Greece's high-caliber technology professionals and the reforms being implemented are what make the country a desirable investment destination, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday, addressing a Greek-French development and investment initiative at Zappeion Hall in Athens.
The 'Growing Together' initiative included the French public investment bank Bpifrance, the Hellenic Development Bank (HDB) and the Hellenic Development Bank of Investments S.A. (HDBI), and was under the auspices of the Greek Development & Investments Ministry. Also included were investment entities from Greece, France, Germany, Finland and Denmark, which aim at leveraging a total of 3.3 billion euros in EU funds targeting technology companies.
"Greece has a huge human capital," Mitsotakis told potential investors, "and this is particularly important for me: if you focus on the technology sector, I think that what many foreign businesses saw in Greece was the quality of our engineers, who come at a lower cost than the European average, and who know how to work very hard." As he pointed out, "Greece lost 500,000 young people who left during the crisis - highly talented young people, who assume risks, and who left Greece. It is the first time they plan to return to Greece."
In a chat with Bpifrance's CEO Nicolas Dufourcq - with whom he had met earlier at Maximos Mansion - the Greek PM also called for stronger inter-European collaboration in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). "Speaking of a true European common market, it is the SMEs that must collaborate more closely. Below large multinationals, there are thousands of businesses in Greece, France and other countries here which must realize that an investment in another European country should come naturally to them. It should not be very complicated - at the end of the day, this is our common market, this is our advantage," Mitsotakis said.
Speaking of Greece, the Greek leader said that "our real purpose is to guarantee we will continue our development progress. We are facing several crises, the last being energy prices, a particularly challenging one." He added however those crises also present opportunities, and that "the idea of a green transition is becoming more significant both in terms of the climate and from a geopolitical point of view. We need greater energy independence."
In the framework of the meeting, participants signed agreements related to the 3.3 bln euro investments in technology in European countries, while five development banks also signed a collaboration agreement.