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Politics

Mitsotakis Greets Qatar’s Emir in Athens, Relations Tighten, Deals Signed

May 29, 2024

ATHENS – Greece’s reach-out to Qatar to invest again in Greece saw Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis meet Emir Sheik Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani in a first visit where they agreed to have closer ties and signed two agreements.

Those were between their defense ministries and foreign ministries while the discussions were focused on business and investment opportunities in Greece, said the business site Imerisia, after Qatar had pulled out several years earlier.

The Emir was greeted at Maximos Mansion where Mitsotakis was said to have outlined business opportunities for Qatar and Qatari firms and cited Greece’s advantage geopolitically and links to markets in the Balkans, Southeastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea and floating LNG units in the port of Alexandroupouli.

That came in the wake of Qatar denying reports of trying to bribe Members of the European Parliament to gain influence – including Greece’s Eva Kaili – that has seen an investigation that has stalled for more than a year.

The tiny Middle East country’s population is made up mostly by expatriates and foreign workers who comprise about 85% of the 2.7 million people living there but has the fourth-highest Gross Domestic Product per capita in the world.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion Kostas Fragogiannis and his staff are trying to woo investments again from Qatar, said Kathimerini after the rich Arab state had pulled back.

A decade ago Qatar pulled out of a hotel resort on the island of Corfu over Greece’s notorious bureaucracy and it had previously invested in Greek banks and energy production but Qatar Petroleum’s share in Heron was eventually acquired by the main shareholder, Greece’s GEK Terna, in 2021.

Qatar’s real estate agency had also been interested in being a partner in the €8-billion ($8.69 billion) development of the abandoned Ellinikon international airport on Athens’ coast that is now underway but was bought out by Greece’s Lamda.

But with one of the largest investment funds in the world funded by its vast energy deposits, Qatar is still a sought-after investor in high-end projects as well as tourism, agriculture, and real estate.

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