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We Hope that Arrivals Will Be Close to the 800,000 Recorded in 2019, Sweden Ambassador Says

ATHENS – “We hope that the final number of arrivals will be close to the 800,000 recorded in 2019,” E. Johan Borgstam, Ambassador of Sweden in Greece, said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) released on Thursday, on the occasion of his participation in the Delphi Forum, which takes place from April 6 to April 9.

Asked what is the state of play of relations between Greece and Sweden as well as the prospects for further deepening their cooperation, he said that “Greece and Sweden enjoy a friendly and stable relationship. Political, cultural, and business links are strong and evolving further.”

Regarding the investment interest on behalf of Sweden for Greece and in which sectors, the ambassador replied:

“The Hellenic-Swedish Business Chamber is the sixth largest business chamber in Greece. A chapter of the chamber in Stockholm was inaugurated in 2021. This reflects the strong interest in the Greek market from Swedish business. Companies such as Atlas-Copco, INTRUM, Ericsson, H&M, ABB, SKF, Volvo, IKEA, Electrolux – to name but a few – run substantial operations in Greece.

The transition to a green economy and a sustainable future is a priority for the EU. At what point is the cooperation between Greece and Sweden in the exchange of know-how and the adoption of best practices for tackling climate change, protecting the environment and promoting a circular economy?

For several years, the two countries have exchanged ideas and discussed possible ways forward to build truly sustainable economies. In May this year, the Hellenic-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, together with the Embassy, will organize the 7th edition of the “Business Forum Greece-Sweden” in Athens. The theme of the forum is “Climate Action”. Swedish companies are impressed with Greece’s ambitious plan for green transition within the Recovery and Resilience Framework and are thanks to their know-how and cutting-edge technology well positioned to contribute.”

As for his estimates and indications for this year’s arrivals of Swedish tourists in Greece, he said that he hoped that the final number of arrivals will be close to the 800,000 recorded in 2019.

Asked what the Russian invasion on Ukraine mean for Sweden, he said:

“The Russian Federation’s brutal and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is characterized by indiscriminate violence against civilians. It has shattered peace in Europe. President Putin tries to deny the Ukrainian people a free and democratic future. Our position is clear: The European security order is not negotiable. Standing up for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is essential for the security of Europe as a whole.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said that Moscow would have to respond if Sweden and Finland intended to join NATO. What is Sweden’s answer? Is Sweden willing to join NATO within the coming years?

Ukraine, like Sweden and all other States, has the right to make its own security policy choices. These are fundamental aspects of international law and the European security order: All states have a duty to respect each other’s sovereignty.”

Regarding the emerging challenges to security and stability in the EU and if the development of a common European defense can be the answer, he said:

“The prevailing security situation around the world underscores the need for a strong EU that contributes to the promotion of peace and security in both Europe and globally. Sweden takes part in EU military training missions in Mali, Somalia and the Central African Republic. The approval 22 March by the EU defense and foreign affairs ministers of the EU Strategic Compass was crucial. The Strategic Compass will strengthen EU security and defense cooperation with partners. It sets the direction for the next few years and that is important, particularly in light of Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

Regarding the EU-Turkey relations and Turkish challenges against Greece, he said: “Sweden supports the conclusions adopted last year by the European Council in which the EU’s strategic interest in a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey was emphasized. De-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean is of key importance. As was noted at the time, the EU stands ready to engage with Turkey in a phased, proportionate, and reversible manner to enhance cooperation in a number of areas of common interest, subject to the established conditionalities set out previously.”

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