By Eleni Vasiliki Bampaliouta
In a climate of euphoria and positive acceptance for investment opportunities, Greece can play a leading role in the geographical region of the Southeast Mediterranean. The country is shedding its evil self and the previous decade seems now to be a bad dream that is finally in the past.
The occasion for this foreword was an important Forum which was organized for the first time in Greece at the initiative of the Joseph Sassoon Group on Wednesday, September 27, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center entitled “Creating Links” and highlighted the importance of multi-level partnerships between Greece, USA, Cyprus and Israel. Host of the Joseph Sassoon Group, former US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo.
The Forum aimed to re-attract US businesses and investors to the region, while providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs, startups and micro, small and medium-sized businesses to engage with investors, global industry leaders and senior government officials and to explore possible cooperation and financing opportunities. Mr. Pompeo was the keynote speaker and offered a positive vision for the future in Greece in terms of economic security and stability.
The organization of the American Mediterranean Investment Forum took place at a time when there is a rapid increase in Foreign Direct Investments in Greece, with the result being evident in the overall development of the Greek economy and the confidence shown by foreign investors. Leading figures from Israel and Greece in business, investment and politics attended the Forum. The event was also honored with their presence by the Ambassador of the United States of America to Greece, Mr. Giorgos Tsounis, the Ambassador of Israel, Mr. Noam Katz, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyriakos A. Kenevezos. It was also attended by leading ministers of the government, parliamentarians and officials from the opposition parties, representatives of institutions, organizations, businesses and structures that support the investment and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Greece.
At the core of the topic, which was structured in three panel discussions, were the investment relations between the USA, Greece, Israel and Cyprus in key sectors such as energy, tourism, real estate and technology. The development of business networks in the Mediterranean basin and the encouragement of trade, investment and new business transactions were also at the center of public discussions.
David Sasson, president of the Sasson foundation: the investment world of the West will come to Greece – two major projects will take place in the country
The Forum was opened by David Sassoon, who announced that the project for the construction of an innovation park, with laboratories and offices, in Thessaloniki, next to the city’s airport, is in the final stretch. The construction will start by the end of the year and will be completed by the first half of 2026. In particular, it became known that Sasson will build a research center in Greece, focusing on artificial intelligence, computing, while an invitation was sent to Israeli entrepreneurs with companies innovation, so that they have access to the European market. As he said, this is an investment of 15 million dollars.
The group’s second investment in Greece will be in collaboration with the University of Maine and will concern technological products related to construction and infrastructure, such as bridge support, etc. Investment worth $5 million, as reported.
Then, referring more broadly to the investment opportunities of the Mediterranean region, David Sassoon proceeded to estimate that the investment world of the West will come to invest. He underlined the need to create an investment vision for the region and suggested solving issues of double taxation and harmonization of tax incentives across the region, training human capital with modern skills.
As he said, the countries of the region represent 15% of the world’s GDP and 52% of the world’s population by 2050 and that they were not on the “radar” of Western investors in previous years. He also noted that there is scope for investment as there is a low level of development. If the per capita income doubles by 2030 we will reach a GDP increase of 25%. Capital investments are very low, he additionally observed. In this context, he underlined the need for foreign investments on the one hand and the utilization of investment opportunities and financial tools on the other. Finally, he identified as a risk for investors the inflationary outbreaks in many countries of the region.
It is noted that David Sassoon’s family originates from Thessaloniki. “My grandmother and my father were born in Greece” he said and brought to his memory moments from his childhood and his visits to our country. The ties between Greece and the USA are close, said former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at the 1st American Mediterranean Investment Forum, organized by the Joseph Sassoon Group at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “We have always considered Greece a NATO center for the region” he said and underlined that Greece is the best place for someone to invest and bring prosperity.
George Tsounis, US Ambassador: Greece a pillar of stability in a region that has a lot of instability
Afterwards, the American ambassador to Greece, Mr. Giorgos Tsounis, spoke, who expressed the belief that strong economies lead to prosperity and ultimately to peace. Regarding Greece, he said that it has recorded great economic progress and that it has attracted significant investments. In particular, he said that Greece has recorded a 6 billion dollar surplus in the first 8 months of the year and is a country open to investment and said that there is great investment interest from American companies. He made special reference to the energy and logistics sectors. In fact, he appeared confident that Greece’s best days are ahead.
