Thessaloniki – An attractive theme, the government’s strong commitment and enthusiasm on the part of the local population are three indispensable conditions for a city to successfully bid for an event such as Expo 2008. Equally important, however, are the role the host country plays in international affairs and its lobbying mechanisms, in short, its ability to convince that it can stage a successful Expo. This recipe for success was described in detail yesterday by Vincente Gonzales Loscertales, secretary-general of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), at a press conference given on the occasion of a two-day symposium on Thessaloniki’s candidature. An Expo is a smaller event than a World Fair, such as the one that will take place in Shanghai in 2010. There are two other cities bidding for Expo 2008: Trieste, in Italy, and Zaragoza, in Spain. Gonzales is in Thessaloniki to encourage, as he said, a dialogue on the theme proposed by Thessaloniki. «If you can keep all parties involved in an active role, then you will succeed,» Gonzales said. He added, however, that the other two bidders’ chances are equal to Thessaloniki’s. Thessaloniki citizens see Expo 2008 as a chance to focus interest on the city and even speed up infrastructure projects, the way the Olympics are doing for Athens.