Of the recent developments that stand to significantly affect the course of things in our country and the wider region, two are most noteworthy: the European Union’s Next Generation Recovery Fund and the geopolitical turmoil in the SE Mediterranean.
The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce salutes the EU’s decision on the new recovery package and the 2021-2027 budget, which together raise the amount that Greece will receive in this period to over €70 billion. According to the package, funds will only be released following the submission of thorough project proposals that will detail plans for transforming Greece. The projects themselves will need expert management and implementation and, considering the handling and outcomes of previous development packages in Greece, will also necessitate substantial reforms, transparency, accountability, and bold decisionmaking if Greece is to take not steps but leaps forward and emerge as a modern competitive country.
Of course, another crucial element—and one that most Greek governments tend to neglect—is communication with the public. It is imperative to the success of such projects that citizens understand what the reforms entail, why these are urgently needed, and what is at stake for them and their children. We need communication and transparency, honest dialogue, and proper briefings with facts and figures, and we must involve all kinds of organizations, business associations, labor unions, and chambers of commerce in this process. In the end, changing for the better is not just for the few but for all citizens and especially the younger generation who have every right to expect and claim better prospects in the near future.
Yet while Greece, Europe and much of the world work to navigate these challenging times and build a better, more secure future, we are also witnessing the rise of destabilizing forces that create a clear need for stronger alliances and security policies based on common values. In the face of such outdated but dangerous ambitions for regional hegemonies and forces that seek to upset longstanding geopolitical balances and treaties, it is absolutely essential to strengthen the institutions and organizations that protect the democratic values, freedom of religion and sovereign rights of the region’s citizens and countries. Failure to do so would undermine the foundations of the prosperity and peace between countries that we currently enjoy.
History has shown that tolerance and constant concessions to blind ambitions and rights abuses can lead to widespread catastrophic results. Surely then, it is our collective resolve to stand for the values of democracy and freedom that can avert such unnecessary, painful disasters and ensure longterm peace, stability and prosperity for all.
My wishes for a joyful and safe summer.