U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Thursday said he believes that 2018 will be a turning point for Greek economy, provided the country creates an investment-friendly environment.
Pyatt spoke at an event organized by the European Public Law Organization (EPLO) on “U.S.-Greek Relations”.
“I am convinced that 2018 could be a turning point for the Greek economy, but that depends on creating the right investment conditions […] There’s a sense that a window has opened, but it’s going to be up to the government to sustain the encouraging message that Prime Minister Tsipras conveyed when he was in Washington. In particular, regarding his commitment to welcoming U.S. investment, creating an investment environment that allows for predictability and allows for economic growth,” the ambassador said.
“As American Ambassador, I want to do all I can to support and encourage more American investment here, to create jobs and help create private-sector-led economic growth,” he added.
Pyatt also said that U.S. President Donald Trump made it very clear in the course of the recent Greek prime minister’s visit to Washington, that the U.S. is committed to supporting Greece through the economic crisis and is satisfied to see Greece on the verge of emerging from a period of crisis, he explained.
The U.S. ambassador further stressed that privatizations will create more opportunities in the economy:
“There’s been a lot of press around some major privatization cases. I think I would simply make the point here that whether we’re talking about Hellenic Insurance or other opportunities; for instance around the shipyard in Syros, American companies bring transparency, they bring high standards of corporate governance, they are looking for the same from their Greek partners,” he said.
On potential U.S. investments Pyatt said that, “There is clear interest from American companies. And I’m encouraged also that there is such a convergence between American perspectives; Greek government perspectives, and European perspectives,” and used as examples the ongoing TAP gas pipeline project, the floating regasification unit in Alexandroupolis, and the IGB Interconnector.
Regarding the Evros prefecture where the major energy projects are in progress, Pyatt said that, “It’s an area where Greece is right at the tipping point in terms of establishing itself as a major European energy hub. This was a significant focus of Prime Minister Tsipras’ presentations in Washington.”
Finally, the U.S. ambassador praised the Greek startup culture which, he said, he had an opportunity to see during visits to companies in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion:
“I am continually impressed by the start-up culture that I see here. I think one of the great untold success stories of Greece is what’s happening in terms of entrepreneurship and innovation” he said.