SHANGAI, China - "For Greece the crisis was a tragedy. But, as with any tragedy, in the end comes catharsis. We are emerging from the dark years stronger, wiser and more realistic. After 10 very difficult years, the Greek economy is making a dynamic recovery," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday, speaking at the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo 2019 in Shanghai.
Addressing the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping and an audience of hundreds of guests, Mitsotakis said it was an honour for Greece to be an honoured country and present for the second consecutive year at the Shanghai International Exhibition.
"However, the framework this year is very different. We are finally emerging from the darkness of the long and painful 10-year financial crisis and look at the future with a renewed sense of optimism and self confidence," he underlined.
Mitsotakis stressed the strategic relationship between Greece and China, which has developed over the past decades and is broadening. He talked about the ties between the two countries that go beyond trade, investment, technology, tourism and economy. Both countries boast cultures that have left a strong imprint on the human history, he said.
The prime minister referred to the development of shipping in Greece and noted that the Greek shipowners control 25 percent of the global merchant fleet.
He also referred to COSCO's investment in Greece, saying that it constitutes "an important success story". He stressed that this investment was an example of how a Chinese company was bold enough to invest in Greece at a time when the country was not considered an appropriate investment destination. "My government has just approved a plan for additional investment of 600 million euros in the port of Piraeus. It is already the largest port in the Mediterranean. It can and will become one of the three largest in Europe," the prime minister said.
At the same time he spoke at length about the course of the Greek economy. He talked about the negative interest rates on Greek securities and estimated that Greece will have 3 percent growth in 2020.
PM MITSOTAKIS HAILS BANK OF CHINA'S DECISION TO OPEN ATHENS BRANCH
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday evening hailed the Bank of China's decision to open a branch in Athens, when briefly speaking to reporters in Shanghai, while on official visit, and said that "the agreement with the banks is particularly important. The Bank of China is the 4th largest bank in the world. To put only a small part of its balance sheet to Greece would be very important.”
Referring to meetings between businessmen of the two countries in Shanghai, he added that "we have opened up a rather big investments agenda relating to electricity, 'smart' cities, and renewable energy sources. I believe that very important agreements will be reached. It has been a sizeable business mission and a challenge for us, to see what we can achieve when we operate in a well-organized manner," Mitsotakis noted.