“We hope that there will be a new page in Greece-Russia relations,” Deputy Foreign Minister and co-chair of the Russia-Greece Joint Interministerial Committee Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said in an interview with Russian news agency ITAR -TASS, before his visit to November 29, 30.
Russia’s response to EU sanctions has dealt a serious blow to Greek exports and especially food, which have been halved since 2014, Varvitsiotis said and stressed that the country is focusing its efforts “on the increased share in the Russian market of other competing sectors, with our high quality products. ” As an example, he mentioned Kastoria’s fur, Greek jewelry, processed foods.
“Tourism is of particular importance to us because it helps to reduce the large trade deficit we have with your country, from which we source our traditional energy products and cereals,” he said.
“Unfortunately, due to a pandemic, we have recently received a small number of Russian tourists, but we hope for a rapid restoration of the flows and look forward to the help of the Russian side.” This is a question that is to be answered. the agenda. of our talks, ”said the Deputy Minister.
Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that “Greece understands the key role of Russia in the security architecture of Europe, in regional crises in our immediate neighborhood” and underlined that during his stay in Moscow, he intends to discuss important international issues with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister. Alexander Grusko.
Mr Barvitsiotis underlined that in addition to crisis situations in the immediate neighborhood areas, it is necessary to discuss crises, such as in Afghanistan, which may have an impact on Greece.
“We recognize that on issues important to us, such as the Cyprus issue, Russia plays a positive role in the UN Security Council. We believe that our communication must be regular and substantial,” said the minister.
Mr Varvitsiotis said that the visit of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Russia on December 8, 2021 will open a new page in relations between the two countries.
According to him, the efforts of the two countries at this stage are focused on the fields of energy, transport, tourism, investment and interregional cooperation. “We hope that through the MDE cooperation protocol that will be signed in Moscow and with the next visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, there will be a new page in Greek-Russian relations,” he said. .
As he recalled, Greece and Russia have been linked by historical ties for centuries. “History always shows the way to the future, but the will to deepen our relations can be concretized through specific agreements which are part of a more general environment of cooperation.
“My country attaches great importance to the issue of bilateral investment cooperation, as well as to the development and deepening of bilateral economic relations and trade cooperation in the fields of tourism, real estate, technology, energy and food, ”he added. M. Varvitsiotis.
“The Russian side has already received the operational program of the Fund for the Development of Public and Private Property, in order to investigate the interest of Russian companies and we are awaiting their response,” Varvitsiotis said.
“Russian investors are certainly welcome.” However, they must adapt to the requirements of the current legislation and become acquainted with the prescribed procedures, “he pointed out characteristically.
He added that “the Greek economy has entered a rapid recovery, is transforming, is internationalizing and has become a magnet for international investments”.
“After 10 years of economic crisis and two years of health crisis, we are facing a bullish multi-year growth cycle,” said Mr Varvitsiotis.
He also said Greece was considering the possibility of connecting Greek and Russian ports by ferry.
“We know that the Greek merchant navy is the largest in the world,” he said. “The institutional framework that governs our bilateral maritime relations provides for the possibility of maritime interconnection, regular or otherwise, between the two countries and through passengers or car ferries. The interest of the Greek ports has been registered and the possible cooperation and interconnection of the Greek ports with the Russians, in particular in the south of Russia, is being studied, a fact which would increase trade and tourist flows ”.
He clarified that the operation of such a line “should be subject to the assessment of its viability by potentially interested commercial entities”.
Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that Greece “from a geostrategic point of view, has undeniable advantages which reflect the position and attractiveness of its port potential”.
“This is the reason why significant investments have been made in the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki. In addition, great progress has been made and continues to be made in combined transport, the exchange technologies of ‘necessary electronic information and transactions, and proposals for new, mutually beneficial partnerships are welcome.’
“One of the issues of bilateral economic cooperation of particular interest is cooperation between ports and in the management and exchange of know-how,” concluded Mr. Varvitsiotis.