutions

Zoom Celebrates its Sixth Consecutive Year in the Leaders Quadrant

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM), today announced that analyst firm Gartner has named Zoom a Leader in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions. This is the seventh time Zoom has appeared in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions and its sixth consecutive time as a Leader.

For the Meeting Solutions Magic Quadrant, Gartner analyzed 15 companies in the Meeting Solutions space, naming Zoom as a Leader. Zoom is the highest-scoring vendor across three use cases in this year’s Critical Capabilities for Meeting Solutions: Learning and Training, External Presentation, and Webinar.

“We are honored that Gartner has named Zoom a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions,” said Eric S. Yuan, CEO of Zoom. “Zoom simplifies and elevates communications for every business, from the single entrepreneur to the world’s largest enterprises, and we are humbled that so many organizations trust our frictionless, reliable, and secure platform. Zoom will continue to innovate our platform to meet emerging collaboration demands and further deliver customer happiness.”

To read a complimentary copy of the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions report, please visit zoom.us/gartner.

Disclaimer

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions, Mike Fasciani, Tom Eagle, Brian Doherty, Christopher Trueman, 7 October 2021 – For Magic Quadrant

Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Meeting Solutions, Tom Eagle, Mike Fasciani, Brian Doherty, Christopher Trueman, 7 October 2021 – For Critical Capabilities report.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Gartner and Magic Quadrant are registered trademarks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

About Zoom
Zoom is for you. We help you express ideas, connect to others, and build toward a future limited only by your imagination. Our frictionless communications platform is the only one that started with video as its foundation, and we have set the standard for innovation ever since. That is why we are an intuitive, scalable, and secure choice for large enterprises, small businesses, and individuals alike. Founded in 2011, Zoom is publicly traded (NASDAQ:ZM) and headquartered in San Jose, California. Visit zoom.com and follow @zoom.

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Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participation in the event “Let’s Listen to the Future” in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe (Athens, 08.10.2021)

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participation in the event “Let’s Listen to the Future” in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe (Athens, 08.10.2021)A particularly lively discussion took place today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, and the Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution of Austria, Karoline Edtstadler, who is visiting our country. The event was titled “Let’s listen to the future” with guests postgraduate students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Panteion University with specialization in the fields of international and European relations and international law.

The students raised all the major issues that concern them: migration, European security policies, EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans, challenges in the Southeastern Mediterranean, the Union’s economic competitiveness, the climate crisis. The two ministers discussed with them openly and willingly and shared their personal and political views.

As Mr. Varvitsiotis said in his initial statement, this Dialogue on the Future of Europe “is about understanding what we mean by European identity. Everyone is either Greek or Austrian first, but we all feel Europeans. What binds us is our European identity. And for the younger generation, who have stronger feelings about their European identity, we must set the example of how we can listen to each other, work together, and reach a consensus on issues on which we may have different perspectives”.

The Alternate Minister then expressed the view that Europe is growing and evolving through crises and that, in the face of new challenges, we are finding common ways to respond to them. “What is important is not to leave room to separate approaches on common challenges,” he said, referring to Brexit, and Ms. Edtstadler agreed with him.
Replying to a student who commented that European youth are not always fully satisfied with Europe’s stance, the two Ministers agreed that, against Euroscepticism, there is only one answer: more Europe. And they assured the students that they will try to turn the ideas they heard from them today into political action.

The discussion ended with Ms. Edtstadler and Mr. Varvitsiotis being asked by a young student what advice would they give to a young European. To this question, which aroused great interest in the audience, Mrs. Edtstadler answered: “travel, learn languages, and be curious”. Mr. Varvitsiotis added that young people should be actively involved and not let others speak on their behalf.

The event was coordinated by the Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Conference on the Future of Europe, Mr. Konstantinos Alexandris.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to meet with the President of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, Annita Demetriou (Athens, 12.10.2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will meet tomorrow, Tuesday, October 12, at 11:00 am, with the President of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, Annita Demetriou, who is paying an official visit to Athens.

In the context of close coordination between Athens and Nicosia, the talks are expected to focus on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, multilateral cooperation as well as on the recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ interview with the newspaper “To Vima tis Kyriakis” and journalist Angelos Athanasopoulos (10.10.2021)

JOURNALIST: In a few days you will travel to Washington to sign one more amendment of the Greece-USA Defence Agreement (MDCA). What has changed since the previous amendment in 2019?

N. DENDIAS: I am going to Washington to meet with my American counterpart Antony Blinken and to launch the Strategic Dialogue. In this context, the second Protocol of Amendment is expected to be signed. In the last two years there have been three major changes that have made necessary the amendment of the agreement I signed two years ago. First, our strategic relationship with the USA has reached another level. It is now at its peak. The new agreement is the culmination of this unique relationship – which in turn is complemented by the relations we have developed with our northern neighbours, the countries of the Middle East, but also European countries, such as France. There are more to come. Second, the security environment in our area has changed drastically. Unfortunately, Turkey provokes almost on a daily basis. Let us also not forget the incidents in Evros and the “Oruc Reis”. And of course the threat of war remains, with Turkey maintaining the largest landing force in the Mediterranean facing the Aegean islands. Third, the US strategic and military footprint is being transformed and redirected. The United States is now investing in temporary presence in the territory of other states and not in permanent bases, as was the case in previous decades. At the same time it is distancing itself from Europe. Its focus of interest is on the Indo-Pacific, as the recent agreement with Australia and Great Britain

demonstrates. Some European countries are now willing to pay to maintain the US presence on their territory. Greece is the exception to this trend, which indicates, if nothing else, the American interest in the strategic position of our country, as well as the stabilizing role we play in the wider region.
JOURNALIST: We have heard that the American side initially submitted a list of more than 20 locations. However, the Americans backed out and Skyros, for which there were hopes, is not included in the locations. Where do we end up?

