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Greek Language and Culture November 09 OMILO Newsletter
Hello everybody! After 4 intensive courses on the island of Syros in June, July and September, here again the OMILO Newsletter. The OMILO staff was very happy to see so many ex-participants and new students during our Syros summer courses ! At this moment we are running the regular 10-week courses in Athens, serving mainly foreign students living for a longer period in Athens. For those who could not make it to attend a 2009 OMILO course, we definitely hope to see you again in one of our 2010 courses ! Our new program for 2010 will be soon in your inbox. The subjects for this Newsletter are : 1. Early elections on October 4, 2009 2. Rural Tourism in Greece. 3. Islands for sale!

Early elections on October 4, 2009
On Sunday October 4th, Greece's Socialists “PASOK” won the elections from the governing conservatives “Nea Dimokratia”, whose voters were angered by many scandals during the last years and a faltering economy. Humbled by his New Democracy party's worst electoral performance ever, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned as its leader and said a new chief is needed for the party founded by his late uncle Constantine Karamanlis 35 years ago. Karamanlis came to power in 2004 after more than a decade of socialist rule. He was reelected in 2007, but quickly saw his popularity going down because of several financial and “bribing” scandals as well as the failure to deal with the ailing Greek economy. Many voters were also angered by rising crime and the many riots, after the fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens in December 2008. Anarchists rampaged for several weeks through Greek cities, smashing shops and banks with little police intervention. Karamanlis announced the early election, just halfway through his second four-year term. After the victory of PASOK, George Papandreou, also former foreign minister , now follows in the footsteps of his father, Andreas Papandreou – who founded his Panhellenic Socialist Movement party, or PASOK, in 1974 .

"I know the potential of the country very well, a potential being drowned by corruption, favoritism, lawlessness and waste. We must all believe again we can succeed ... we cannot waste a single day. We bear a great responsibility to change the course of the country. ... We know that we can make it," George Papandreou said. PASOK won with 43.92 percent, compared to 33.48 percent for New Democracy. Voting is compulsory in Greece, although there are no penalties anymore in case you do not vote. This result gives PASOK a solid majority of 160 seats in the 300-member parliament. The PASOK government has a record number of women: five ministers and four deputy ministers. The Greek Communist Party, far right-wing LAOS and the small Left Coalition also kept their small representation in Parliament, while the Ecologist-Greens did not gain enough votes to get a seat. Many things need to change in Greece. Let’s hope PASOK can keep its promises and make a difference. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rural Tourism in Greece.
When you have had enough of beach holidays and seaside hotels, an idea would be to leave for the mountains! This is the message of Agrotouristiki, founded five years ago as a private company to promote rural tourism. The company now belongs to the Ministry of Tourism and the government sees that rural tourism will play a major role in the future. The rural – or agro-tourism in Greece is not the same as in other countries, where the farmers live on their farms amongst their animals. In those countries the agro-tourists actively participate in helping the farmer… In Greece however, Greeks were involved in enough farming in their history and no longer want anything to do with it! Another reason is that in Greece we do not have farms where farmers live on their farms. The farmers live in the village and their farms are elsewhere… This is why Greeks see rural tourism as extreme sports, horseback riding or local traditional food. They certainly don’t want to get involved in farm work and definitely don’t want insects in bed!!! The areas which Agrotouristiki promotes are those who have preserved their local architecture and heritage, such as Ipeiros, Peloponnese and Macedonia. Still much needs to be done in order for rural tourism to develop: for example, farmers have problems with the tax authorities when their income from tourism is more than their income from farming. The sector also needs some very clear regulations and standardization, as is the case in some other EU countries. There are also the environmental concerns. Rural tourism could present the same problems for the environment as mass tourism, if there are no clear agreements on the size of the hotels or the numbers of tourists in a region… However, the rural tourism in Greece has great potential and is excellent to practice your Greek! In most of these destinations, Greeks still do not speak English so well, and the locals will be happy to communicate with you in Greek!

However, in case you love Greece because of its beautiful sea and islands, it might be better to save your money during the winter time and start dreaming about your own private island!

Islands for sale!
Greece has plenty! All it needs is a lot of money! Owning your own island is a dream that has long attracted the super-rich - from film stars to shipping tycoons, celebrity athletes to rock stars. But it might be also YOUR dream………. Private islands are “a slice of paradise where we can set our own rules and create a vision of the world as it should be”, says Mr. Vladi of “Vladi Private Islands”, an international broker. Since Greece has a lot of islands and months of glorious weather, Greece is the prime market for private islands in Europe. According to the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT), the Greek state comprises 6,000 islands, scattered across the Aegean and Ionian seas. Of these, only 227 are inhabited, 78 of which have more than a hundred inhabitants each. According to the Greek finance ministry, about 60 islands are in the private hands of companies, groups or individuals. Island ownership in Greece among the super-rich was glamorized after shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis bought the island Skorpios in 1961. Even the Beatles considered buying Greek islands - one for each band member - in the 1960s. According to the listings of two international island brokers and one Greek property agent, there are more than two-dozen Greek islands currently on the market. They range in size from the tiny St Athanasios (0,01km2) in the Gulf of Corinth to the massive Ionian island of Nafsika, whose almost 5km2 make it larger than Monaco or the Vatican. Following Mr. Vladi, the problem with Greek islands is that they are mostly rather big and very expensive, compared to other islands in other countries. Since 1971, Mr. Vladi has sold well over 2,000 islands in the whole world. As he says, “the great majority” of island transactions has been between 140,000 and 560,000 euros, with the average price being about 210,000 euros. In Greece prices are much higher. Nonetheless the high prices, the Greek island market continues to attract interest, predominantly from serious European businesspeople, whose presence in the country would bring “prestige, jobs and capital”. Restrictions Smaller islands are often bought by people looking for a second home. However, having the financial means to buy an island is one thing, but constructing the necessary infrastructure for it is quite another. Usually people who buy these islands tend to be entrepreneurial and want to put their own mark on the island. The problem rising in Greece is that any island development requires the authorization from the ministries of defence, environment and culture. Island purchasers face the difficult task of securing anything from 25 to 30 permits from the Greek authorities.

The Greek archaeological service must also certify that the island has no ancient remains, while the forestry service may also become involved if the island is wooded. And, islands in the Aegean Sea close to Turkish borders are not for sale to non-Greeks, as legal restrictions exist on foreigners owning property in the frontier border areas with Turkey. Well, we know many people wanting to build a house at the moment in Attica or other Greek areas, having major difficulties to get simple building licenses. We are not sure you would like to get the experience to go through the Greek bureaucracy to obtain all the needed licenses for your dream island………..Your dream might end up in a nightmare! However, in case you need help to make your dream come true, OMILO can organize Greek private lessons to obtain all the vocabulary (and patience) needed in this procedure! For more info, also look at • Vladi Private Islands, www.vladi-private-islands.de • Private Islands Inc, www.privateislandsinc.com • Ktimatoemporiki Crete, www.ktimatoemporiki.gr OMILO is looking around for nice islands to organize summer courses. Any island with a Greek population above 100, at least 5 nice taverns, a big square where local festivals are organized and several nice Pensions or Agro-touristic rooms, would be an option. If you have any favorites, please let us know! We wish you a very nice winter . The OMILO team.

OMILO, PO Box 61070, 15101 MAROUSSI, ATHENS Tel. (0030)210-612.28.96 email: info@omilo.com