According to the preliminary data available for the state budget implementation for the first six months of 2010, on a fiscal basis the deficit presented a 46% year-on-year decline against a targeted 39.5% in the government’s economic policy programme.

The fiscal result of the first six months of 2010 is due to both restriction of expenditures and revenue increases. Nevertheless, these do not yet fully reflect all fiscal measures included in the government’s programme for 2010.

Furthermore, ordinary budget expenditures declined by 12.8% year-on-year against a targeted 5.5% reduction and

The Croatian government hosted a two day international summit in Dubrovnik (June 9-10) titled "Croatia Summit 2010 – South East Europe Facing Global Challenges." In its fifth edition, the conference attracted senior European and North American leaders who focused on the inclusion of the South East Europe region into European and transatlantic cooperation structures.

Addressing the conference, Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas stressed that Greece invites the integration of the Balkan region into the European Union, "where its immediate future lies."

"It is in our best interest

Interior, Decentralisation and E-Governance minister Yiannis Rangoussis on July 9 presented the progress of Greece's reform efforts in a number of sectors such as administrative reform, central government and strategic planning, to OECD Secretary General Michel-Angel Gurria.

At the meeting, it was decided that an international conference - sponsored jointly by the Greek government and the OECD - is to be held next year. It will focus on "institutional reforms taking place in Greece, some of which are considered unprecedented on an international level," the Greek minister added.

The winners of the Athens Bench Mark international competition were announced at an award ceremony held on July 1, at the Athens Concert Hall.

The Athens Bench Mark industrial design contest encouraged young designers from around the world to envision and design new city benches for the capital.

Designer Aris Stathis won the first prize in the contest with his proposal titled ""
The second prize went to the project "City Break" by designers Vassiliki Katsarou and Andreas Economopoulos while the third prize was won by Konstantinos Douzis for his project "Hand of Earth."

The next

• Astrocamping 2010

The Friends of Astronomy Association of East Macedonia is organizing the 2nd Star Watching Camp Astrocamping 2010 at Mount Ipsarion, on the island of Thassos from July 15 to 19. The event pivots around star gazing – the main activity after night fall.
Associate Professor of History and Philosophy of Astronomy Dr Stratos Theodosiou at the University of Athens is going to speak on star-related topics such as the creation of spectral lines and research concerning the detection of extraterrestrial life.

Astrocamping 2010: Online participation form

Archaeological Museum,...

• EU Foreign Policy Chief in Athens

European Union foreign policy priorities as well as issues of Greek interest were discussed on July 9, during a meeting between Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and visiting High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, Catherine Ashton.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the EU official outlined her priorities for the immediate future, referring to the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the promotion of good-neighbourly relations across Europe, and cooperation with EU

Ruling PASOK party deputy Petros Efthymiou was elected as the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), during the forum’s 19th annual session.

Efthymiou, who was a Vice-President in the Assembly, was elected with 130 votes, against 64 of Senator Consiglio Di Nino (Canada).

Participants at the 19th session discussed a wide range of issues, amongst which the situation in Kyrgyzstan, the Parliamentary Assembly’s involvement in the Corfu process, the peace process in the Middle East, nuclear security, cyber-crime.

A meeting of the Socialist International's committee on international economic issues is taking place on the Saronic isle of Poros today, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister and Socialist International President George Papandreou.

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz will coordinate the session. The committee will focus on the evaluation of decisions taken during the recent G20 meeting in Toronto, and initiatives ahead of the next meeting, set to take place in Seoul, Korea in November.

Numismatic Museum

The Numismatic Museum of Athens is one of the lesser known museums of the city, yet one of the oldest, since it was founded in 1834, the same year as the National Archaeological Museum. It owns 500,000 artefacts – mostly coins as well as medals, gems, and weights - dated from the 14th century B.C. until today.

Since 1998, it has been housed in the Iliou Melathron (meaning Palace of Troy), an impressive two-storey building in the heart of Athens, on Panepistimiou Street. The building follows the neo-classical style incorporating elements of the Italian renaissance and was

The city of Kalamata, in the southern Peloponnese, has established itself on the global cultural map with its International Dance Festival which celebrates this year its 16th anniversary, on July 15-22.

The Festival, which is funded by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Kalamata, is the key event every year of the city’s International Dance Centre - founded in 1995, with the aim of supporting and promoting the art of dance via research, education, and artistic activities.

Apart from the dance performances the programme for this year’s festival includes film screenings (tributes