site.btaUPDATED Greek Economy, Finance Minister: Bulgaria Is a More Important Economic Partner of Greece than Many Think
Bulgaria is a more important economic partner of Greece than those who do not regularly deal with international trade and economic relations would think, said Greek Minister of National Economy and Finance Kostis Hatzidakis, who visited the opening of the Bulgarian Stand at the Thessaloniki International Fair.
The opening was unofficial due to the natural disaster that struck Greece in recent days, where at least 10 people died as a result of devastating floods.
"It is a great honour for me to be here today together with the Bulgarian Economy and Industry Minister Bogdan Bogdanov, with my colleague, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev, and with the Bulgarian Tourism Minister Mrs [Zaritza)] Dinkova," Hatzidakis said.
He touched upon the human casualties and the unprecedented material damages that Greece has suffered in recent days, expressing condolences on behalf of the Greek government and society to the relatives of the victims of the floods in Bulgaria.
"In these critical moments, solidarity is also necessary in our relations", the Greek minister said and noted that "in these difficult moments for all of us, Greece and Bulgaria continue to find ways to cooperate and strengthen their bilateral relations".
"Bulgaria is the second most important market for Greek exports. It is also a very important destination for significant Greek direct investment, and over one million Bulgarian tourists visit Greece every year. However, there is a great scope for further deepening our cooperation. Mr Vassilev has already referred to transport, to the necessary development of all possible cross-border links, whether road or rail, which, together with developments within the Schengen area, will without any doubt bring the two countries even closer together," Hatzidakis said.
He mentioned in his speech the opportunities for cooperation in the field of innovation and new technologies, as well as in the energy sector. He referred to the commissioning of the IGB gas interconnector, the planned implementation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, but in the opposite direction - from Greece to Bulgaria. The Greek minister also highlighted the opportunities for storing natural gas - on the one hand in the Bulgarian storage facility in Chiren at the expense of Greece, and on the other hand - for providing Bulgaria with access to the relevant quantities of liquefied natural gas in the Greek terminal in Revithoussa.
In conclusion, Hatzidakis referred to Friday's upgrade of Greece's credit rating to investment grade by the Canadian rating agency DBRS for the first time in 13 years.
"This recognition comes at an extremely difficult time for all Greeks. However, this does not change the fact that it is a positive development for our economy, a major tool for the country to be able to borrow in the markets more easily and more cheaply, to increase the liquidity of our economy, to attract more investment and to open more jobs in Greece. The investment grade credit rating is a vote of confidence for the Greek economy and the government is committed to spreading its benefits fairly throughout Greek society," Hatzidakis said.