2020 is certainly off to a dynamic start as much for our country as for the Chamber and its activities.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis’s official visit to Washington in early January confirmed the strong ties and growing cooperation between Greece and the United States, a relationship in which the Chamber has played a significant role through its continuous work in both countries and through its involvement in the strategic dialogue between them. A delegation from our Chamber was in Washington for the PM’s visit, participating in many of the events, and using the occasion to sign an agreement with the Atlantic Council for the development of a study that will highlight and promote the prospects of a wider energy alliance between the U.S. and Greece, the multiple benefits of energy developments in the Eastern Med, and the prospects for broader economic collaborations in the region.
Also in January, our Chamber hosted a formal dinner for the Prime Minister, which was attended by a large number of distinguished guests and which included a lively open dialogue between Prime Minister Mitsotakis and AmCham President Nikolaos Bakatselos on timely and important issues of concern to the economy, the business environment, and bilateral relations between Greece and the United States.
As these events set a positive tone for the year ahead, it is important to remember that these kinds of positive developments, growth and prosperity require commitment, hard work, and solid foundations. Indeed, 2020 comes with much promise, but also with many challenges. Unfolding geopolitical developments require calmness and well thought out moves in parallel with a clear, multidimensional strategy for showcasing the country’s advantages across sectors and levels.
While Greece’s improved ratings in international markets send a positive signal for attracting investment, turning these into stable, permanent conditions requires substantial reforms, only a handful of which are already underway. When setting out to run a race or summit a mountain, one must get rid of the things that weigh one down, or risk fatigue, exhaustion, and ultimately even failure. Unfortunately, Greece has not yet done away with many of the things that hold it back, unnecessary relics of the past that still permeate its society and institutions. The longer we take to deal with these and the longer we let potential political costs dictate our actions, the more these burdens become entrenched, bringing fatigue and disappointment to a country that’s eager to step into its future.
Looking to the future, our Chamber, through its rich program of activities, initiatives and recommendations, will continue to remind all stakeholders what is needed to truly turn a new leaf.
Best wishes for a happy, creative and prosperous New Year.