U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate ReleaseFACT SHEET
September 27, 2020
“The alliance between our two countries is stronger and more important than ever.”
– Secretary Pompeo, March 25, 2020
Secretary Pompeo will travel to Thessaloniki and Crete, Greece, September 28-30, 2020, where he will meet with Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Dendias to renew our shared commitment to advance security, peace, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans, as well as celebrate the strongest U.S.-Greek relationship in decades. The United States and Greece proudly cooperate on a wide range of areas, including defense and security, trade and investment, energy, counterterrorism and law enforcement, and people-to-people efforts to bring our citizens closer together. Greece’s upcoming bicentennial in 2021 offers an opportunity to celebrate the shared democratic values that so many Greeks and Americans have pledged to uphold and defend and that have made us stronger together.
THE U.S.-GREECE ALLIANCE IS MOVING FORWARD AT TOP SPEED
- Greece is a critical partner with which the United States shares key strategic goals. The United States considers Greece a pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans and a vital partner in bolstering security and prosperity in the region. We are committed to supporting Greece’s security, prosperity, and continued democracy.
- We have achieved a great deal since launching the first U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue in Washington in December 2018, and we look forward to hosting the 2021 Strategic Dialogue in Washington. This Dialogue is a testament to our two countries’ intensive and constructive engagement in regional cooperation, defense and security, trade and investment, energy, law enforcement and counterterrorism, and people-to-people ties.
- The United States is working together with Greece and other regional Allies and partners in the Eastern Mediterranean to advance stability, security, and prosperity. We are also working with Greece on expanding regional cooperation, including through the “3+1” diplomatic mechanism with Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.
- The United States is helping Greece protect its vulnerable population of asylum seekers and migrants by providing nearly $5 million in assistance to UNHCR, IOM, and UNICEF this year to help fight the spread of Covid-19.
OUR BILATERAL ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP IS GROWING
- The United States and Greece continue to expand our robust bilateral economic relationship. In 2019, U.S. exports to Greece increased to $1.44 billion (up by more than $350 million from 2018). Total goods trade between our countries reached $2.95 billion in 2019, an increase of $265 million from the prior year. S. exports of goods and services to Greece totaled $3.2 billion in 2019, up $240 million (8 percent) from 2018, and imports from Greece were $5.8 billion, up $345 million (6 percent) from 2018.
- Together the United States and Greece are investing in the future by developing Thessaloniki as a gateway to the Balkans for investment and trade. For example, Pfizer recently opened a 200-employee research and development facility in Thessaloniki, and Cisco announced that it would invest $11-14 million to develop an innovation center.
- We are pleased with the progress the Greek government is making on 5G security and that its efforts to advance its digital transformation and safeguard its citizens’ privacy were complemented by the far-sighted decision of Greece’s largest cellular network provider, COSMOTE, to build its 5G network exclusively with trusted vendor Ericsson.
U.S.-GREEK COOPERATION PROMOTES REGIONAL PEACE AND STABILITY
- U.S.-Greek cooperation enhances Greece’s ability to promote peace and stability, from the Balkans to the Eastern Mediterranean.
- Our 2019 revised and expanded Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) has enabled us to expand bilateral activities at Larissa and Stefanovikio, to sustain increased cooperation at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, and to receive assured access at the Port of Alexandroupoli. The MDCA allows for mutually beneficial infrastructure improvements and increased collaboration with Greece and our NATO Allies.
- We applaud Greece for reaching its NATO commitment of two percent of GDP on defense investment, and we encourage Greece to meet its commitment to dedicate 20 percent of that defense spending to major equipment purchases in support of common defense in Europe.
- Greece is key to Europe’s energy diversification, including growing supplies of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). As a hub for new infrastructure that will diversify Europe-bound natural gas routes and supplies, Greece’s role in regional energy diversification will increase as the U.S.-supported floating storage regasification unit comes online in Alexandroupoli. Together, we can break the malevolent monopoly that Russia’s Gazprom has used over many years to threaten much of Europe.
THE BOND BETWEEN OUR PEOPLES IS ENDURING
- Strong people-to-people ties—including diverse exchanges and collaborations—form the bedrock of our relationship with Greece and bring us closer together. During these challenging times, as we face the Covid-19 pandemic and contend against malign forces that try to weaken our bonds, the ties between our peoples give us the strength to prevail.
- Our young people are increasingly studying abroad, further strengthening the ties between our two countries. The number of Greek students studying in the United States increased by more than five percent during the 2018/19 academic year, while the number of U.S. students in Greece increased 20 percent in the year prior. Greece is now ranked 14th globally for U.S. study abroad.
- Since 1948, more than 5,500 Greeks and Americans have crossed the Atlantic to serve as Fulbright scholars, researchers, students, and teaching fellows.
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