The U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, said he is certain that 2018 will be a turning point for the Greek economy, provided the country creates an investment-friendly environment.
“I am convinced that 2018 could be a turning point for the Greek economy, but that depends on creating the right investment conditions […] There’s a sense that a window has opened, but it’s going to be up to the government to sustain the encouraging message that Prime Minister Tsipras conveyed when he was in Washington. In particular, regarding his commitment to welcoming U.S. investment, creating an investment environment that allows for predictability and allows for economic growth,” the ambassador said in a speech at the European Public Law Organization (EPLO) on ‘U.S.-Greek Relations’.
“As American Ambassador, I want to do all I can to support and encourage more American investment here, to create jobs and help create private-sector-led economic growth,” he added.
President Donald Trump made very clear in the course of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Washington that the U.S. is committed to supporting Greece through this economic crisis and is satisfied to see Greece on the verge of emerging from a period of crisis, he explained.
Continuing on the issue of economic recovery, the ambassador said privatizations will create more opportunities in the economy.
“There’s been a lot of press around some major privatization cases. I think I would simply make the point here that whether we’re talking about Hellenic Insurance or other opportunities, for instance around the shipyard in Syros, American companies bring transparency, they bring high standards of corporate governance, they are looking for the same from their Greek partners,” he said, citing the example of Fraport which will improve efficiency and bring investment to the main regional airports.
Another sector of particular importance for Greece and Europe will be investments in energy.
“There is clear interest from American companies. And I’m encouraged also that there is such a convergence between American perspectives, Greek government perspectives, and European perspectives,” Pyatt said and noted the ongoing TAP pipeline project, the floating regassification unit in Alexandroupolis, and the IGB Interconnector.
“It’s an area where Greece is right at the tipping point in terms of establishing itself as a major European energy hub. This was a significant focus of Prime Minister Tsipras’ presentations in Washington.”
Pyatt also cited the Greek startup culture which he said he had an opportunity to see during visits to Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion.
“I am continually impressed by the start-up culture that I see here. I think it’s one of the great untold success stories of Greece, is what’s happening in terms of entrepreneurship and innovation,” he said.