D83

2 December 1998

Australia Strengthens Ties With Greece

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today announced the appointment of Mr Christos Gandas as Australian Honorary Consul in Thessaloniki. His jurisdiction will cover the regions of Macedonia and Thrace in northern Greece.

The decision by Mr Alexander Downer, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to establish the Consulate in Thessaloniki is a clear demonstration of the Government's commitment to strengthening ties with the Hellenic Republic. The consulate was inaugurated by The Hon. Philip Ruddock, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, earlier this year during his visit to Greece. This brings to 41 the number of Australian Consulates headed by Honorary Consuls throughout the world, 17 of them in Europe.

Mr Gandas is a Greek-Australian businessman who has successfully established and managed two companies in Thessaloniki for the past five years. He is well placed to provide consular and passport assistance to Australians resident in and travelling through northern Greece and can offer on-the-spot advice to Australian firms wanting to capitalise on business opportunities in the region.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, and home to about 25,000 Australian citizens. It is the economic hub of a dynamic region that has experienced substantial growth in recent years, including the upgrading of Thessaloniki port and airport facilities, the construction of the Egnatia Highway in northern Greece and the establishment of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, headquartered in Thessaloniki, to fund regional infrastructure projects.

The Consulate opened for business on Monday 23 November 1998 at:

20 lonos Dragoumi
THESSALONW 546 24
GREECE

Tel. (30 31) 240 706
Fax. (30 31) 260 237

/td>

Media Inquiries:

Tony Melville/Kirk Coningham (02) 6261 1555