The Prime Minister attended the Conference and participated in the discussion, earlier today, in the offices of Morgan Stanley, in London, in the context of the Greek Investment Conference organized by the bank in cooperation with the Athens Stock Exchange.
During his discussion with the head of Morgan Stanley International Franck Petitgas, the Prime Minister pointed out the particularly good performance of the Greek economy, the fact that the country has turned into an investment destination, the geopolitical and energy advantages of Greece, the elections dilemma and the main political goals for the coming years. Introducing the Prime Minister, Mr. Petitgas acknowledged the economic course of Greece and its prospects, in this adverse international environment. “We feel very bullish in our case in Morgan Stanley, particularly bullish compared to the rest of the world, across all the sectors,” he said.
We have a record year again in 2022. I expect another record year in 2023
“If you look at our growth rates for 2022 we are going to be close to 6%, in 2023 we expect 1.8% which is three times the eurozone average. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being higher. Most importantly for me is that this growth has real sustainable characteristics. It is making the economy much more extrovert,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
“We have been able to convince international investors that this is really the time to be in Greece. If Foreign Direct Investments is an indicator of the interest that Greece has been able to generate, we have a record year again in 2022. I expect another record year in 2023. There is a variable – which I am sure you will ask me about – which has to do with the elections and the political situation. Once this is going to be resolved, I would expect a new impetus in terms of investor interest in Greece,” added the Prime Minister.
I am optimistic that we will be able to succeed in forming a government on our own. I also expect a new wave, a new boom of investments, because we will have four years ahead of us.
Referring to the elections and analyzing the process of the second elections, the Prime Minister pointed out “Should a double election be of concern to investors? I don’t think so. Because the elections will take place very very quickly. We are talking about weeks not months, maybe 4, 5, 6 weeks of interim government between the first and the second election. The choice, I think, in Greece now is very very clear. Greeks are looking at four years of our government. Our main competitor is the ex Prime Minister, who ran the country before me. So the comparison is very very clear. Four years of Tsipras and SYRIZA, four years of me and New Democracy. We have a record. They have their own record”.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to who can steer the ship in these unchartered waters. Greeks want to feel safe and they want to make sure that we don’t return to this high-tax, low growth environment of the previous government. I am quite optimistic that we will be able to succeed in forming a government on our own. I do expect also a new wave, a new boom of investments. Because we will have four years ahead of us, hopefully with fewer crises,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The priorities for the new four-year term. The quality of growth, sustainability, the digital and social aspect are part of our policies on all fronts
“I always believe that you need two terms in Greece, two full terms to completely turn the corner and to make the case that we change league in terms of how the country is perceived. People associate Greece now with positive feelings. In the past, when you spoke about Greece during the financial crisis, there were always difficulties- debtor-creditor relationships, crisis, social unrest. First thing that comes to mind about Greece now is not that. That is important”, stressed Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Referring to the priorities of the next four-year term, the Prime Minister pointed out:
Essentially what I am aiming for is a very very rapid not just convergence with Europe, but sort of the replication of something similar to the Irish story, which is a country that started with significantly lower wealth as a percentage of its population and ended up being a high performer at the European level. There is no reason whatsoever why Greece cannot do something similar.
“The priority for me is the quality of growth”, added Kyriakos Mitsotakis. This is not just about 5, 6, 7% or 2 or 3% in difficult years of growth. Is the growth sustainable? This is a top priority for me. Do we focus on the digital transformation in a way that will allow us to lead from other countries? And will it be socially just in terms of making sure that disposable income and wages, especially lower wages, actually come up and everyone has a fair share in the wealth that we create. So for me the quality aspect of the growth that we can produce is very important and the sustainability, digital and social aspect needs to be part of our policies on all fronts. I want to push unemployment well under 10% and we are on a path to actually do that. And of course, big focus on reskilling, educating our workforce, opening up our universities to the challenges of the future. And on the social front, a big emphasis on healthcare”, said the Prime Minister.
There is some serious research activity taking place by Exxon and Helleniq Energy southwest of Crete and the Peloponnese. Exxon is very very interested in this space and I presume they have some good indications
Referring to the issues of energy sources, the Prime Minister explained the government plan: “We need to move away from Russian gas as quickly as possible, which means we need other sources of gas in the short-term. Greece can play a role in this on two fronts: first of all, as a hub for LNG. There is a lot of investment taking place, a lot of LNG that will come into Europe and in the wider region through Greece. And Greece also, for the first time in many years, looks into it as it has its own hydrocarbon resources, its own natural resources. There is some serious research activity taking place by Exxon and Helleniq Energy southwest of Crete and Peloponnese. Exxon is very very interested in this space and I presume they have some good indications. We will know, probably in a year, if something meaningful is to be discovered”.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that Greece is a leading force in the penetration of renewable sources into the energy mix: “Of course, we are also an important player when it comes to renewables. We are big renewable producers. We have 10GW installed in wind and solar, maybe another 2.5 in hydro. We want to get up to 25GW. We want to be a net exporter of energy. For us, it is really a challenge. We have enough investor interest. It is a question of prioritizing investments, making sure we have the grids and the infrastructure in place to bring in all this renewable energy. And of course, we can also bring in energy from Africa”, he said.