IHT conference at Inter-Continental draws VIPs

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis spoke about how he would combat corruption, waste and poor administration in the public sector on Monday evening to a room packed with ministers, bankers, ambassadors and entrepreneurs at the Inter-Continental Hotel. He spoke in a mild but decisive manner, which was borne out the following day when the Radio and Television Council said a robust «no» to entangled interests. But who was it in the audience that was listening closely to the premier’s speech at the International Herald Tribune’s conference on «Investment and Business Prospects in post-Olympic Games Greece»? Next to the prime minister sat Senior Vice President of the New York Times Co. and IHT publisher Michael Golden, who expressed his delight at being in Athens for the third time. He had visited before the Games during the heat of the preparations. Later, as an ordinary spectator, he attended the wonderful Games organized by Greece, which made the New York Times write that Greece had organized the best Olympic Games ever, and suggest that the Games should be held permanently in Greece. That is what the late President Constantine Karamanlis had proposed, suggesting Ancient Olympia as the site. His namesake and nephew, the new leader of the Greek government, must have heard all this with great satisfaction. Also at the premier’s table were National Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, academics and ambassadors Thomas Miller of the US and Sir David Madden of the UK, Bruno Delaye of France, Eurobank CEO Nikos Nanopoulos, Latsis Group Managing Director Vangelis Chronis and managers and board members of Kathimerini SA. The eight-page list of participants shows that practically the whole government was present, as were ambassadors Margaret Hennessy of Ireland, Hume Stuart of Australia, Dr Franz-Joseph Kremp of Germany, Aleksander Mikhailitsyn of Russia, Neve Monday of Croatia, Leonidas Pantelidis of Cyprus, Juan Ramo Martinez Salazar of Spain, Magda Shahin of Egypt and Bashki Zeneli of Albania.