Ambassador Pyatt’s remarks at US presidential inauguration event – Agora, Athens (US embassy photo)
MGR: 200 years since the start of the revolution, Greece is reviving and repositioning as a regional leader with US backing and support. How would you describe Greece’s new role in the important but turbulent Eastern Mediterranean region?
Amb Pyatt: The bonds between our peoples began when individual American friends of Greece, or philhellenes, rolled up their sleeves to help Greek women and men reclaim Greece’s birthright of democracy in the 1820s. For two centuries since then, the United States and Greece have stood shoulder-to-shoulder to support each other’s democracies and promote regional peace, stability, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans.
Today, Greece has emerged from a decade of financial hardship as a pillar of stability in the region, a key U.S. partner, and a provider of solutions to the challenges we face in this complicated region. We greatly appreciate Greece’s resolve to finding diplomatic solutions to tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece is supporting its Balkan neighbors in their progress toward joining Euro-Atlantic institutions and implementing reforms. It is partnering with Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean to deepen defense, energy, and economic ties.
With the completion of major energy infrastructure projects like the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), and the floating regasification unit in Alexandroupoli (FSRU), Greece has become one of our most important partners in pursuing the long-term U.S. goal of diversifying Europe’s energy sources and routes. And with major cloud infrastructure investments from Microsoft, Digital Realty, and Amazon Web Services, Greece is poised to become a leading technology and innovation hub in southeastern Europe.
The United States is fully committed to working with Greece to ensure that the Eastern Mediterranean is a zone of peace, economic collaboration, and growing prosperity for all.
US Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Geoffrey Pyatt
MGR: In recent years, US confidence and interest in Greece increased dramatically, driving more and more US companies to set up their base and invest in the country. What are the reasons behind this recent positive shift?
Amb Pyatt: In 2018, as Greece was exiting its bail-out program, the signing of the Prespes Agreement demonstrated to Washington that Greece could be a regional leader committed to advancing stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans. That year, the U.S. Embassy in Athens collaborated with the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce to bring the very best American technology and innovation companies to the Thessaloniki International Fair, the region’s premier economic and business forum.
Our landmark success as Honored Country elevated the U.S.-Greece relationship to a new level and helped U.S. companies like Microsoft, Pfizer, Cisco, Google, and Deloitte leverage the value proposition that Greece represents with its creative and highly educated workforce, its strategic location, and its rich natural resources.
These companies and many others are now expanding their footprint in Greece, a gateway to the Balkan market of 30 million people, and are looking for other opportunities. At the same time, Prime Minister Mitsotakis’s market-friendly reforms and the government’s handling of the pandemic have enhanced Greece’s reputation as a trusted destination for American investment, paving the way, in particular, for Greece’s emerging knowledge-based economy.
MGR: Which sectors are attracting the most US investment?
Amb Pyatt: Prime Minister Mitsotakis’s ambitious Greece 2.0 plan to lift Greece out of the pandemic-induced recession and make Greece more entrepreneurial and more sustainable, shares many of the Biden administration’s priorities and builds on sectors where U.S. companies are already investing in Greece.
Buoyed by Greece’s efforts to digitize government, protect intellectual property, secure its 5G network, and attract digital workers, American technology and innovation companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon Web Services, and Google are setting down roots in Greece and training Greek youth for the networked future.
American companies are also setting their sights on Greece’s rich renewable resources, especially its year-round sun and wind, thanks to Prime Minister Mitostakis’s bold green agenda, which includes the elimination of all coal-based power before 2028. The U.S. footprint in Greece’s green energy sector is increasing, with companies like Quantum Energy Partners, GE, Fortress Investment Group, Ameresco, Jasper Energy, Blink, Tesla, and EOS Energy Storage bringing U.S. investment and new technologies to the Greek energy market.
Finally, the global pandemic has strengthened and validated the healthcare partnership between our countries. American companies like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Gilead, and Abbott are helping to augment Greece’s COVID-19 response, and they will continue to work with Greece to tackle current and future health challenges with cutting-edge therapies based on AI, big data analytics, and genetic research.
MGR: What is your final message to our readers regarding Greece and the future of Greco-American political and economic relations?
Amb Pyatt: n his call with Prime Minister Mitsotakis to mark the 200th anniversary of Greek independence, President Biden expressed his personal commitment to take the U.S.-Greece relationship to an even higher level and to work together to pursue sustainable economic recovery in the wake of the global pandemic. The ties between our countries are stronger than ever, and we are working with the Greek government to support Greece’s economic recovery, encouraging mutually beneficial American trade and investment in key sectors like energy, infrastructure, tourism, and technology, and helping to get the word out to American investors about the fantastic human capital that Greece enjoys and how we can leverage a very strong government-to-government relationship with Greece to help build the economic foundation moving forward.
The sky’s the limit for what our two countries can achieve together. The United States is fully committed to working with Greece to ensure that the Eastern Mediterranean is a zone of peace, economic collaboration, and growing prosperity for all.