George Tsounis, US Ambassador to Greece
Greece is rapidly becoming the energy supplier of Southeast Europe, due to its location and existing infrastructure it has been able to help neighboring countries in this area, the US ambassador in Athens underlined George Tsounis in a discussion on energy security at the 7th SE Europe Energy Forum (SEEF 2023), organized in Thessaloniki by the Hellenic-American Chamber and the Hellenic Society for Energy Economy (HAEE) in collaboration with the US Embassy in Greece and in strategic collaboration with the Atlantic Council and the Energy Institute of the American Chamber of Commerce.
Greece provided 35% of Bulgaria’s energy needs during the winter and acted as a responsible ally in doing so. Greece is now providing energy to Moldova, Mr. Tsounis emphasized and praised our country for its stance and the power of example in global affairs.
Energy security is very important, it is a matter of national security, the US ambassador to Greece said, noting that an authoritarian regime felt the need to invade another sovereign country in Europe, disrupting the class-based rules that have governed Europe for the past eight years. decades.
It is also a question of economy, Greece wants to develop and be strong, but it needs energy, it needs to reduce the cost of energy, but it also needs to make sure that the energy sources will be safe, he added. When we don’t have secure, stable, affordable energy sources it is detrimental to global economies, he said.
Stressing that energy security is also important for the climate, he said that climate change is a reality and made reference to the recent fires and floods in Greece. These are global challenges, he said, adding that devastating fires have hit Maui in the US, Canada and France.
“It is important to move towards Renewable Energy Sources as quickly as possible” said Mr. Tsounis and emphasized that Greece would have abandoned lignite if Russia had not invaded Ukraine. 30% of Greece’s energy needs come from lignite. In two years that percentage is at 0%, he predicted.
Answering a question about whether investments in Greece will be affected by the crisis in Gaza and Israel, Mr. Tsounis said that “capital goes where it feels there is safety.”
Greece is a pillar of stability and not only from a geostrategic point of view, but also in terms of the investment climate, he estimated, stressing that foreign direct investment is at a record level, Greek lending rates are below Italian and US interest rates, unemployment has decreased from 28% to 10% and the country has a primary surplus.
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