Dear friends of our Chamber,
On behalf of all of us at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, I wish you and yours health and safety.
The coronavirus pandemic, which started in December 2019, has thrown the world into an unprecedented crisis. The number of victims of the virus is constantly increasing and the situation has brought about a level of disruption never before seen during peacetime—only now we all face a common enemy. The impact on economies, businesses and workers is severe, but we haven’t yet seen its full effect. Sectors such as tourism, transport, and hospitality are among those hit the hardest, and everyone is wondering what the future holds.
Governments, one after the other, are taking special measures to restrict movement and limit the spread of the virus and to financially support businesses and workers. Unfortunately, we are also witnessing an increase in nationalist and isolationist tendencies and myopic policies that seem to willfully ignore the fact that we are all in this together and the only effective way out of it is through cooperation and solidarity. If such trends and policies continue, they will lead to the downfall of longstanding alliances and will disrupt delicate geopolitical balances. In this context, the American Chambers of Europe recently issued a joint statement calling on governments to stand up and act with coordination, determination and solidarity while preserving the European edifice and transatlantic relations.
In Greece, the rapid and decisive introduction of measures has greatly contributed to keeping the number of coronavirus cases and deaths low compared to other developed countries. According to a recent survey conducted by our Chamber, restrictive measures as well as relief measures for businesses and workers have been well received by the country’s business world.
And there have also been some positive side effects on our country from the current crisis. The rapid adoption and adaptation of digital technology at all levels has exceeded expectations, paving the way to a culture of digital transformation. The incredible contributions in money, equipment and services from businesses and ordinary citizens highlight the degree of solidarity and camaraderie. The exceptional response of critical public services and the excellent cooperation with the private sector. The emergence of new, positive role models, from scientists to civil servants, businessmen and ordinary citizens. The crisis has brought out the good in people, and that is wonderful and astonishing. What we must take away from this is that we have to work together, across political divides and petty rivalries, to prepare for what comes next, to find new ways of doing things, to create a new model of operation and development for our country—to build our future.