The political approach of Greece and Saudi Arabia “stands at 100 pct,” noted Saudi Arabia’s Investment Minister Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al Falih at the Greek-Saudi Business Forum held in Athens on Monday.
“The sky’s the limit,” he added, in reference to the cooperation dynamic among Greek and Saudi businesses.
He also highlighted Greece’s geostrategic importance as a hub that connects Europe with the rest of the world and with the Middle East.
He expressed his belief that Greece, Saudi Arabia and their business communities “will transform the ongoing energy transition and the current energy crisis into an immense opportunity.”
He then spoke about the relationship between the two countries in recent history, noting that it is approaching its centenary as diplomatic relations between modern Saudi Arabia and Greece date back to 1926.
Some 59 Saudi companies and 70-80 representatives of the business community have come to Greece, as well as about 30 people from the public sector of Saudi Arabia, he noted.
The Greece-Saudi Arabia 5th Joint Ministerial Committee meeting will be held in Athens on Tuesday.
Greece and Saudi Arabia can become a single, interconnected data exchange hub, Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Monday while addressing the Greek-Saudi Business Forum.
“We can become, Greece on the one hand and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the other, an interconnected digital hub for the exchange of data and information. This is our vision for the future,” he said.
Georgiadis outlined the steps taken by the government to make Greece friendly to investment and spoke of an “exemplary” climate of cooperation in the implementation of projects and agreements between the two countries, which serve as a model to follow for other missions.
“We will do many things together in the future,” he said.
The Greek business community was interested in expanding cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas, he said, including agriculture and food safety, tourism, real estate, industry, shipping and digital technology.
He pointed out that Greece is one of the fastest growing data centre markets in southern Europe, having risen from almost zero in digital technology when the government took over.
“Three years later, Pfizer inaugurated a digital hub in Thessaloniki and from 200 jobs these rose to 700 and soon 1,000. Digital Realty, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google, Meta and many other global giants followed, who now choose Greece due to its geopolitical position, political stability and high-level workforce.”
Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Greece has gained tremendous momentum in recent years, said Secretary General of International Economic Relations & Extroversion (Foreign Affairs Ministry) Ioannis Smyrlis, speaking at the Greek-Saudi Business Forum.
The Greek official added that he is convinced that there is ample ground for further strengthening and expanding this coperation in all areas, with an emphasis on economic and trade relations.
Smyrlis pointed out that Greece and Saudi Arabia’s friendship and strategic cooperation continue to grow steadily in investments, business and trade, as well as in shipping, tourism, agri-food, energy, construction and innovation. He stressed that the two countries’ joint will to support the promotion and facilitation of their cooperation, is underlined by the signing of several bilateral agreements and a memorandum of cooperation, “which capitalize on our common goals.”
The Greek minister also highlighted the need to take initiatives to address rising energy costs, food insecurity and to find alternative markets for products.