“It’s very clear that Greece has turned the corner and that Greece in 2022, entering 2023, has no comparison to the Greece of the crisis. And this was important for us to change the perception of the country”, stressed the Prime Minister in the dialogue he had with the Founding Partner and Group Managing Director of AXIA Ventures Group, George Linatsas.
In a discussion regarding the prospects of the Greek economy and with the participation of representatives from more than 70 international investment schemes, the Prime Minister pointed out that “Greece now is viewed by many as a pillar of stability and of significant investment opportunities, at a time when other European countries are facing significant challenges. And I think we’ve been good at leveraging our systemic comparative advantages”.
“We’re already well into our fourth year. We’ll have elections in 2023, we have a very ambitious reform agenda. If anything, we’ve learned also from our mistakes. And I’m very sort of tough with my team and my ministers to always look at what we do well, look at what we have not done well. So I think in our second term we’ll be much more focused in terms of delivering real reforms. And if anything, our appetite for reforms is much stronger now”, added Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
As the Prime Minister pointed out, “we also have a much better sense of the priorities that we want to tackle, but overall it’s a question of staying in the course. I’ve always made the case that Greece needs two full terms of one government in order to really put it on a different growth trajectory. I think we’ve done a significant chunk of the job. But there’s so much more to be done. I think if you have a government that stays in power for two terms, then it is very, very difficult to undo the progress that we would have made by that”.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that addressing the energy crisis is going to be a big challenge for this winter. However, as he noted, “I think we still have some assets we have not fully used. There’s a lot of money that’s going to flow especially into Greece from the RRF that will, I think, help cushion the blow and help us- and I’m convinced about that- avoid the recession in 2023. If anything, I think the Greek economy is significantly going to outperform the Eurozone economy in 2023, while at the same time making sure that we are innovative in terms of our public policy initiatives to find money to support vulnerable businesses and households”.
He also pointed out that “We started exploration activities after ten years of talking, southwest of Crete and southwest of Peloponnese, where there are indications that there may be significant gas findings. We’re doing it with ExxonMobil, with Hellenic Energy. I keep calling it Hellenic Petroleum, but with Hellenic Energy. We need to know if there’s something worth exploring. And I think we’ll have the results very, very soon”.
“I think we’re quite well positioned in terms of our alliances. We have not just a strategic alliance with a member of the European Union, a strong strategic alliance with France, but also a very strong relationship with the United States as we speak,” he mentioned.
Asked to comment on the forthcoming national elections, Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out: “I think we’re a good government. People trust us. We’ve made our mistakes, we’ve been honest in acknowledging them and trying to act upon them. And the opposition hasn’t really changed at all. If you look at SYRIZA and Mr. Tsipras today, he says exactly the same things that he was saying in 2015. It’s sort of staggering that they haven’t learned anything from their defeat and that they still behave in the same sort of arrogant manner. We had four years of Tsipras, we have four years of our government. I think the comparison is very clear. People are concerned about the economy and they’re also very concerned about geopolitics. They want to make sure that they can sleep at night without being concerned about the direction of the country”.
Referring to the digital transformation of the country, the Prime Minister stressed that his objective would be for this technology to represent 10% of the country’s GDP. “But I think what happened when it comes to the digital revolution in Greece is, I think, by all objective standards, impressive. First of all, in terms of the interaction between citizens and the state, it’s been a complete transformation. Our gov.gr site has really changed the way businesses and individuals interact with the state. And I think this, it was really an opportunity for us to leapfrog other countries. If you look at our vaccination program, it was digital from end to end. The EU digital certificate was our idea. So we’re actually leading at the European level when it comes to various aspects of the digital transformation. This was unthinkable three years ago. But if you also look at the tech ecosystem, it’s really booming in Greece. Lots of interesting companies doing fascinating things. Lots of foreign investment in these sectors, from data analytics to big data centers. All the big tech companies are present in Greece investing actively in the country,” pointed out Kyriakos Mitsotakis.