American Hellenic Institute Awards Dinner (May 14, 2014)

American Hellenic Institute Awards Dinner
Grande Bretagne Hotel
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

 (as prepared)

Αξιότιμες κυρίες και κύριοι  καλησπέρα σας,Είναι τιμή για μένα να βρίσκομαι εδώ σήμερα στην τελετή απονομής βραβείου γιά έναν διακεκριμένο επιχειρηματία, τον «Καπετάνιο»,  κύριο Παναγιώτη Τσάκο.

Σας ευχαριστώ θερμά για την ευγενική σας πρόσκληση.  Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.  It’s great to be back with the American-Hellenic Institute.

The last time I spoke to you was in December, also here at the Grande Bretagne.  As I noted then, the United States and Greece share a deep and historic relationship, with common interests in promoting stability and security in the region, advancing and increasing bilateral trade and investment ties, and building even closer ties between our two countries.  We want to see Greece emerge from its economic crisis stronger, a stable country playing a stabilizing role in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

Our two countries have been allied within NATO for more than 60 years, working together to ensure safety and security in Europe.  Greece’s location in the eastern Mediterranean makes it a key partner for us in a very important neighborhood.  Developments in Ukraine have only highlighted for us the importance of close relationships with our friends and allies. The United States has a vested interest in seeing a good outcome here in Greece, and we will work with the Greek government and people for a stable and prosperous future.  We have supported the EU’s efforts to jumpstart growth in the Eurozone and to increase European energy security.  We continue to negotiate and are focused on achieving an ambitious, comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the U.S. and Europe.  T-TIP will deepen our transatlantic economic partnership, increase economic wellbeing on both sides of the Atlantic, and establish a way of doing business that can serve as the global gold standard.

In the past several weeks, we’ve seen some significant positive steps forward.  Greece has come to an agreement with the Troika after several months of hard negotiation, it’s selling bonds on the international market for the first time in four years, and even unemployment is down slightly.  The last time I spoke, I said Greece was at an inflection point.  While recovery is not yet fully underway, we are beginning to see that bold and difficult decisions can work.  The battle to implement reform should keep going, with a focus on growth and stability.

Turning to our purpose here tonight; we are here to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Captain Tsakos.  You all know better than I the details of the contributions he has made to the Greek shipping industry.  I would like to commend in particular his commitment to corporate social responsibility and achievements in marine conservation; as a co-founder of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association – HELMEPA – Captain Tsakos has had an important and enduring impact on increasing awareness of the need to protect the marine environment.  HELMEPA has worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard on issues related to maritime commerce and safety, and we look forward to continuing that relationship.

Captain Tsakos, and everyone here at AHI, congratulations on this honor that AHI has conferred on you.   It’s people like you doing your part that make Greece, and America, stronger, more stable, and more prosperous.
Thank you very much.

Αξιότιμε κύριε Τσάκο  Τα θερμά μου συγχαρητήρια για το βραβείο…Σας ευχαριστώ πολύ.