Director’s Desk

SEP-OCT 2017|BY ELIAS SPIRTOUNIAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

As we say goodbye to the last days of summer, I hope you have all enjoyed wonderful summer vacations and are back with renewed energy and a refreshed, positive outlook.

Greece has entered the final year of the third bailout program. A quick and successful conclusion of the third review would put our country back on a path of normality, stability, and high prospects. However, it will not be an easy process, as there are still a number of agreed reform obligations that remain to be fulfilled. And it will not be easy because, even after eight years of crisis, there are still several enclaves holding on to obsolete perceptions and insisting on raising obstacles under various pretexts. As I have often mentioned, the enemy in most cases is within the gates, meaning that we are the ones standing in our own way, refusing to make key changes that would help to rapidly improve the business and investment climate in the country.

Our Chamber will, as always, take the lead in initiatives and activities to facilitate positive change. Several major events are planned for the coming period. We have already successfully organized an important forum on energy issues, which was held in Alexandroupolis in September with the participation of three energy ministers and representatives of prominent Greek and international companies from the oil and gas sectors. Three key events are planned for October and November: the annual HealthWorld conference, the largest and most important event in Greece for health policy making; the Greek Pavilion at the AUSA international defense exhibition in Washington DC; and the annual CSR conference, focusing on public engagement and sustainable growth. There will also be additional events on policies and proposals on employment, insurance, education, and tax, as well as on the strategic exploitation of the cultural product—and there’s more to come.

In closing, I would like to refer to the participation of the United States as the Honored Country at the 83rd annual Thessaloniki International Fair next year. Our Chamber, in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Athens and the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki, will undertake the organization of the American Pavilion at TIF 2018. It is a great honor and a major challenge for our Chamber to take on this responsibility, and we look forward with confidence to showcasing the best of the United States’ innovative developments in all areas. Our goal is to make the US Pavilion a pole of attraction for hundreds of thousands of visitors from across Greece and the surrounding region, and to once again demonstrate the very close and enduring relationship between our two countries.

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