Today, Greece reaffirmed its leading and rather significant role in the wider Balkan region and in Eastern and Central Europe. It became the 17th member, of an initiative, which China took over 7 years ago, a very important global and economic force; an initiative concerning the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. And with the addition of Greece, this initiative acquires a special depth in terms of the economy and interconnectivity.
Greece is a rather crucial country in the region. It is an interconnection, trade, financial transactions hub, and a country that is emerging as a pillar of stability, security and cooperation. Of course, with the possibility of multilateral cooperation schemes in the region of the Southeast Mediterranean, along with the Prespes Agreement, the significant role as a leading force in the Balkans that the country takes is emphasized.
Today, we see one of the possibilities that the country could have but did not utilize. Greece should have been a member of this cooperation since 2012, enjoying significant benefits. But, it did not participate for one crucial reason. Because China and the other 16 countries had accepted our northern neighbors to this initiative with their constitutional name at that time, “Republic of Macedonia”. Greece obviously could not participate. Everyone in the country, however, had the impression, that precisely because we did not recognize that country by its constitutional name, everyone else would follow us. However, the opposite was the case.
After the Prespes Agreement, this historical inaccuracy has been restored and today we have come here, because we have a special role in the region, and our neighbors, their new constitutional name, “Republic of North Macedonia”, which apparently has a geographical identification and reference, divides History and is now setting things right.
For many years, we have been losing great opportunities. Today, we are gaining the lost ground. We reclaim our credibility and our momentum. And we become a country that can be more optimistic about the future, capitalizing on the great economic and commercial opportunities that its geographical location offers.
Four years ago, Greece was a bankrupt country, the black sheep in Europe, unable to access the major and critical challenges and developments of the region. With conflicts with its northern neighbors.
Today, Greece is a country that everyone recognizes, it has come out of the great financial difficulty and memoranda, and has regained its access to the markets. Yesterday, we had a record low in the 10-year bond since we began measuring the ten-year bond curve, since 1997. Yesterday we recorded the lowest price in the ten-year bond with 3.3%, the lowest interest rate, which means that we now have cheaper access to the markets in our history.
And, at the same time, we are a country that has regained its credibility in the wider region, its significance, and this ultimately signifies positive developments. We are working to capitalize on opportunities and reclaim lost ground. And this day is an important one as it proves that we are on the right track.