N.DENDIAS: Allow me not to comment on the American position. Indeed, the negotiation was difficult. For our part, there was harmonious cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defence. The respective US ministries are in themselves two huge bureaucratic bodies, with their own priorities, as well as changes in their position. But in the end a result was achieved that is mutually beneficial for both sides. There have been proposals from the US side for several other locations, which, as things stand, are not being considered at this stage. However, since you are asking about locations, it should be underlined that the agreement itself leaves open the possibility of adding other locations in the future. What matters in the end is the result, as it has been formulated so far, that is, the selection of four new military locations. This selection augments the American strategic and military footprint in our country and is combined with the other agreements we have concluded over the past two years in order to shield Greece from any kind of external threat. But the locations themselves have their own significance. One location is near the land border with Turkey. Taking into account the events in Evros, I need not expand on its significance. But I will add two more important facts. Through the development of a floating liquefied natural gas terminal, Alexandroupolis is becoming an energy hub for the Western Balkans, but also for the wider region of Central and Eastern Europe, something of particular interest to the US and the EU. The selection of this location has also to do with the possibility of rapid transfer and stationing of American forces in Bulgaria and Romania, bypassing the Straits. The US acknowledges Greece’s strategic position and seems to have doubts about Turkey. Let me remind you that one of the largest American military exercises took place in this area. The other location, in the Greek islands, will facilitate the strengthening of the presence and rapid deployment of the American, as well as the Greek Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean. The locations will be under Greek control. They will be used by both American and Greek forces.

Consequently, the investments that the American side will make will be beneficial for both countries. And that brings us to the duration of the agreement. The US side had asked from the outset that the duration should be for a five-year period, in order to have a perspective of stabitity and allow Congress to release funds for the modernization of the facilities. As the Prime Minister pointed out, we agree with this prospect in principle. By the way, the original agreement, in 1990, remained in force for a term of eight years and since then it has been extended annually by all governments, without any exception and without any delay.

JOURNALIST: In the past, two US Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger and Mike Pompeo, had sent letters describing some form of “guarantee” of Greece’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Are you seeking a renewal of this “guarantee”?

N. DENDIAS: Allow me to make two observations on this. First, Kissinger’s letter, in response to a letter from the then-Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dimitris Bitsios, is still formally valid. However, it is part of a completely different context, a Cold War context, two years after the invasion of Cyprus. So, it cannot be used as a benchmark for comparison under the current circumstances. Secondly, perhaps due to the considerable amount of time that has passed, the letter has assumed almost mythic proportions, which are not necessarily reflected in the text. The Pompeo letter of January 2020 goes much further, as it refers to Greece as a “key ally” in the region and to US commitment “to supporting Greece’s prosperity, security, and democracy”. I cannot go into detail about the content of the cover letter from the US Secretary of State which is expected to accompany the Protocol and will be essentially a unilateral US political commitment. However, it is expected to contain at least three points of crucial importance, always on the basis of International Law.

JOURNALIST: Greek-American relations have flourished in recent years. Athens has some very close allies in Washington, especially in Congress. However, there are circles who believe that despite the flirtation with Moscow, Turkey “should not be lost.” What do you think?

N. DENDIAS: Congress is at least one step ahead of the government. Let me remind you of the East Med Act of 2019 and the draft law on defense cooperation, which provides, among other things, for our participation in the F-35 program. At the same time, it takes a particularly critical stance towards Turkey. A more recent example is the introduction of an amendment that requires the State Department to draft a report on the “Gray Wolves”, a proposal that prompted a strong reaction from Turkey. Senator Menendez has played a pivotal role, but it’s not just him. In Washington, I will meet both with members of Congress and members of the Greek Diaspora, who have played a significant role in promoting our positions. It is a fact, however, that US Foreign and Defence Ministry officials continue to treat Turkey with a Cold War approach, as a counterweight to Russia, as is the case in Syria and Libya. Τheir approach is based on the image of a secular and western-oriented country, as Turkey used to be two decades ago, without fully taking into account the radical changes that have occurred since then.

JOURNALIST: Another round of exploratory talks took place in Ankara recently. I would like to ask you directly: are we just talking with the Turks for the sake of talking?

N. DENDIAS: As long as Turkey is threatening our country with war, the infamous casus belli, maintaining a huge landing force facing us and demanding the demilitarization of our islands, invoking an illegal and invalid memorandum to justify its actions, promoting its expansionist “Blue Homeland” doctrine and completely disregarding the fundamental rules of international law, then there is limited to non-existent scope for a constructive dialogue. Of course, even under these circumstances, there is a need to maintain a communication channel; if anything, so as to avoid any misunderstandings.

JOURNALIST:  Recently, you had a confrontation with Konstantinos Bogdanos. This MP is no longer a member of the Parliamentary group of New Democracy, but I think you will agree with me that we are witnessing a worrying resurgence of far-right movements. Having had the experience of Golden Dawn, what is your view on that?

N. DENDIAS: There is a political, ideological and value-related abyss that separates New Democracy from the Golden Dawn. The ND government and I personally, as a minister, directly confronted the neo-Nazi formation, after which the case took its well-known judicial course. I will agree with you, but without linking it in any way to the position of Mr. Bogdanos, that there is a resurgence of illegal activity of the far right by imitators or branches of Golden Dawn, who are obviously seeking to exploit the insecurity caused by the pandemic and the widespread endorsement of conspiracy theories. Apart from the reaction of the competent bodies of the State, which has already come about and I am sure that it will continue to do so, it is true that this is a challenge to which we need to respond as a whole, as a political system, but also as Greek society. As I have pointed out, storm troopers were not, are not and will not be tolerated in our country. And this applies regardless of their name.