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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 7, 2010
Greece in Poland
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The Present is a Gift
April 7, 2010   
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What is the state of bilateral relations between Greece and Poland?
I believe that relations between our two countries are traditionally and historically very good. This applies to almost every level: political, economic and social. Political ties between our countries have particularly strengthened since Poland's accession to NATO in 1999 and to the European Union in 2004. At this point, I have to mention the visit of Prime Minister Donald Tusk to Athens last October and his meeting with the new Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou as well as political contacts among ministers.
At the economic level, Poland is a priority country for Greece since bilateral economic and commercial relations, investments, and the development of joint-ventures and business cooperation are among the top priorities.
And finally, at the level of society, I myself have witnessed many times how much Poles admire and like Greece, and especially traveling and visiting its beautiful places. At the same time, Poles in Greece constitute the favorite foreign community for Greeks.
What steps is the Greek government taking to tackle the current crisis?
On March 3 the Greek government announced "The Hellenic Stability and Growth Program," a package of additional measures designed to safeguard the country against macroeconomic and financial risks. Following a special parliamentary procedure, the Greek parliament approved this package on March 5.
The package includes measures on both the revenue and expenditure sides of the budget, which will together contribute 2% of GDP, or 4.8 billion euros. These measures are an addition to measures in the Stability Program totaling 4% of GDP and measures recently announced by the prime minister totaling 0.5%. They show the Greek government's determination to ensure a sustainable fiscal path and restore confidence in the Greek economy.
How do you think the crisis will affect Greece's relations with Poland?
We don?t think it will affect Greece's relations with Poland. On the contrary, we believe that it can create new opportunities. Beyond the economic and commercial relations, which are very positive, there is an excellent opportunity for Polish tourists to visit Greece now, not only because Greek beaches can provide them with all they need: sunshine, warm sea, good Greek cuisine, friendly services, but also very affordable and attractive prices, as the hotels keep their prices at a low level.
Greece is a popular tourist destination for Poles, but do you think Greek tourists are interested in visiting Poland?
Since I was posted to Warsaw I have had the opportunity to visit many cities of your country, such as Cracow, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Poznań, Kazimierz-Dolny and others. To all these cities I traveled by car and therefore I had the rare chance to enjoy and admire the beautiful landscape.
I therefore believe that, of course, Poland has many beautiful places to display in order to attract tourists, in the same way as Greece does. The magnificent architecture of the buildings in such cities, the wonderful nature along the Vistula river, which crosses the country, the infrastructure facilities and, last but not least, the kindness and helpful attitude of Poles, I believe, all constitute positive factors that make Poland a draw for tourists, though in a different way than Greece.
You have been in Poland for nearly a year and half now. How does the experience compare to other countries you have worked in?
In my life I have learned to enjoy every post as it is, meaning not to compare it with previous ones, because at the end of the day, whatever the outcome of this comparison would be, it does not, in fact, affect the present. And I am convinced that the present by definition is a gift, and we should try to enjoy it as such. That is why I would not proceed to a comparison. I would, however, like to stress that I really like my post here mainly because of the kindness and finesse of the people of your country.
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