View from the dinner table
I am on a two-day visit to Athens to discuss the future of NEO – Navarino Environmental Observatory, Stockholm University's strategic partnership project with ecotourism company TEMES and the Academy of Athens. We are cooperating on the NEO research station in Messenia, which was inaugurated in 2012 for the study of the Mediterranean climate and environment. Purely operationally, it is a success story: there is increasing interest in the facility, which is now fully utilized. At the observatory, a range of projects within atmospheric research, geology, geomorphology and hydrology explore how climate change can be traced through, for example, tree rings or caves in the Peloponnese, in order to interpret the changes and balance between climatic and human factors in a historical perspective going back to the Bronze Age. Several departments have also organised courses, workshops and conferences at NEO – right now there's a botany course that fills the building. The NEO cooperation is both important and internationally recognized.

The enthusiasm for the cooperation is also evident and the development plans are many. But, as we all know, at the same time, Greece's economy has been in free fall, so the long-term economic basis of our cooperation still has to be secured.

One thing is certain: Greek hospitality is justifiably legendary – and the view from the dinner table is hard to beat.