Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis, the US Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis and the CEO of Texan Envipco Hellas Group, Panagiotis Mourgos, referred to the further strengthening of Greek-American relations during “The 2nd Thessaloniki Metropolitan Summit” of the Economist on Friday, while underlining that relations between the two countries are, today, at their best.
The minister noted that before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, relations between Greece and the US were going well and are now at their best. On their part, the US, the minister said, recognised that Greece is a reliable partner and not just an ally, and he referred to the important role played by the port of Alexandroupolis during this period.
He underlined that the Russian-Ukrainian war further strengthened the already good relations with the US, while the crisis accelerated many agreements, such as those of Souda, Alexandroupolis, the modernisation of the F-16s, the purchase of the F-35s, etc. “The war accelerated these agreements,” the minister said and estimated that “this war will make us even better allies.”
Regarding the future and investments, the minister noted: “Greece must have its own model in the economy,” adding that “our country had many issues with Germany regarding the direction of the country. However, according to the data of ELSTAT, we have covered a long way and we have done hard work.”
The minister noted that Greece “has achieved enormous success in investments, we have broken every record in recent years, we are 10% above last year’s record and all this happened during the pandemic, the war, the energy crisis and all these challenges.”
The agreements are not only in the defence sector, as the minister said, they are also in the trade and business sectors and he mentioned as examples of successful agreements the investments of TexanEnvipco, Microsoft, Pfizer, Cisco etc.
Finally, he mentioned the importance of Greece’s exit from the “black list” of the US Department of Commerce and the modernisation of the Elefsina shipyards with the assistance of the American DFC for the course of investments.
George Tsunis: Greece standing on its own two feet
The ambassador referred to Greece’s role as an energy hub but also as a reliable ally of the USA, while noting that he remembers “Greece during the crisis, and how exactly it came close to leaving the eurozone, but showed resilience. It had 27% unemployment and still managed to turn the situation around.”
Regarding the country’s reform process, he said that “the reforms that have been made have brought Deloitte, Pfizer, Cisco, etc. And when you see that American companies are making significant investments in the technology sector, it confirms this course,” while he added that after a very difficult decade, “the country is standing on its own two feet and that its best days are ahead.”
Regarding the importance of the relations between Greece and the USA, he noted that the two countries share many common democratic values, while adding: “I always said that Greece was a reliable ally that you can count on. We have an obligation to protect democracy. Do we want a democracy or an authoritarian regime? Can we consider it acceptable that countries invade other countries and cause all this crisis? ‘Civilians are dying…there are a number of challenges in Europe and Biden is doing a great job of working with Europe.”
He described Greece as a country that supported the sanctions against Russia from the very beginning and added that Greece is part of solving the problem created by the Russian-Ukrainian war. “Greece supported the sanctions against Russia the most. It stands against Russia. This is an honour. It is a matter of honour to stand against Russia, supporting basic democratic values.”
Furthermore, referring to the war in Ukraine, he underlined that the war also has secondary effects, such as inflation and the energy crisis.
“The challenges ahead of winter will be huge, huge price spikes and huge food shortages,” he said and added: “Today it is Ukraine, tomorrow it could be another country… so we should support each other. The US cannot remain silent, it should cooperate with partners, and Greece is one of the US’s partners. As an ambassador, I am proud of what President Biden is doing and of the relationship between the two countries.”
He underlined Greece’s stabilising role for the region and noted that the relations between the two countries will be further strengthened, while he made special reference to the energy sector, stressing that Greece is an important energy gateway for solving the problems facing Europe.
When asked if the upcoming elections can change something in the two countries’ relations, the ambassador noted that the relations between the two countries are going from good to better and will continue like this in the future.