Thessaloniki.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA, Kathimerini)
The United States U.S. is always in favor of Greece adopting a stabilizing role in the region, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt told journalists in Thessaloniki, adding that the U.S. would like to be part of the negotiations regarding developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. Pyatt was replying on a question regarding the coalition between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
“Geopolitical antagonism is returning in the region after many decades. Greece is our natural ally,” Pyatt said.
Ambassador Pyatt participated at the 3rd Thessaloniki Summit, organized by the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (FING) in cooperation with Symeon G. Tsomokos S.A.
During a conversation with Kathimerini English Edition Editor in Chief Tom Ellis, Pyatt said that Washington supports Cyprus’s right to develop its resources in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The US has been very clear; Washington has spoken repeatedly and consistently in terms of our support for the right of Cyprus to exploit its continental shelf and its resources.”
The U.S. ambassador also underscored “the US State Department’s emphasis on keeping the rhetorical temperature at manageable levels.”
The US ambassador also praised Greece’s role in keeping Turkey anchored to the West.
“There is a high degree of convergence between Washington and Athens on questions around Turkey,” Pyatt said.
“We probably have no stronger ally in NATO in terms of sharing our perspective on both the importance of dialogue with Ankara but also the importance of ensuring that Turkey remains anchored in the West,” he said.
Pyatt also voiced Washington’s support for the name deal between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
“We think [the Prespes deal] is going to get done. History is going to be very kind to Prime Minister [Alexis] Tsipras and Prime Minister [Zoran] Zaev for the leadership they demonstrated in putting this together,” Pyatt said.
“Prespes and the normalization of ties with Skopje is going to be incredibly important for northern Greece in terms of unlocking the potential of this region to serve as the economic gateway to all of the western Balkans, to continue to develop opportunities for energy, for commerce,” he said.
“We see Prespes as the way to restore the historic role Thessaloniki played through hundreds of years as the cosmopolitan capital of the Western Balkans.”
In response to a question about the rhetoric of US President Donald Trump with regard to Europe, Pyatt said his own grandfather, who originally hailed from Inverness, on Scotland’s northeast coast, went to France from New York to fight in World War I.
The familial and historic ties between the US and Europe are what will define our destiny,” he said, adding that the “Euro-trans Atlantic alliance is bed stone.”
US-Greek relations at
center of discussion
The Center for Civic Reform, the US Consulate and the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce hosted a discussion in Thessaloniki on Thursday that focused on the emerging prospects of the northern port city, following the impressive American presence at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September, with more than 55 innovation leaders and 75 events that revealed the depth of US-Greek business and commercial ties.
US Consul General Gregory W. Pfleger, Jr, along with Chip Laitinen, economic counselor at the US Embassy in Athens, and Alexandros Costopoulos from the Executive Committee of the American-Hellenic Chamber and CEO of Foresight held a discussion with more than 150 young people – students, young entrepreneurs and professionals from Thessaloniki – demonstrating that Greece’s young people are determined to move forward and seize the opportunities that come their way.
Pfleger stressed the United States’ commitment to continue supporting Greece and to enhance the enduring and multifaceted cooperation between the two allies.
Costopoulos highlighted the importance of the remarkable momentum in US-Greek relations recently, pointing to a profound interest from leading American companies and institutions in exploring all areas for synergies and investments in Greece.
a treasure trove of
Northern Greece is assuming a greater role as investment destination, according to speakers addressing the Thessaloniki Summit 2018 in the northern city.
As EOS Capital president and CEO Apostolos Tamvakakis explained, for example, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provide a wealth of possibilities, according to an analysis by his joint investments company. “SMEs comprise 99.5 pct of all Greek businesses,” he noted. “In the analysis we did of around 3,000 enterprises, we ended up focusing on about 450 of them. If you see the wealth of turnover these 450 businesses have, it’s impressive. The average turnover rise in these during the crisis was 15 pct annually and their EBITDA averaged 40 pct per year. This signifies that there is a great wealth in SMEs in Greece.”
The average EOS Capital investment totals 10 to 12 million euros, he noted, to be spread over 9 or 10 investments. “We have reached the conclusion that 50 pct (of this investment) will be directed to the sectors of food and beverages, and the rest distributed among all other sectors,” he said.
Of the 450 enterprises his company reviewed, 70 pct are outside the Attica region, and of those outside it over 60 pct are located in the city of Larissa and points north. This area will be the target of 50 pct of the investments, he said.
Economic and Industrial Research Foundation (IOVE) president Takis Athanassopoulos spoke of the “problem with the separation of powers in Greece, they are not independent of one another.” He cited as a model to aspire to New Zealand, “where they have obliged their politicians to confirm that the proposals they table have been tried and tested for good practice elsewhere and proven effective.”