Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ remarks at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh

Thank you, your Royal Highness, for convening this extremely important Summit right before the critical meeting we will have in Glasgow, in a few days from now.

Greece is a member of the European Union. Hence, we are also committed to the goal of making Europe the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050; and our goal with our other EU member States is to reduce our greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030.

In order to achieve this ambitious target, we are undertaking a series of important initiatives. The most important one is to make sure that we stop producing electricity from coal at the latest by 2028.

We’re also pushing hard for the penetration of renewables and we hope that we will be one of the first Mediterranean countries to establish a concrete framework to introduce electricity production from offshore wind. We hope to have the relative piece of legislation up for public consultation within the next weeks. Our goal would be to have 2 GW of offshore wind as part of our electricity production mix by 2030.

Overall, we aim to mobilize more than 25 billion euros in total in investments, helping us achieve our green transition.

We are fortunate enough to receive a lot of support from the European Union towards that goal, through what we call the Recovery and Resilience Fund; 32 billion euros in total will be allocated to Greece over the next seven years and a significant proportion of that amount will be spent on green investments.

I place particular emphasis, Your Royal Highness, on Greece’s position as an entry point of clean energy into the European market.

We have just recently concluded a very important negotiation with Egypt to begin the construction of an electricity cable that will allow very cheap energy, produced from the sun, to enter the European market. But of course, we can also be the natural entry point for liquefied natural gas and, of course, for hydrogen. If there is interest in exporting hydrogen to Europe, Greece would be the first country to welcome these hydrogen exports and then make sure that they make their way into the European market.

I would also like to point out that Greece is the leading shipping power in the European Union, we control 50% of the merchant fleet in Europe. Hence, I aspire to our ship owners being at the forefront of reducing greenhouse gases in shipping. It is a very difficult challenge, as you know, which will require significant investment and significant innovation. But I would hope that we play an active role in that direction.

As you know, we’re also a country that comprises many islands and I think there is a tremendous opportunity to highlight what it means to have islands that become carbon neutral even before the mainland. And we’re in the process of teaming up with various private but also public entities in establishing pilot projects to lead -especially our smaller Islands- towards carbon neutrality.

Finally, on the adaptation side, as you know my country was hit by devastating wildfires last summer. I would like to thank many of your countries who have offered us support during these difficult times. We have decided to set up a dedicated Ministry for Civil Protection and the Climate Crisis, and we would hope to be the leaders amongst Mediterranean countries in developing new techniques to fight wildfires. This is a problem that is unfortunately here to stay.

And finally, an issue which I think is of importance to all of us. The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East is the cradle of civilization. And I think we should put more effort and energy in studying the consequences of climate change on our cultural heritage.

We have an obligation to make sure that what was passed to us from previous generations remains intact. Hence, I think this is a topic where we could unite our forces and think creatively about how to protect cultural heritage from the adverse effects of climate change.

Your Royal Highness, thank you very much again for inviting Greece to this very important Summit.