"Long-standing friendship" between Greece and Israel

“Many Israeli companies are already investing in Greece, especially in the real estate sector, but there are several other aspects of our partnership that can be further strengthened,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mitsotakis focused on deepening the relationship between the two countries and stressed the prospect of boosting defence co-operation, as well as the agreement to build the EastMed pipeline. “This is a channel of peace and stability in the region, with which Europe will be able to access the important gas fields of the Eastern Mediterranean,” Mitsotakis said.

The PM also reiterated that Greece is ready to welcome visitors from abroad, having prepared and implemented protocols that will ensure their safety and health. “With the Prime Minister, we have set August 1 as an indicative date for Israeli visitors to travel to Greece without restrictions, and of course to return to Israel without restrictions. I assure you that we have done everything possible to safeguard the safety of visitors coming to Greece. Their safety is our top priority,” he said.

He also noted that his visit to Israel has been slightly emotional “as my late father, exactly 30 years ago, made the then bold decision -because it was not an obvious decision for Greece at that time- to recognise Israel and establish full diplomatic relations. He did so a week after taking office in May 1990. As we celebrate 30 years of an uninterrupted friendship, it is important to pay tribute to this decision, which has essentially set the foundation for all we have done since.”

In his concluding remarks, he conveyed the warm greeting from Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Greece’s first female president. “She is thrilled with the prospect of a visit to Israel, and of course we have some very fond memories of your previous visit to our country. I am sure you will have the opportunity to meet her in person as soon as possible.”

cyber security

Also on Wednesday, Greece and Israel signed a cooperation agreement on cyber security.

The agreement was signed by Yigal Unna, director general of the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), and Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Greek Minister of State and Digital Governance.

Speaking on state broadcaster ERT1 TV on Wednesday, Pierrakakis said, “If there was one factor alone I could pick out of all that established Israel as an innovation leader and would like to see implemented in Greece, it is the way they did it, more than the ideas that arose there.”

The two main lessons gleaned from the Middle Eastern country, the minister said are, first, how they set up “cybersecurity and the infrastructure for cybersecurity, and second, how they created the greatest innovation ecosystem outside Silicon Valley in the US at this very location. And they did this with specific policies, specific ways of development and a specific culture that included their universities and research centres.”