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PM Mitsotakis: Greece offers many investment opportunities for Indian businesses

Featured PM Mitsotakis: Greece offers many investment opportunities for Indian businesses

Addressing the Greek-Indian business forum held in Mumbai on Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis highlighted the opportunities now offered by Greece and assured Indian business people that "the Greece they remember, the Greece of the financial crisis, the Greece that made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, no longer exists."

Greece was now making headlines for all the right reasons, Mitsotakis said, noting that "The Economist" had voted Greece the 'Country of the Year' for 2023, "essentially rewarding us for the significant progress we have made in terms of putting our house in order."
Referring to his official visit to India, Mitsotakis said it was the first visit by a Greek prime minister to India in 16 years, while the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Athens preceding it had been the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Greece in 40 years.

"We have made a lot of progress in the last six months in re-establishing what I consider to be a strategic partnership of great importance," Mitsotakis said, referring to his cooperation and talks with his Indian counterpart.

The prime minister noted that headline indicators regarding the Greek economy were all very encouraging, with the country returned to a path of sustainable growth. He pointed out that the Greek economy has been growing at a much faster pace than that of the Eurozone, while at the same time "maintaining tight fiscal discipline". Mitsotakis stressed Greece has had sharpest reduction of debt to GDP ratio of any European country, while its bonds were trading at a lower spread in comparison with German bonds than those of Italy and were approaching those of Spain.

"Greece from a macroeconomic perspective is clearly a country which is on the right track, as reflected by business activity and the level of investment by domestic and foreign investors, which in 2023 reached record highs," he said, adding that it was expected to overshoot this record in 2024. He also listed the advantages that Greece has to offer for prospective investors in India.

"First of all you just look at the map and you see that Greece is, geographically, the natural entry point, the gateway, the doorstep for Indian companies into the European market. I think this becomes particularly important after Brexit, when Indian companies will be looking for a new European anchor to access the European market.

"Also, when we think in terms of the big geopolitical projects fostering connectivity between the Indo-Pacific and Europe, the IMEC project, eventually it will in one way or another lead to Greece. That is why Greek infrastructure, our ports, our logistics centres, strengthening our supply chains becomes so important and it is no surprise that we already have Indian companies investing in the Greek infrastructure," the Greek premier said, citing GMR's involvement in the construction of the new airport in Kastelli, Crete.

Mitsotakis referred to the bright prospects for cooperation between Greece and India in a number of sectors. "This successful business forum is testimony to the fact that we have significant potential to further strengthen the business ties between our two countries. We had a very fruitful discussion with PM Modi yesterday, we touched upon a broad range of topics covering the strategic partnership between our two countries, issues related to geopolitics, defence and issues related to the very bright future I see in our economic cooperation," he said.
He noted that the forum was an opportunity to talk about the progress Greece has made and why Greece is an attractive investment destination.

"There is a lot of complementarity between sectors where we have a comparative advantage and where India is also quite strong. Take defence, for example, - there is increased interest across the board, not just in Europe but everywhere in the world and we are in the process of revamping, of reshaping our defence industry. He said this applied not just to ammunition but also to drones, while also highlighting the potential in sectors such as shipping and shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, financial services, banking, insurance, agriculture and the future of farming, as well as the strong ICT sector in India and the dynamic tech sector in Greece, which was primarily fuelled by startup companies.

Mitsotakis also referred to the efforts currently underway for the signature of a Mobility and Migration agreement with India, which he said would allow Indian labour to come to Greece to work in an organised manner, to be potentially upskilled or reskilled in Greece, where unemployment had now fallen below 10 pct.

He also particularly highlighted tourism and hospitality as a "great untapped opportunity" and an investment destination "that can go both ways," with both Greek investment in India and Indian investment in Greece.

"When it comes to hospitality, we are only beginning to tap the full potential of what India has to offer. We still don't have a non-stop flight to Mumbai or Delhi to Greece, for example," he said predicting that there will be immediate demand for such flights as soon as they are introduced. He cited the example of the United States, where the number of non-stop direct flights had increased from just one a day to more than a dozen, sharply increasing the number of Americans visiting Greece.

The same could happen with tourists from India, he added, while he also urged more Indian film productions to be shot on location in Greece "and not just Santorini".

Mitsotakis emphasised that Greece offered political stability and noted the similarities with what was happening in India:

"What I can tell you on our behalf is that Greece is currently a country offering very good long-term economic potential. We are also one of the few European countries that offers a high degree of political stability...you may have read alot about fragmented politics in Europe and the rise of populism. We are not in that category, we experimented with populists way before the others did and we don't want to go back to those years.

"I won a re-election in a double election last year, winning a higher share of the popular vote than I did in 2019. So, in that sense, this is very similar to what happened in India. Which I think is the best proof that if governments actually deliver for the people and create prosperity that they can actually spread across society, voters will reward these governments. There are some striking similarities between what is happening in India and what is happening in Greece."

Concluding his speech, Mitsotakis expressed his conviction that this was the start of a very fruitful cooperation between the two countries. "There is much more we can do. Please come and visit us in Greece and I am sure you will appreciate first hand the dynamism of a country that is changing and moving in the [right] direction, in the same way that we appreciate the dynamism of India," he said.