Saudi Arabia and Greece share many commonalities
Each year, March 25 marks the insurrection of the Greek people against the Ottoman Empire and the rebirth of an ancient and great nation-state, the cradle of European civilization. Today, we celebrate the 202nd anniversary of that day in Riyadh with our Saudi partners and friends.
Our countries share much in common. Both modern Saudi Arabia and Greece have origins in ancient and distinguished civilizations, and both are committed to peace, stability, security, and development in the region. Because of this, Greece attaches considerable importance to the strategic relationship it has forged with the Kingdom.
Thanks to the successful visits of our prime minister to Riyadh in October 2021 and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Athens in July 2022, the last two years have been extremely fruitful in the promotion of our bilateral ties. Our leaders set up a Strategic Partnership Council that will allow for annual summits, while seven different sub-committees will be working throughout the year to explore further opportunities in government and business.
During the last year, over 20 government-to-government and business-to-business agreements and memoranda of understanding have been signed between Greece and Saudi Arabia. They have built a framework of cooperation in fields such as renewable energy, infrastructure and connectivity, culture, sports, science, healthcare, shipping, and many other sectors. Greek and Saudi businesses are increasing their synergies in mutually beneficial projects while exploring additional opportunities since our economies have many complementarities.
Both modern Saudi Arabia and Greece have origins in ancient and distinguished civilizations.
Another very promising development was the formal setting up of our Greek-Saudi Business Council last October in Athens with the participation of many prominent businesspeople, such as its two chairpersons, Lubna Al-Olayan from Saudi Arabia and Achilleas Konstantakopoulos from Greece. This council, backed by our relevant chambers of commerce, will guide our private sectors to explore and better seize the many opportunities across a variety of business fields.
Saudi Arabia has embarked on a significant reform program through Vision 2030, which is changing the face of the country at an impressive speed. Greece, with its expertise, is eager to participate and support Saudi Arabia in its future course. In a nutshell, Greek enterprises in the fields of construction, consultancy, logistics, design, engineering, project management and others, are very interested in being part of Vision 2030. At the same time, there are significant opportunities for investment from Saudi Arabia to Greece in the fields of infrastructure, tourism, energy, renewable energy sources, information and communication technologies, health, and logistics.
For example, in the field of energy, Greece could easily become a hub for transporting energy from the Gulf toward Europe, as well as a bridge between the Arab world and the European continent. An extra support mechanism in this direction is EU funding, part of the Greek National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which allows for significant investments in the fields of innovation and green energy. These are expected to exceed €44 billion ($47 billion) by 2030 through 21 actions financed by the aforementioned funding. As far as the hydrogen energy sector is concerned, there are also many opportunities for cooperation. Hydrogen is going to be an important part of our country’s energy mix and a key to the decarbonization of our economy.
Greece is also an ideal investment destination, as it offers access to all markets in the EU, the wider Mediterranean area, the Middle East and North Africa. The Greek government has also created the necessary legislative framework for attracting strategic foreign investments by very recently voting on an array of lucrative incentives.
We will continue to work closely together in all fields and support each other as strategic partners. As we celebrate Greek Independence Day, we know that our Saudi friends are celebrating with us.
- Alexis Konstantopoulos is the Greek ambassador to Saudi Arabia.