Director’s Desk

JAN-FEB 2017|BY ELIAS SPIRTOUNIAS

One of the most brilliant minds of our era, Albert Einstein, famously said that the definition of insanity is to do something over and over again and expect a different result. Clearly, the results we have witnessed in Greece following eight years of serious crisis indicate that we must indeed introduce a new set of approaches to solve persistent problems.

The political leadership of Greece has been intent on maintaining a status quo of relations that precludes national consensus, compromise, and an overarching concern for the Greek people. In other words, our political leadership is undermining our own recovery by doing the same thing over and over again and promising the Greek people a different result. In light of such sclerosis, it is up to the private sector, as much as possible within the constraints of capital controls, heavy taxation, and an inflexible memorandum, to create the conditions for its own recovery, to break out of old habits of bureaucracy, and to demonstrate beyond any doubt that Greece can enjoy a robust, healthy, and sustainable economy with the correct measures in place.

The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, by focusing on growth and jobs, is determined, despite the harsh conditions, to be a catalyst in this effort. Our Chamber is determined to create not only a strong, united voice that represents progressive change, we are determined to demonstrate, through our actions, initiatives, and practices, that Greece’s private sector can be one of the best in Europe.

Our member companies have taken the lead in introducing creative disruption in a wide number of sectors: pharma and healthcare, technology, tourism, agrotech, energy, education, culture, taxation, and others.  Our annual conferences have become paragons of win-win policy suggestions, synergies, dialogue and solutions. Our committees work tirelessly to engage in a public-private debate that sets the stage for change. In many cases, the State listens—and based on the expertise we offer, is beginning to listen more.

In 2017, the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce is planning to inaugurate a variety of actions designed to boost Greece’s economic potential so healthy growth begins. Our focus on jobs is beginning to see results, with new policies shifting the unemployment rate slowly down.

In 2017 our Chamber completes 85 years of a remarkable and successful presence in the country. All of us, BOD, personnel and members, are very proud of our historical path and, based on that, and our current strengths, we are confident that our efforts will be recognized as agents of change and catalysts for success—based on a new set of approaches to solve our persistent problems.

On behalf of our Chamber I wish a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all.

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