Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ remarks to CNBC on the sidelines of COP26

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Greece is part of the European Union, so we have set ambitious goals in terms of reducing our greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030 and becoming climate neutral by 2050. And we will be passing our first climate law, hopefully, before the end of the year, to make sure that all this is also properly legislated.

CNBC: The one thing you and I know is that there are other crises out there, whether it be COVID whether it be the crisis that you and I have talked about in Syntagma Square so many years ago. Is this the most preeminent crisis of all of them at the moment?

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: There is no doubt that this is an existential crisis for the whole planet. And of course for countries that are in the Eastern Mediterranean, we saw what happened this summer with the horrible wildfires. So we know we need to act, both on the mitigation and on the adaptation side.

We will be faced with natural catastrophes in the foreseeable future, that’s why we created a Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, to make sure that we are better protected when the next natural disaster strikes us.

At the same time we need to look into the future. Greece can play a leading role on various fronts. Look at shipping for example; we control 20% of global shipping, I want our shipowners to be in the front line of innovation surrounding shipping. We don’t know what the solution will be, but we need to invest in alternative technologies now.

We need to protect our islands. They are such unique habitats. And we have a vision of making sure that our islands become carbon-neutral before the mainland. We have the capacity of doing that, especially with the smaller islands that don’t require much energy consumption.

We are looking at turning Greece into a regional energy hub. For example, look at what is happening in the Middle East and in North Africa: we can produce very cheap electricity from the sun, but it needs to be transported to Europe somehow. That is why we are going to construct an electricity interconnection with Egypt.