Kyriakos Mitsotakis: It is so good to welcome you to Athens to discuss a topic that is beginning to gain more traction in Greek public opinion and I must say I am a big fan of your work. I think it is incredibly important. I think it creates a completely different mindset in terms of how we think about long-term issues, long-term problems, long-term challenges, events which we may consider to be extremely rare but seem to be appearing with much greater recurrence.
We have put together an excellent team, I think, in terms of managing our own policies regarding Foresight, led by the Minister of State. But I also take a very strong personal interest in these issues and I am very eager to discuss with you both best practices, how you can advise us on which are the issues you would like us to focus more on, and to make sure that we also have the proper governance structure, in order to make sure that there is real value coming out of these policies, in terms of also the things we do in the short-term to be very meaningful in the long-term.
Maroš Šefčovič: Thank you very much dear Prime Minister, Kyriakos. It is a pleasure to see also your team, and I think that the most appropriate thing is to start by congratulating you on the very ambitious and excellent Recovery and Resilience Plan. You were really one of the first countries to accomplish the task. As you know it was approved not only by the Commission, but also the Council.
So we hope that thanks to this very successful issuance of the bonds, we will be able to start with prefinancing in a few weeks. Secondly, I would really like to thank you for your personal interest and support for the Foresight, because this is a new, modern, anticipatory governance technique.
As you know we established this network of the 27 Ministers of Future. We want to indeed learn from each other so that we can be better prepared for eventual crises, look a bit into the future. Αnd what would be a better country to talk about the future than Greece? The country of great Oracles of Delphi, Dodoni and all the history where you have been always trying to look over the horizon and look at what awaits us in the future.
I am very glad that we can discuss it because I believe that it could be mutually very enriching and I am really obliged to you that you take personal interest in this.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Thank you for your kind words on the Recovery and Resilience Plan. We did put in a lot of effort and for us it is a great opportunity to transform the country. We have submitted a plan that focuses on the green transition, on digital, on investments, on skills and we want to use these funds as a catalyst to usher in a new, long-term period of sustainable growth for Greece, which also feeds into the discussion.
Maroš Šefčovič: I don’t know if you remember that we met for the first time when you were responsible for Administration and it was the same with me in the Commission.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Of course, I remember. We have concentrated a lot of the competences of digital in one ministry. Even before making good use of the funds of the Recovery and Resilience Fund we have really made significant changes in improving the day-to-day life of Greek people and businesses in terms of how they interact with the state.
And I think people -regardless of party affiliation- give us credit for the fact that we use digital technology to improve their lives. And we are just scratching the surface.
Maroš Šefčovič: It’s very impressive
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: As far as the oracles are concerned, I do encourage my team to be slightly more specific, because the oracles always said whatever everybody wanted to hear. So they were never as specific as we need to be.