The Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated on Monday evening in a discussion with Neil Rimer, co-founder of the company Index Ventures, in the context of an event organized by Endeavor Greece on the theme “Greece and the world of 2024”.

Referring to the prospects of the Greek economy and asked about the choice of the “Economist” magazine to rank Greece in first place in terms of performance for 2023the Prime Minister noted:

“We know that exiting a vicious circle and entering a virtuous circle is a good thing. But there is no room for complacency. We still have a long way to go. There is always a tendency to forget the huge price we had to pay because of the crisis, when we lost 1/4 of our GDP. We know we have to move fast and seize opportunities. Whenever we have the opportunity to overtake others, we should be bold enough to at least explore those options.

But I believe we will continue to have growth rates that are significantly higher than the rest of the eurozone. We will continue to reduce our debt as a percentage of GDP. We know that we have to continue a tight fiscal policy because the era of loose fiscal policy is over, so we know that we have to run primary surpluses. However, I believe we have proven that one can achieve economic growth, reduce taxes and maintain fiscal discipline at the same time. Many believed that this was not possible.”

“It was a very pleasant surprise that the Economist ranked us as the best performing economy, the best performing market among all OECD countries, looking at various indicators. I believe it is an important confirmation of the important work we have done in terms of transforming the Greek economy and placing it on a sustainable development path, while at the same time ensuring that we manage public finances in a responsible manner. Of course, I believe that part of the success of the Greek economy is also related to the fact that we have achieved diversification beyond certain sectors, which are certainly still very important for Greek development, such as tourism, and to turn to new sectors.

I believe that the startup ecosystem and the investments we have made in new technologies contribute significantly to changing the production model of the Greek economy. When I look at the big indicators, yes, the growth rate is of course very important, but I am more concerned about the decrease in unemployment, the increase in the average salary and of course the fact that the Greek economy has become much more outward-looking in recent years. Exports make up 50% of our GDP, split equally between goods and services. I think this is probably the best indicator that our strategy is actually working. I think we’re just at the beginning.”

About the possibilities of Greek startupsthe advantages offered by the country and the innovation support policies Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out:

“There is already an ecosystem. Therefore, most of the pieces are in place as far as the community of people active in the business ecosystem is concerned. We have changed the laws and regulatory framework to make it easier to return to Greece with specific tax breaks. I think the stock options system has made a big difference in aligning our tax regime with, essentially, common practices in the start-up world. The regulatory framework has been largely simplified. It is easy to establish a company in Greece. Digital government helps a lot in terms of interaction between companies and government agencies. We have not yet reached the desired point, but it is much easier to establish a business in Greece today.

If you look, however, at what our comparative advantage is, I think it is largely the pool of talented people and the fact that, despite the difficulties, we have a good public university system, which produces graduates who are active and much more knowledgeable about with job opportunities in the startup world. I certainly believe that no one can ignore the quality of life argument, which is very important. We saw this during the pandemic, with digital nomads settling in Greece. In an age where you can work from anywhere as long as you are well connected, these factors become increasingly important.

What I find fascinating is that technology clusters are being developed not only in Athens or Thessaloniki, but also in cities like Ioannina, for example, Patras, or Heraklion. That in itself is a very, very interesting development. Of course, it is no coincidence that these ecosystems are usually associated with good quality universities. Another advantage that Greece has, of course, is its dispersion”.

For harnessing artificial intelligence and the role that Greece can play in this field, the Prime Minister mentioned:

“That is why the Advisory Committee on Artificial Intelligence was established. The portfolio I gave to a group of very talented people was very clear. First of all, how can we use AI to improve public policy and what are the areas that can be truly transformed by AI? We just presented our AI chatbot for It is a very good indication of the real potential of these large language models to further simplify the interaction between the state, citizens and businesses.

Of course, the opportunities are countless, from tackling tax evasion to applications related to civil protection and early fire detection. The point is: let’s look at the policy areas that can really be fundamentally changed by AI and try to pilot applications, apply this cutting-edge technology to achieve better outcomes in public policy.”