Ioannis Tsamichas at Naftemporiki “Strong Greek-Italian economic relations as a compass for development and energy upgrading”
The good performance of Greek exports will continue in 2023, with optimists predicting that Greek exports will equal or even exceed the historical record for extroversion in 2022. According to data from the Panhellenic Exporters Association, the deteriorating conditions in the global economy were impossible not to affect Greek exports, which nevertheless showed resilience. In the first 7 months of 2023, there was an upward trend of 4.3% (excluding petroleum products) with exports of the categories oils (+37.8%) and beverages & tobacco (+19.5) showing a significant increase.
As can be seen, the initiatives undertaken by the State to facilitate Greek businesses, which have turned to international markets, realising the importance of extroversion for their viability, are providing a significant boost. The Panhellenic Exporters’ Association has acknowledged the change in policy, stressing that it is crucial to continue supporting the extroversion of the Greek economy with the same intensity in the coming years in order to maintain the good performance of domestic production.
Italy, Greece’s most important economic partner over time, is the top market for Greek exports in 2022 and this is not expected to change in 2023. The Hellenic-Italian Chamber of Athens is a key partner of Italian companies operating in the Greek market and of Greek companies in Italy. With a presence in 50 countries around the world through the Association of Italian Chambers of Commerce and more than 1000 members, the Hellenic-Italian Chamber of Athens has been working to expand economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries over the last 60 years, facilitating the implementation of investments in both.
Initiatives to further strengthen Greek-Italian economic ties
Recently, the Greek-Italian Chamber of Athens signed a Protocol of Cooperation with the Industrialists’ Association of Naples, which foresees that the two institutions will join forces and work together to further strengthen economic relations. For the implementation of the Protocol of Cooperation, the Hellenic-Italian Chamber of Athens and the Association of Industrialists of Naples agreed to create an Antenna office for the member companies and consultants of the Hellenic-Italian Chamber of Athens. This office is expected to become a reference point in Southern Italy and to act as an information hub for investment opportunities in the Greek market.
At the same time, the successful and internationally recognised programme “Exporting more Greece to 85 Bilateral Italian Chambers in 65 countries” continues. Since 2011, when the Hellenic-Italian Chamber of Athens took over the implementation of this initiative, promoting “Made in Greece” products, the extroversion of Greek entrepreneurship has been further enhanced.
The energy sector in Greece is a priority for large Italian groups
Major Italian groups from all sectors of the economy are active in Greece, with the energy sector being of the greatest interest. Italian Groups such as Edison, Enel Green Power, Italgas have been active in the Greek market for more than 10 years and it seems that their plans include new investments in green energy, renewable energy sources, e.g. onshore and especially offshore wind farms, photovoltaic parks and natural gas. Edison together with DEPA are working on the EastMed pipeline, with Edison stressing that the project is part of its sustainable development strategy in the context of the European Union’s energy policy as well. Moreover, the Italian government has also openly expressed its support for the construction of EastMed, while the Italian groups Renco SpA and Sicilsaldo-Nuova Ghizzoni have also expressed interest in participating in the construction of the EastMed interconnector..
With Greek-Italian relations being significantly strengthened, especially in the energy sector, Greece is facing a unique opportunity to become an energy hub in the Eastern Mediterranean, a catalyst for the decoupling from Russian gas and for the achievement of the EU’s netzero target by 2050, contributing decisively to energy security and thus to the uninterrupted economic growth as much as possible.