Economic relations between Greece and Russia are already very good and can become even better, Alternative Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos said at the opening of the 11th Greek-Russian Joint Interministerial Committee (JIC), which held its first meeting in Moscow on Thursday.
“Tomorrow’s meeting between our Prime Minister with President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev will confirm the very good state of our relations and provide the extra boost that is required,” he added.
The JIC’s works are aimed at promoting bilateral initiatives related to the economy, industry, technology and science, and at planning and promoting related future undertakings. The two sides will also prepare the ground for a series of agreements scheduled to be signed on Friday, in the presence of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Katrougalos, who co-chairs the JIC together with Russian Transport Minister Yevgeny Dietrich, said that Greece and Russia have traditionally enjoyed good relations and added that this is still the case today, invoking numerous meetings in the last period at a ministerial and head of state level.
Katrougalos went on to say that the JIC takes place at an important moment for Greece, when, for the first time in 15 years, the economy has been growing steadily for the six consecutive months, with predictions for next year estimating a further growth of 2.5%. The improvement also reflects the fact that Greece has a new productive model that capitalises on the country’s comparative advantages.
“We view our geopolitical position as one of our main comparative advantages”, Katrougalos said, adding that Greece provides a “natural bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. This is why we want to become an energy, transport and logistics hub, something that is at the core of our bilateral relations.”
Greece, like Russia, is interested in cutting-edge technology, Katrougalos continued, and has developed an advantage in certain areas – for example Renewable Energy Sources, which could be a possible point of cooperation between the two countries.
Finally, Katrougalos referred to relations between Russia and the EU and said that, on this front also, Greece has tried to become a “bridge between our political home, the EU, and Russia.”