Doha: Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic H E Kyriakos Mitsotakis said yesterday that his country is keen to boost ties and expand cooperation with the State of Qatar to include further fields, stressing his belief in Qatar’s potential to host a successful FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), H E Mitsotakis said his first official visit to Doha was an occasion to enhance and broaden bilateral cooperation and deepen the relations between both countries. “Areas such as trade, transport, energy, culture, education, investment, tourism, and sports, constitute the core of our set priorities. Qatar is widely known to possess significant potential and expertise in these fields,” he said.
He added, “There are many areas of common interest and issues of regional and international concern where there is room for greater collaboration.”
Describing investments as a priority to enhance bilateral cooperation, Mistotakis said, “Greece is a natural entry point for trade with the European Union and Europe more broadly. It is quickly becoming an energy hub and offers various high-quality investment opportunities.”
In this respect, he added, “The Greek economy is recovering rapidly and robustly from the crisis of the previous decade, in spite of the strong headwinds caused by pandemic-induced slowdowns, the ongoing energy crisis and the subsequent inflationary environment”.
Commenting on the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, HE the Greek PM said, “The entire world is eagerly anticipating, as this is the first time in the history of FIFA that the World Cup is hosted by an Arab country”.
He congratulated the State of Qatar on the “meticulous organization”, expressing his confidence in Qatar to offer a successful world cup edition. “We wholeheartedly wish every success to Qatar for this noble and daring endeavour. The success of the tournament, of which I am convinced, will prove the existing vigor, vision and determination of Qatar, as well as the vibrant dynamism of its people as a whole,” he said.
HE Mistotakis highly appreciated the Qatari diplomatic efforts that contributed to resolving regional and international issues, as well as its endeavors to promote dialogue over the past years.
“I would like to warmly congratulate HH the Amir for his pivotal role in bringing about a successful outcome to Qatar’s challenging mediation on Chad. The recent signing of the Doha Agreement constitutes a decisive step towards reconciliation and the promotion of peace in Chad,” he said, showing his confidence that “the Doha Agreement will serve as solid ground for the National Dialogue process, which has started in N’Djamena, to bear fruit”.
He also commended Qatar’s humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, saying “In this context, I would also like to congratulate Qatar on its crucial role in coordinating the safe transfer of people from Afghanistan this time last year. It is thanks to Doha’s intensive efforts that the smooth operation of flights, along with a safe haven in Qatar, was secured”.
Commenting on the current situation and prospects of his country’s domestic economy, he noted that his country’s “economic activity expanded by more than 8 percent in 2021, in the first quarter of this year we saw our GDP growing by 7 percent and our summer tourism season is going exceptionally well, even by pre-COVID standards. Although the war in Ukraine inevitably affects the entire EU economy, the European Commission steadily projects that the Greek economy will outperform most of its EU peers in terms of growth both this year and in 2023.”
In this regard, Mistotakis also pointed out that attracting foreign investments was the key objective of his government over the past years. He said, “Foreign direct investment reached a 20-year high in 2021, while gross fixed capital formation increased by 12.7 percent in the first three months of this year”, attributing this success partly to “the fact that Greece also has a highly-educated and skilled workforce”.
He further indicated the measures taken to accelerate foreign direct investments. “Our updated legal framework relating to FDI provides a friendly, safe and reliable environment for investment, reducing red tape. Among others, we are focusing on the development of offshore wind parks, we are constructing an FSRU unit for LNG cargoes off the port city of Alexandroupoli, with plans to build another one nearby,” he said.
He added that his country welcomes Qatari investors based on the promoted infrastructure projects across his country. “We invite our Qatari friends to explore and evaluate the existing promising investment opportunities, we are promoting big infrastructure projects throughout the country -including data storage and transmission sites- and the digital economy…Greece offers many investment opportunities in various fields, from Energy -including renewables- and Tourism, to Infrastructure and Real Estate,” he said.
HE Mistotakis described his country’s exit from the enhanced surveillance framework as “a watershed moment for Greece, as it signifies the end of a difficult 12-year period that was marked by a prolonged recession, strife and the rise of populist forces.”
“Greece will now have the opportunity to operate more freely, without however allowing the damaging exorbitant or unnecessary fiscal outlays that were commonplace in the past,” he added.
He said, “The investment inflows, combined with the significant fall in the unemployment rate over the past three years, show that the private sector already has confidence in this government and its policies, investing capital and creating new jobs,” explaining that the end of enhanced surveillance marks the transition that Greece has been able to achieve through the enormous sacrifices of its people and the strength of its institutions.