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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM meets with PRC Nat'l People's Congress standing comm't chairman Wu Bangguo
  • [02] Eurovision 2006 made a net profit, ERT says

  • [01] PM meets with PRC Nat'l People's Congress standing comm't chairman Wu Bangguo

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks on Thursday with China's National People's Congress Standing Committee Chairman, Wu Bangguo, during a meeting also attended by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis.

    The two sides reaffirmed the good climate in bilateral relations following Karamanlis' official visit to Beijing last January, and their desire to further develop bilateral relations in the sectors of investments and trade.

    The high-ranking Chinese official conveyed to Karamanlis greetings from the Chinese prime minister, underlining the historical relations and ties between the two countries.

    On his part, Karamanlis said he has instructed his Cabinet to intensify efforts related to closer Greek-Chinese cooperation, while Wu Bangguo cited his interest in expanded port facilities in Greece. Additionally, he expressed an interest in increasing the number of Chinese tourists visiting Greece, the presence of Greece-based construction firms in Chinese road projects, as well as greater cooperation and the transfer of Olympic know-how from Athens to Beijing.

    The top Chinese official, who also presides over the economy and international economic cooperation portfolio, called the budding economic cooperation between the two countries "extremely positive", noting that Karamanlis' visit to China helped establish a strategic relationship, whereas his visit to Greece aims to further upgrade this relationship.

    The first practical benefits for Greece following Athens' initiative include a rise in olive oil exports to China -- 30 percent -- while talks continue for the establishment of direct flights between Athens and Beijing.

    Also, the largest container ship in the world, with a capacity of 9,500 containers, is due to sail into the port of Piraeus next month. The vessel belongs to Greek interests and its christening will take place in Piraeus.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, centre, greets National People's Congress Standing Committee ChairmanWu Bangguo, right, in Athens on Thursday, May 25, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / P. Saitas.

    [02] Eurovision 2006 made a net profit, ERT says

    Hosting the Eurovision song contest did not cost Greek tax-payers a cent and actually made the organisers a net profit, the state broadcaster ERT said during a press conference on Thursday.

    According to ERT president Christos Panagopoulos, ERT's net revenues from organising the contest came to 7.28 million, while its total costs were 5.5 million.

    "All that about wasting the Greek taxpayers money is not true...It was a commercial and profitable event and the money we spent was that of the sponsors," Panagopoulos said.

    According to Panagopoulos, the cost of programmes to promote the contest had not been factored into the final estimate but was somewhere around 1.0 million, while ERT's net profits were somewhere in the region of 745,000.

    ERT's president also slammed a pamphlet distributed to the press last week by group of audiovisual media bodies, in which they accused ERT of untransparency and wasting money, saying that it was "insulting and possibly grounds to sue".

    He noted that three of the associations involved had so far denied adopting the pamphlet's contents and that he intended to take matters to court for those not prepared to retract.

    According to figures presented by ERT consultant George Houliaras, ERT's revenues for hosting the event amounted to 3.63 million from national sponsors, 2.2 million from ticket sales and 1.45 million from the share of international sponsors, other advertising revenue, SMS messages etc.

    The overall cost of the event for both ERT and EBU together was 9.0 million, of which 5.5 was paid by ERT and 3.5 by EBU, he clarified.

    These sums included the cost of the television production, the entertainment programme, technical production, payment of contributors and all other spending directly linked to hosting Eurovision 2006, he said.

    Production of the 47 advertising spots promoting Greece, that were aired during the breaks in the semi-final and the final, was paid for by the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) and cost 3.5 million, Houliaras added, while noting that overtime pay due to staff that had worked for the event had still not been calculated into the final sum.

    According to Houliaras, hosting the contest was expected to have a major beneficial impact for Greece in the future, while he also pointed to the event's high TV ratings abroad.

    Viewer ratings for the BBC had reached 60 per cent, he said, compared with 18-20 per cent for the previous Eurovision contest, while in France they had jumped to 30-32 per cent, compared with 12 per cent the previous year. In Greece, meanwhile, the contest had been watched by some 3.5 million viewers in a country of just over 10 million overall.

    ERT had paid nothing to veteran star Anna Vissi and songwriter Nikos Karvelas, who represented Greece, nor for the Vissi's costume on stage, while all other participants were paid at the going market rate, Houliaras said.

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