Greek and Saudi ministers discuss city reform plans

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman listen to the national anthems prior to their meeting at the prime minister's office in Athens on July 26, 2022. - YORGOS KARAHALIS/AFP via Getty Images Read more:

A major topic of discussion by leading Saudi and Greek ministers at a high-level meeting in Athens was how to "humanise" cities. The meeting comes as as cooperation between the East Mediterranean and Arab countries continues to grow.

The Kingdom’s Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail met with the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas; the Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgadis, and the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Kostas Karamanlis, in what was described as an extension of the visit of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Greece last July.

During his meeting with the Greek ministers, Al-Hogail discussed common areas of work in areas such as waste management and redevelopment, humanization of cities, and urban planning, accordin to the Saudi Press Agency.

The meeting also saw information exchanged around investment, real estate development, and construction technology.

Al-Hogail also presented a model of urban planning and design guidelines in the Kingdom and reviewed one of the housing programs being implemented in Greece.

He also met with the Mayor of Athens, Konstantinos Bakoyannis, as the two sides discussed the experience of humanizing cities in the two countries, and the vision adopted in providing city services, as well as the experience of city management in Greece.

Within the agenda of the first day of his visit to Greece, the Saudi Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing met with a delegation from CCC, a company specialized in the field of construction and infrastructure.

During the meeting, Al-Hogail was briefed on an introductory presentation about the company and its most prominent projects in the Middle East and discussed ways of cooperation with it in this field.

The meetings are further evidence of the closer relationship between Saudi Arabia and Greece, and come just months after the European country set out how it wants to import renewable energy from the Kingdom to advance its position as an energy hub for the continent.

Speaking to Arab News in October, Greece's Minister for Investment and Development Adonis Georgiadis said his country and the Kingdom are developing a plan to export green hydrogen to the Hellenic Republic.

Saudi Arabia is "going to produce the biggest green hydrogen on the planet. So yes, this would be one way," he said.

The Kingdom is building the world's largest green hydrogen plant in NEOM that is expected to be online in 2025.

“We will also build a cable and will let electricity flow from the Kingdom to Europe,” said Georgiadis, a move that no doubt will be welcomed by a continent mindful of its energy security.

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