Director’s Desk

MAY-JUNE 2018|BY ELIAS SPIRTOUNIAS

As we approach the mid-year, we are entering a phase that is riveting—but also highly ambiguous as concerns the prospects for the economy and the course of the country in general following the exit from the bailout program this August. The situation would be comical if so much wasn’t at risk. With just three months to go, there is still no coherent plan for navigating the transition and the next steps of the country’s economic recovery after August, and this lingering uncertainty gives rise to a heightened sense of insecurity at a time when people should be confident and optimistic about the bailout exit and the future ahead. What this makes clear is that one of the key changes that we must implement moving forward is a change of attitude: We must do away with indifference, fatalism and procrastination and ensure that key values such as responsibility, accountability, preparedness and transparency are at the heart of both our own attitudes and this country’s governance.

Last month I visited Washington and Chicago in the U.S. with my counterparts from other American Chambers in Europe. There, I participated in several meetings and visited numerous companies, and each time I introduced myself, I received positive comments about Greece and its future. Our upcoming exit from the bailout program is very positive, but it needs to be accompanied by a series of strategic moves that will send a clear signal to the markets. A key area to focus on is investments, as in addition to their direct impact on the economy and employment, they also lead to increased confidence and reliability. Greece offers enormous investment opportunities, which should be showcased internationally and supported through the development of new markets and business collaborations. In this context, our Chamber and the Athens Stock Exchange, in cooperation with Enterprise Greece, are organizing the 7th annual Greek Investment Roadshow in the USA, on June 18-22, 2018. Visiting New York, Washington and Chicago, we will meet with institutional and private investors, business organizations and company representatives in an effort not only to attract investments but also to explore potential opportunities for business expansion to the U.S. through the SelectUSA program.

Looking ahead to September, preparations are well underway for the U.S. Pavilion at the Thessaloniki International Fair. A strong number of major U.S. companies have already registered and committed to demonstrate their latest innovative products and services at the Fair, and we thank them for that. Our goal is to show—through the interactive exhibits and engaging presentations we are putting on—what the future holds for us in the coming years and how innovation and technology will further impact every aspect of our lives. We are confident that our team will deliver a top-tier experience at the U.S. Pavilion, drawing the world’s attention to Thessaloniki this coming September.

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