Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis more-or-less “preached to the choir” on Tuesday afternoon, telling delegates at the annual general assembly of Greece’s federation of major employers and industries that now is the time to invest in the east Mediterranean country.
Mitsotakis’ pro-reform credentials and his center-right’s government emphasis on business-friendly policies to jump-start the Greek economy after nearly a decade of bailout programs and a year of pandemic-induced recession were on full display at the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises’ (SEV) general assembly in Athens.
Joining Mitsotakis on stage, by video link, was another recent “favorite son” on the global corporate stage, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who referred to “now suitable conditions for the country’s progress”.
On his part, the Greek premier told an audience comprised of most of Greece’s top executives and company owners that “with certainty I can say that the prospects of the economy are excellent. I am certain that conditions exist for a leap in progress; Greece will leave behind a painful decade and change the way it’s seen on the (global) landscape”.
His comments came during two hours of discussion with Bourla and SEV President Dimitris Papalexopoulos.
The Pfizer CEO told delegates that he’s received positive feedback over the country’s economic course during the pharmaceutical giant’s efforts to open a digital innovation hub in his home town, Thessaloniki.
“The country has emerged from a difficult period, now is the opportunity; Greece can now take off; Greece business-people must now take on more initiatives, we often give more significance to what the government does rather than what we do. However, this mentality has changed. There’s a golden opportunity now for the country,” Bourla said from New York City.
Taking the “baton” from Bourla, Mitsotakis said his government’s blueprint for growth includes a “digital revolution” and an economy based on low to zero emissions.
In looking back at his government’s nearly two years in power, Mitsotakis said the primary axes were to focus on lower taxes without endangering fiscal balance; structural changes and reforms, which he said will now be accelerated with the end of the pandemic, and finally, interventions in the credit system. In terms of the latter, he said NPLs plaguing banks’ balance sheets have been reduced and credit for investments boosted.