Ambassador Pyatt’s remarks at ONEX event at TIF

Thessaloniki International Fair

September 7, 2019

Ambassador Pyatt:  Καλημέρα σας. Good morning, everybody.  I know it’s early.

First of all, I want to say what a real source of pride it is for me and the whole Embassy team that this event is happening right now.  This is the first of the series of events that will be held here around the Thessaloniki International Fair in conjunction with our partners from the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.  So thank you, Niko, and Alex, and everybody else for the work there.

I’m especially pleased that the first of these events focuses on the miracle of Syros, the rebirth of the Neorion Shipyards.  I was talking earlier with Adonis from the shipyard team about the visit that I made to Syros in the spring of 2017, at which point the shipyard was completely dead.  It’s an amazing story of rebirth and revival that this shipyard has come back alive.  It’s taken a lot of work by ONEX, by Panos, so congratulations on that. It’s also taken work across the Greek government, and I think one of the challenges in this sector in particular is that there were so many different overlapping authorities and responsibilities that had to be synchronized in order to put the shipyard back to work.

Today there are 400 workers and hundreds more citizens of Syros who are in a stable employment situation because the shipyard has come back to life.  But equally important, this strategic asset is in the hands of an American company.

So this is a win/win for everybody.  For Greece, for Greece’s long maritime traditions, but also for the interest of the United States, seeing Greece as a stable and secure partner.

So I’m delighted to be here today, Thomas.  Again, συγχαρητήρια.  I know we’re not done yet.  I can tell you also when I spoke with the Prime Minister and with Minster of Development Georgiadis on Thursday, they both are very focused on Syros.  They both raised this issue with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and they also talked about how for this government, the hope is that Syros will not be the end of the story, but just the beginning.

So we look forward to continuing our partnership on helping to build on this strategically important success. Ευχαριστώ πολύ.


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