“Ι can say with great confidence that, from an American perspective, the time to invest in Greece is now.”
That was the pinnacle of US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt’s remarks during the 2019 Southeast Europe Energy Forum on September 6 in Thessaloniki
Pyatt cited recently elected prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his new administration’s promises to cut through bureaucratic “red tape” to make the country more appealing to foreign investors.
“I know that the government is fully committed to working with the private sector and moving forward with reforms,” he said. “Their intention is to exceed expectations and to demonstrate results as rapidly as possible.”
The ambassador added that Greece has become a key American economic partner and that the country plays a leading role in southeastern Europe’s energy sector.
His statements came after US Secretary for Commerce Wilbur Ross had met with Mitsotakis and his team in Athens.
Pyatt applauded the Greek administration’s eagerness to build relationships with petroleum partners ExxonMobil, Total and Hellenic Petroleum. The companies are waiting for final approval for offshore exploration permits — which still await final ratification in Greek parliament.
In an interview (see video below) with the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, Pyatt said that Greece offers “great potential” for offshore exploration and cited ExxonMobil — the world’s largest publicly traded petroleum enterprise — as an ideal partner.
The ambassador also praised Greece’s commitment to facilitating more renewable energy permits to foreign investors, which he said would “sound the clarion call” that American investors needed to hear.
“American companies have much to offer Greece in [the energy sector],” he said. Thereafter he referred to General Electric’s new wind energy park in Kato Lakomata as an example of the “very best in American technology, innovation, and sustainable, environmentally friendly practices.”
The US has increased involvement in places such as the northern city of Alexandroupoli, which Pyatt called a “crucial link” to energy security, regional stability and economic growth in Europe.
American partners are working with Greece to complete a more than $2 million US Army-funded project that will remove the large sunken boat known as “Olga” from Alexandroupoli’s port. The project aims to re-open the port to more traffic in order to increase the city’s appeal for commercial investment.
On Friday, Pyatt traveled to the northern city with Greek Minister of National Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos to review the project’s progress.
See the interview
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