Greece has a ‘steady entrepreneurial environment’

Canada is one of the most important investors in Greece, whose Acropolis is shown here. (Photo:

Canada is one of the most important investors in Greece, whose Acropolis is shown here. (Photo:

In 2020, the resilience of all economies around the world was put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Greek economy was no exception. A swift and effective handling of the situation was mandatory to safeguard the trends of recovery after a long-lasting economic crisis in the country and to empower the national economy in spite of the instability caused by the pandemic.
The government proceeded with targeted fiscal and liquidity measures and a series of reforms to create a solid basis for an overall recovery. To name a few, by December 2020, a new insolvency code had been brought in by Parliament and “Hercules” — Greece’s asset-protection scheme, had already been adopted by most banks, and additional securitization projects were in the pipeline. In addition, the institutional framework for corporate governance has been modernized, the asset development plan has been boosted, plans to address long-standing weaknesses of certain state-owned enterprises have been put into action. Good progress was also being recorded in key policy areas, such as public administration, digital governance, justice, energy, labour, health and fiscal policy. Last year’s advocates for a diversification of the Greek economy proved right.
Meanwhile, Canada, with which we share excellent bilateral relations, is a long-standing ally and friend of Greece. Canada has been home to hundreds of thousands of Greeks for many generations and Canadian tourists always have been welcomed to Greece and we hope to see them soon again in my country. Synergies between universities and bilateral and multilateral agreements are already in place. Given that, I believe the full potential of economic partnership needs to be further explored.
More particularly, Canada is already one of the most important investors in Greece and there are promising trends in our bilateral trade as well. Overall, trade increased by 3.1 per cent in 2020, with Greek exports increasing by 8.38 per cent. The main Greek products exported to Canada are prepared foodstuffs, beverages and spirits, plastering material, lime and cement, mineral fuels, oils and products of distillation, bituminous subs and mineral waxes, base metals and articles of base metal, live animals and animal products and vegetable products. The main Canadian products exported to Greece are base metals, namely aluminum and copper, edible vegetables and roots, oil seeds, oleaginous fruits (such as nuts), grains and seeds, paper or paperboard, machinery and mechanical appliances, pharmaceutical and miscellaneous chemical products.
In looking ahead, the post-COVID era will call for a renewed approach in the economy. Our own national recovery and resilience plan foresees public investments through private-public partnerships, energy-efficiency projects in the public sector, as well as eligible private investments through co-financing and using financial instruments to leverage additional private resources. The Greek economy needs to show a new dynamic in restructuring and upgrading its competitiveness.
We certainly advertise to Canada that Greece is presenting a steady fiscal, legal and entrepreneurial environment ideal for mutually beneficial synergies, and businesses can flourish in sectors such as energy and clean technology, health and high-value export-oriented manufacturing, but also tourism, real estate and food and beverage. The concurrence of our bilateral interests in the above creates clear opportunities for both parties, with tailored co-operation. Our common priorities on innovation, green economy, digital transformation and a focus on infrastructure planning are indicative of what may be achieved in the years to come.
I will conclude with a recent quote by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis describing the new opportunities presented to foreign investors: “People are looking at Greece for investment, not necessarily just in those sectors where they always wanted to invest in Greece, such as tourism. Look at the Pfizer example; they set up a big data centre in Thessaloniki. And it’s not the only example of companies that are looking to invest in data science, employ talented Greeks and pay good salaries.
In year 2021, Greece is celebrating 200 years since the beginning of the Greek Revolution. We are adamant that independence, courage and democratic values may serve humanity, forge the various aspects of co-operation between countries and nations and build upon a prosperous future for all.

Konstantina Athanassiadou is the ambassador of Greece to Canada. Reach her at or by calling 613-238-6271.

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Category: Diplomatica

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