Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Prince of Wales participated today in the teleconference with the Greek Council of the Prince’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), which aims to recognize fundamental rights concerning the ecosystem and the development of a sustainable future.
At the beginning of the teleconference, which is the first session of the Greek Council, the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister made the following remarks:
Prince of Wales: Good afternoon, everybody. Great pleasure to see you all again, even though it’s in this very disembodied form. I’m so grateful to you all for being able to join. And I’m even more delighted that the Prime Minister is here beside me, having managed to make the journey very kindly. And he’s now here at Dumfries House. And I must say I was particularly encouraged to hear about all the discussion you’ve been having on how we can make the SMI Greek Council a really effective catalyst both in Greece and, of course, internationally. And I know just how critical Greek businesses are, for instance, to global industry. And if I may say so, Prime Minister, Greece has a real opportunity to demonstrate pioneering global leadership on the green economy. And similarly, I cannot tell you how delighted I was that Athens was the first city to sign up to the “Terra Carta” principles after our visit to Greece last March, when I think I met most of you on that occasion. And here again, cities with their unique responsibilities and purchasing power have an outsized role, I would suggest, in achieving green ambitions. After all, we need urgent action in view of the crises we face.
And cities are uniquely placed, at the end of the day, to deliver green and sustainable solutions at the community level, be this energy-efficient buildings, green public transportation, or indeed, waste management and utilization. And Athens’ leadership, as a C40 city, has – really encouragingly – inspired more cities to explore the Terra Carta as a helpful roadmap for their partnership with the private sector and with investors. And here I look forward, if we can, to showcasing Athens’ example. Now, I know we only have very limited time, so perhaps I can hand over to the Prime Minister for a brief few words, and then we can perhaps hear from all of you and have a little bit of a discussion in the short time available on next steps in the year ahead. Prime Minister…
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Your Royal Highness, Mayor of Athens, Honored Guests, Ladies and gentlemen. First of all, thank you so much for hosting me in this spectacular setting.
It was really a worthwhile trip to better understand exactly what it is you’ve done here at Dumfries House. As you know, we have committed significant resources towards the restoration of Tatoi. But Tatoi should not just be a weekend destination for Athenians looking to escape the city. It can become a true center of cultural education, vocational training, agribusiness. What you’ve done here is truly remarkable. And the way you have engaged with the local community is really offering young people lots of hope and a much more promising future. So thank you again for sharing these experiences with us. I’m sure they will be put to very good use.
It’s a privilege to be able to participate in this gathering. It’s very important that we’re able to launch the SMI Greek Council. The companies that are participating are all leaders in their respective fields. And of course, Athens has been paving the way towards implementing what it means turning a city with a legacy of environmental issues into a model for a sustainable future. And of course, as you know and as we’ve discussed, the government is fully invested in our green agenda and we also plan to use significant funds available from the Recovery and Resilience Facility towards that purpose, under what we call Greece 2.0.
We are allocating 37% of our total resources under the plan. The plan itself is €32 billion. So we’re talking about a total that exceeds €12 billion towards the green transformation. And of course we are heavily invested in all aspects of that agenda. But we cannot do it without the participation of our leading Greek companies. And it’s a great pleasure to be able to engage with them systematically on this agenda.
We have very bold ambitions when it comes to decarbonization. We’re quickly moving away from coal and of course we have ample wind and solar capacities in Greece, as you know very well, and we’re launching flagship programs around making our buildings more energy efficient. This is probably going to be the most important flagship project financed out of the RRF. And I have a personal strong interest in making sure we preserve Greece’s unique biodiversity, which you have had an opportunity to witness during your numerous visits to our country.
So we would very much like to engage more with the SMI community. I understand there are hundreds of companies that are technological leaders, important financial investors, and it is exactly this interdisciplinary approach which I find fascinating in areas such as shipping, for example, where I aspire Greece to be a leader in charting the path towards decarbonizing shipping.
I’m sure we can learn a lot from this amazing network of companies that you have put together. So I think this is just a first opportunity for the participants to talk a little bit more about what they’re doing in their respective fields, but also for us to be able to coordinate interaction between the network at its global level and what we can do in Greece.
Thank you again very much for giving us the opportunity to engage with this important group of participants.
The main expression of SMI is the Terra Carta initiative. Athens was the first city that adopted the Terra Carta, in March 2021, signed by Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis.
The teleconference, which was organized upon initiative of the Municipality of Athens, was attended by the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis, the CEO of Athens International Airport and President of SMI Greek Council Yiannis Paraschis, the Chairman of Aegean Airlines Eftichios Vassilakis, the CEO of Diana Shipping Inc Semiramis Paliou, the CEO of Ellactor Group Efthymios Bouloutas, the CEO of Energean Mathios Rigas, the President and CEO of Vodafone Greece Haris Broumidis, the member of the Board of Directors of Viohalco Group Michael Stassinopoulos, Filippos and Andonis Lemos representing Avra Foundation and the Vice Chairman of Bank of America Paul Donofrio.