COVID-19 got in the way of Bill Papastergiadis addressing the Delphi Economic Forum directly in Greece but as with the most of the world, life carries on electronically and the president of the Greek Community of Melbourne will be able to give his address online at 11pm Thurday (18 May).
One of the advantages of the world going online is that we can all watch Mr Papastergiadis present his speech as a keynote speaker on the topic of Enhancing Cooperation between Homeland and Diaspora. Special links will enable us to watch the debate unfold.
“I had bee allocated opening the breakfast programme on a key day in the forum that would have set the agenda for the rest of that day,” said Mr Papastergiadis.
“I will be talking about whether the Greek/Australian relationship is heading in the right direction,” Mr Papastergiadis told Neos Kosmos. “The Greek Australian Diaspora is in the right place and the time is right for the relationship between the two countries to be advanced, however any solution to current impasse needs careful analysis.”
“For example, we need to analyse who are the Greek Australians, the differences in what that means in the cities (of Australia) and how we relate to Greece. The Diaspora is no longer homogeneous and it is changing,” said Mr Papastergiadis.
The Greek community of Melbourne had received more support over the years from Victorian government than from the Greek government. Mr Papastergiadis said it had been Victorian state funds that helped build the Greek Centre.
He said the GCM had proposed a number of initiatives on many occasions including the setting up without, cost to the Greek government , of an Enterprise Greek and aGreek tourism office but that there had been no response to the offer.
The communty had also repeatedly called for the appointment of qualified trade attaches to be assigned to Greek consulates in Australia.
Mr Papastergiadis said that in his speech he will draw attention to a number of other issues that Greece needs consider to improve its relations with the diaspora communities.
He said there was no naturalisation or dual taxation treaties between Greece and Australia. The naturalisation issue had also affected Diaspora Greek males with regard to the issue of military service in Greece.
On the issue of voting, the passing of the recent bill had been positive development.
He said that another stumbling block was that Greece did not recognise trust structures and this was another obstacle to investment there.