Editor’s log by Kyra Adam
Greek Business File, September-October issue
New Democracy government 3 months after the elections starts writing the next – as yet untitled – chapter of the unfi nished “Greece in Crisis” book. PM Mitsotakis, 42 days and then 50 days after taking the helm of the country paid visits to Paris and Berlin to meet his key counterparts in the EU and Euro zone area. These two informal visits give the first intelligence on how Mitsotakis government intends to move on European level. The meeting in Paris on August 22, was rather “formal” between the “active” leader of Eurozone, French President E Macron and the new liberal PM of Greece K Mitsotakis. The common line between the two leaders was the confi rmation of “European solidarity” so that Europe becomes “strong again”. Macron was clear on his views on Franco-Greek cooperation mainly on political, military and cultural cooperation. Given the open support from Paris for Athens and Nicosia against the aggressive moves by Ankara in the search for hydrocarbons in East Mediterranean, Paris appears to be ready and Athens is willing for future talks on a military level, that is for example, the purchase of French Belharra frigates, in due course and..money. Mitsotakis once again invited French investments in Greece with no specifi c preferences. The Mitsotakis-Merkel meeting in Berlin on August 28 was of a very different level. PM Mitsotakis made it clear as robustly as he could that the meeting with Merkel had nothing to do at
all with the “open issues” remaining between Greece and European Institutions in the post-Memorandum period. These issues with the European Institutions and the Euro group, he stressed are going to be faced in time. The clear intention of PM Mitsotakis was to put Greek-German relations “back on track”, that is to reinforce the bilateral economic relations between the two countries. As the German economy slows down and German exports decline. Merkel seemed over pleased by Mitsotakis’ proposal of a new “Green Marshall Plan” made in Germany for Greece. Mitsotakis and Merkel have seemed ready for some time to announce their enhanced cooperation in the fi elds of Renewable Energy Sources and Waste Management, - a seriously delayed infrastructure project in Greece - approximately 150 billion euro is needed in investments in the long term. If and when German companies invest in Greece, for example 30 billion euros in RES and Waste Management, (Germany is the leader in Europe in methods of bio-methanization of solid and liquid urban wastes to produce electric energy), the ND government will have a strong political mortgage in the future. Additionally do not forget that Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of European Commission has already placed RES and Waste Management at the top of her priorities. The Mitsotakis government has not yet made any serious contact with the (diffi cult) Trump government. The Americans are following closely the Mitsotakis “rapprochement” with Berlin on economic issues, therefore waiting for Mitsotakis’ moves in digitalization, agro foods sectors as well as energy fi elds. Probably, in late September, or early October there is going to be some sort of informal Greek American meeting on American soil. On the other hand there is the “open wound’ of Greek- Turkish relations, with President Erdogan putting more pressure on Greece in the area of Rhodes- Kastelorizo and in Cyprus, claiming –illegally- more space for Turkey in search for hydrocarbons in Eastern Mediterranean. The ND Government shows a willingness to “slow down” Turkish aggressiveness, in the Aegean that is why – behind closed doors – the Mitsotakis government permitted Turkish air and naval exercises in the Aegean despite the permanent (?) MOU Papoulias-Gilmaz since 1988 prohibiting exercises in the air and sea during July-September period. A Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting is not in the air - yet. Nevertheless the Mitsotakis government seems to be searching for reliable interlocutors to make the first moves.