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Prime Minister to attend Berlin conference

Prime Minister Helen Clark travels to Berlin for two days later this week to participate in an international conference of leaders committed to progressive governance.

The Conference on Progressive Governance for the Twenty-First Century, to be held on 2 and 3 June, involves the leaders of 15 countries and their senior advisors. It is hosted by the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.

"The stated aim of the conference, which follows a similar but smaller gathering in Florence last November, is to 'bring together forward-looking heads of government from all over the world to exchange views on solutions for key problems of governance in the twenty-first century'," Helen Clark said.

"The key issues to be discussed revolve around the challenge of globalisation and how to equip citizens and economies to prosper in the global economy.

"The leaders attending the conference come from North and South America, Europe, Israel, South Africa and New Zealand.

"All lead governments committed to both strong market economies and to social responsibility," Helen Clark said.

Confirmed attendees include the host, Chancellor Schroeder; the presidents of the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Chile; and the Prime Ministers of Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Israel, and New Zealand.

The meeting of leaders in Berlin will be supported by working sessions of experts and advisors to the participating governments. These sessions will focus on the themes of 'civil society and the role of politics', 'modernisation of the state' and 'the new economy'.

Helen Clark departs for Berlin on the evening of Wednesday 31 May and returns to New Zealand on the morning of Monday 5 June.


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