Ambassador Pyatt’s Remarks at
2021 New Year’s Reception
Καλησπέρα σας! Thank you, Niko. I want to begin my remarks this evening by expressing my heartfelt appreciation to Minister Georgiadis for bringing us together tonight. While I miss seeing this ballroom filled with friends and colleagues like in years past, I want to thank you all for connecting to us virtually to celebrate the new year.
Tonight, as we continue to work through the many challenges the pandemic presents, including today’s difficult news about a further lockdown, I want to take a moment to highlight some of the opportunities I see to strengthen and deepen the alliance between the United States and Greece in this Greek bicentennial year that my friend Archbishop Elpidophoros described so eloquently.
These opportunities would not be possible without the longstanding partnership between the U.S. Embassy and AmCham, so I want to thank Niko, Elias, Litsa, Alex, and everybody else for your fantastic cooperation over the years.
Building on the foundation that we have constructed over the past several years, the U.S.-Greece relationship is off to a great start in 2021.
We’ve welcomed President Biden and the new administration in the United States, and we’ve launched our campaign here, in support of the Greece 2021 Committee, to commemorate Greece’s bicentennial by highlighting stories of American Philhellenes and honoring our shared commitment to democratic values—values that President Biden has placed at the forefront of his administration.
President Biden and his team are friends of Greece who recognize the strategic value of this relationship, and I have great confidence that we will have many opportunities to further strengthen our relationship under his leadership.
Last year, despite the pandemic, we saw fantastic progress in Greece’s digital infrastructure and the knowledge-based economy: the new Digital Governance Code, the Faistos Fund to develop new 5G applications, and significant investments with AmCham companies in the lead. Technology giants like Microsoft, Digital Realty, Pfizer, Cisco, Deloitte, Applied Materials, and Amazon Web Services show how American companies are responding to the Greek government’s good policy signals with real investments that grow jobs and opportunity.
Greece’s growing energy collaboration with your northern neighbors, supported by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, has reinforced stability and security in the region, and is setting the stage for even greater opportunities in the year ahead.
Policy changes in the United States will open doors for additional areas of cooperation. The United States has rejoined the Paris Agreement, and I was pleased to see Minister Varvitsiotis participate on a video call with our Climate Envoy John Kerry during his very first week on the job.
As I discussed recently with Minister Skrekas, we look forward to accelerating our partnership on clean energy in 2021 to help Greece meet Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ fantastic goal of closing all lignite power plants by 2028.
I’m optimistic that this year will also bring significant American investment in key port and shipyard privatizations, as well as progress on the transformative casino resort project at Hellenikon.
I also want to say special thanks tonight to the company members of the AmCham pharma and medical committees, so many of whom have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in support of the Greek government’s successful response to this global pandemic.
And speaking of our leading health companies, I’m confident that 2021 will see continued American attention to Thessaloniki and northern Greece, as U.S. firms employ talented Greek professionals and Greece unlocks the potential of its relationship with a Balkan market of 30 million people, leveraging our success with AmCham at the 2018 Thessaloniki International Fair.
The Greek government’s efforts to attract American investment and pave the way for Greece’s digital future are creating a more sustainable and prosperous Greek economy, one that is poised to accelerate growth as we exit the pandemic. That’s why the Embassy’s celebration of the Greek bicentennial will focus both on our long history together and the dynamic future of this relationship.
We’re calling our bicentennial campaign “USA and Greece: Celebrating 200 Years of Friendship,” to honor the philía between our peoples, the foundation for our continued collaboration.
My Embassy team and I look forward to working with AmCham and all of its members in 2021 to realize even stronger trade and investment ties with Greece, and to create economic opportunities for both of our countries. I’m confident the shared values that have guided our countries for 200 years will lead us on to even greater success in the year ahead.
For this, my unexpected fifth year here in Greece, I wish everyone a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year. Καλή χρονιά!