Focusing on the energy role of Greece, he said that it is a hub of the region and announced that the US will continue to support Greece. As he said, “Greece will be the energy access country that will allow Europe to get off Putin’s back.” Extending his reasoning, he said that Greece is a guarantor of stability in the region. He emphasized the energy role of Greece. It is an energy hub in Europe, which is very important, he said. Finally, Giorgos Tsounis emphasized that Greece can be a gateway with its ports which play an important role and help the regions that need it.
Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary of State: The ties between Greece and the US are close – Greece is an amazing place to invest.
The ties between Greece and the USA are close, emphasized former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at the 1st American Mediterranean Investment Forum, organized by the Joseph Sassoon Group at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “We have always considered Greece a NATO center for the region” he said and underlined that Greece is the best place for someone to invest and bring prosperity.
At the same time, the 70th US Secretary of State did not fail to mention trade relations and emphasized the energy prospects of the region. He suggested the need to observe rules in bilateral and international relations. At the same time, he sent the message that “we should be ready, faster , in proper ways to protect any sovereign state, so that no one bad can usurp a country.”
In particular, he referred to the need to resolve conflicts through diplomatic channels and recounted the role he had as foreign minister. “Collectively, we did a good job,” he said, giving a brief account of his tenure at the helm of the State Department. He made special reference to economic development, saying it guarantees security and prosperity. “Everything is connected to the GDP of the countries,” he added. Referring to his contacts with Putin, Mike Pompeo confided that they joked about the KGB and the secret services.
He said Putin had the vision to rebuild the great Russian empire, while expressing confidence that normalcy would return. “Our allies know that we will always be by their side,” he emphasized.
He further said that Russia and China have stronger ties today than they did three years ago, noting that it is a relationship of necessity. However, he estimated that there are so many frictions between them that they will move in the opposite direction as soon as the opportunity presents itself and they will not remain friends. “These two leaders will not be able to become close friends,” he said.
Finally, he referred to tonight’s debate of the Republican presidential candidates, saying that he is glad to be in Athens and the time will not be convenient to watch it. to speak at the first American-Mediterranean Investment Forum (1st American Mediterranean Investment Forum) organized at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation by the Joseph Sassoon Group. Referring to US relations with Greece and the Mediterranean, he characterized them as important and emphasized not only issues security but also economy and spoke of common prosperity.
Asked about the EastMed project, the 70th US Secretary of State said significant progress has been made but much work remains to be done. However, he emphasized that the good news is that the opportunities he saw as foreign minister have not changed, they still remain, for the Eastern Mediterranean. In particular, he said that the people of this region work hard, the geography, the infrastructure present huge economic opportunities, creating many jobs, much wealth
Furthermore, he expressed the hope that the President of Turkey would follow the path of dialogue, pointing out that this expectation was also during his tenure at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is, for dialogue and not confrontation. He added that Erdogan was re-elected and has economic challenges and said he hopes to face them and become a good partner not only in the region but also in NATO. He has the ability to do so, he pointed out.
Asked about the F-16s, the former Secretary of State said he tries to stay out of politics, stressing that the US has excellent cooperation with Greece and Cyprus and that NATO has an important role. Finally, answering a question about the case with Sen. Robert Menendez, said the Justice Department will clear it up, noting that the allegations are very serious when a senior American official is accused of these things.
States ensure peace when they cooperate, emphasized US Ambassador George Tsounis in his greeting at the 1st American Mediterranean Investment Forum organized by the Joseph Sassoon Group, with the 70th US Secretary of State as the keynote speaker. A. Mike Pompeo. At the same time, he underlined the need for international cooperation and declared that “we must be on Ukraine’s side” because another Putin should not follow.
Noam Katz, ambassador of Israel: Greece and Cyprus are valuable partners of Israel
Greece is a gateway to Europe and Israel is a powerful force in the Middle East, emphasized Israel’s ambassador to Greece Noam Katz, speaking on a panel at the 1st American Mediterranean Investment Forum organized by the Joseph Sassoon Group.
He characterized Greece and Cyprus as Israel’s valuable partners in the region. He stated that Greece-Israel relations are strategic and strong. Regarding energy, he said that today liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the preferred alternative and the interest of Israel is focused on finding a safe port for its entry into Europe and in Greece there is infrastructure, while referring to the electrical interconnection plan of the three countries. According to Noam Katz, there is a growing business potential in Greece and Israeli investors have given Greece a vote of confidence.