The Prime Minister, accompanied by the Greek delegation, was received by Director Toshiaki Higashihara (Chairman and CEO of Hitachi) and spoke to the members of the Keidanren business federation
The positive prospects of the Greek economy and the reasons why they should invest in it, the Prime Minister analyzed Kyriakos Mitsotakis to executives of Japan’s national business and conglomerates body, Keidanren, in Tokyo. The Prime Minister, accompanied by the Greek delegation, was received by the Director Toshiaki Higashihara (Chairman and CEO of Hitachi) and spoke to Keidanren members.
“This is the first visit of a Greek Prime Minister to Japan since 2005. The main purpose of my visit to Japan and the main purpose of the meetings we will have is to point out that we have managed to overcome this crisis, that the Greek economy is now in a dynamic course and on a high growth trajectory. That we have succeeded in implementing a series of very important structural reforms that have made Greece a much more interesting and attractive investment destination for foreign capital. If you look at our economic performance over the last three years, I don’t think many would bet in 2019 that Greece would be one of the fastest growing economies in the eurozone, as indeed we have been for the last two years,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out in his statement.
Greece has managed to turn the page
The Prime Minister referred to the new Greece which has left behind the years of crisis and is on the path of development as a result of the reforms implemented by the government and the policy of reducing taxes while maintaining the fiscal balance.
“If you look at our public finances, we have definitely left the years of fiscal crisis behind us. We have seen the fastest reduction in debt as a percentage of GDP of any European country. We are projected to have a primary surplus in 2023. And despite the fact that we will have elections in the coming months – these are planned sometime in either April or May – we remain very disciplined in terms of managing our fiscal policy,” noted Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Referring to the improvement of the investment environment, the Prime Minister emphasized: “Comparing 34 OECD countries, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recorded that Greece saw the greatest improvement in the business environment among 81 countries between 2019-2022. And this analysis looked at 91 different economic indicators.”
The Prime Minister also attributed the positive performance and prospects of the Greek economy to the increase in foreign direct investment in the country: “What we saw as a result of all these important changes was a significant increase in foreign direct investment in the country. We had a record year in 2021. We had a record year in 2022. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, they have all committed significant funds to Greece for the construction of data centers. They are also looking at investing in our technology ecosystem.”
Consider Greece as an investment destination, those of you thinking of investing in our region
The Prime Minister invited Japanese businessmen to invest in Greece, explaining the reasons.
“I think you should look carefully at what is happening in Greece. And to the extent that you are interested in investing in our region, consider Greece as an investment destination. I believe it is a combination of three things: a prudent fiscal policy that reduced taxes but without compromising the country’s fiscal discipline, significant reforms on all fronts, and the fact that we have cleaned up our banking system,” noted Kyriakos. Mitsotakis.
“The Greek economy has become much more outward-looking than it was ten years ago. If you look at exports as a percentage of GDP today they already exceed 40%”, added the Prime Minister.
Referring to the digital transformation that has taken place in Greece, he pointed out: “We have invested significantly in ensuring that we facilitate the interactivity of citizens and businesses with the Greek administration. In 2022, we had over one billion digital transactions with the public administration: citizens and businesses transacting with the government through our website www.gov.gr”.
We will reach investment grade within 2023, and this will open up new possibilities for Japanese funds to be redeployed to Greece in the coming years.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the recent upgrades of the country’s credit rating by the rating agencies and the fact that it is one step above the investment grade open up new possibilities for investment.
“Before the financial crisis in Greece, Japanese companies were buying Greek assets worth almost 10 billion dollars per year. Once the crisis hit and we lost investment grade, that basically went to zero. So we went from 10 billion to zero. Now we are literally one step away from investment grade. Fitch upgraded us two days ago to a “step” below investment grade. And I fully expect that we will reach investment grade within 2023, and this will open up new possibilities for Japanese funds to be redeployed to Greece in the coming years as well,” he said.
Referring to the elections to be held in the spring, the Prime Minister pointed out: “I think the rating agencies are still looking at the political situation. They are waiting for the elections to be held. I think we are in an extremely good position to win them. That’s what all the polls show. If the result is as we estimate it and we continue our work, I think it will be a matter of months to reach the investment stage.”
Greece has a very important role to play in the new energy architecture that is taking shape in Europe
Kyriakos Mitsotakis also underlined the role that Greece can play in the new energy architecture that is being formed, on the one hand through the development of infrastructures that upgrade its role as an energy transfer hub and make it a provider of energy security for the wider region, and on the other hand by carrying out its own hydrocarbon investigations. At the same time, he emphasized that Greece is investing in the further penetration of renewable sources into its energy mix.
“We are investing significantly in regasification facilities in Greece, especially in northern Greece. And we aspire to be an energy exporter and energy security provider, at least for our Balkan neighbors. For the first time, we are actively researching for possible natural gas deposits southwest of Crete. The research is being led by ExxonMobil and the early findings are very, very promising.
But at the same time, we have a very, very important role to play in the new Renewable Energy landscape that is developing in Europe. Now, not many people know that Greece is one of the top ten producers of electricity from renewable sources,” he said.
Concluding his speech, the Prime Minister referred to the mutual benefits that the further strengthening of bilateral cooperation will have.
“I believe we have a lot to gain by strengthening this cooperation on many fronts. So I hope that during my stay in Tokyo, I will have the opportunity to present this case about how Greece is changing, to convince you to look more systematically at what is happening in the country, and hopefully to mobilize more funds from this part of the world to invest in our country.
Some Japanese companies are already active in Greece. But I’m sure much more can be done. And I think the more you get to know what’s going on in Greece, and the more, in a way, you let go of some of the stereotypes that accompanied you during the very difficult years of the economic crisis, the more I think you’ll be interested. the story of our economic transformation”, concluded Kyriakos Mitsotakis in his statement.
The Minister of State and Digital Governance also took part in the meeting Kyriakos Pierrakakis, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for Economic Diplomacy and External Affairs Kostas Fragogiannis, the Head of the Economic Office of the Prime Minister Alexis Patelis, the Deputy Government Representative Aristotelia Peloni, the Secretary General of International Economic Relations and President of Enterprise Greece, Vicky Loizou, the Secretary General of Energy and Mineral Raw Materials Alexandra Sdoukou, the Ambassador of Greece to Japan Dimitris Karamitsos-Tziras, the CEO of Enterprise Greece Marinos Yiannopoulos, the CEO of the Export Credit Insurance Organization Grigoris Stamatopoulos, the President of the Board of the Association of Businesses and Industries Dimitris Papalexopoulos and the President of the Administrative Committee of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sofia Kounenaki Efraimoglou.
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