Deputy Chief of Mission Burger’s Remarks at Reception in Honor of Young Presidents Organization, Southern California

Chief of Mission Residence
June 22, 2022

(As Prepared)

Good evening, kalispera, and welcome to the U.S. Ambassador’s residence.  It is an honor to have among us so many distinguished guests from the United States and from Greece, here to celebrate our strong people-to-people ties and the fantastic economic relationship our two countries share.

It is a pleasure to welcome 41 CEOs who have traveled from the United States as part of the Young Presidents Organization, Southern California’s Presidents Retreat.

I am pleased to know we are also joined by Greek YPO members, government representatives, and local business leaders.

Ambassador Tsunis sends his greetings and asked me to let you know that he wishes he could be with us this evening, but he is at a conference which the Secretary of State has convened in Washington for all of our U.S. Ambassadors around the world.  I know he appreciated the chance to speak with many of the American YPO members prior to your departure for Greece, and he looks forward to learning more about the results of your visit.

This special evening has been in the works for a very long time…more than three years, if I am not mistaken.  For those of you who have traveled here from the United States, I hope those years of anticipation have made your visit to Greece even more momentous.

You are coming at an incredible time.  It’s a time of unsurpassed cooperation between the United States and Greece.  For more than two hundred years, the United States and Greece have been inspired each other as democracies with shared values and a shared commitment to peace, prosperity, rule of law, and human rights.

These shared democratic values are more important now than ever before.  We are proud NATO Allies, devoted to the Alliance and its purpose of guaranteeing freedom and security for its members.

Thanks to a lot of hard work, including by people here this evening, U.S.-Greek relations are at an all-time high, with opportunities for even greater cooperation in this era.  I am certain your visit to Greece will inspire new areas of cooperation, and our Embassy is here to support you however we can.

Bilateral trade in goods and services totaled $6.1 billion last year with U.S exports to Greece totaling $2.7 billion.  Both public and private sectors have helped fuel Greece’s economic recovery and increase our countries’ economic cooperation.

U.S. companies are coming to Greece like never before.  From Pfizer to Amazon Web Services, and from Cisco to Microsoft, U.S. companies are investing dollars and human capital, bolstering their businesses and the Greek economy simultaneously.

Since many of you are here from southern California, I should highlight that U.S. production companies are also benefitting from Greece’s newly reformed film incentive package.

Since the wholesale redesign of the incentive program, Daniel Craig and Kate Hudson completed filming Knives Out 2 in Porto Heli last year.  Disney filmed a movie about the life of NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo.  Apple TV filmed the new season of its international Emmy award-winning show “Tehran.”  The list goes on, and we are working to encourage even more filmmaking here in Greece

Cooperation between the United States and Greece continues to deepen.  Over the last few years, our shared national interests have moved the United States and Greece closer together both politically and economically.  The United States views Greece as an indispensable partner.  And I encourage you all to consider building your own investments here, finding your own partnerships.

This evening happens to be my very last as a diplomat here in Greece.  I conclude my assignment tomorrow and will depart for the United States.

Following three years here, I can tell you that Greece is a fantastic and safe place to invest one’s time, energy, and resources.  Although I suspect the prominent Greek-Americans in your group have already convinced you of this.

With that, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for visiting us, and I wish you a beautiful evening and a fantastic visit to Greece.