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Greek Prime Minister Joins Teleconference Of The First Summit Of The China Cooperation Initiative With 17 Countries Of Central And Eastern Europe

Greek Prime Minister joins teleconference of the first Summit of the China Cooperation Initiative with 17 countries of Central and Eastern Europe

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took part this morning, via teleconference, in the first Summit of the China Cooperation Initiative with 17 countries of Central and Eastern Europe – February 9, 2021 During his speech, the Prime Minister referred to the importance of international cooperation and stressed that the 17 + 1 Initiative has the characteristics to contribute to bold decisions through cooperation, solidarity, understanding
and transparency. In this context, Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted that Cosco’s investment in Piraeus is an example of mutually beneficial cooperation. “The example of the Chinese investment by Cosco in the port of Piraeus underlines this win-win approach, an investment initiative that is mutually beneficial for both countries,” he said. “The port of Piraeus and Cosco’s investment is an emblematic project,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping. “The port has become an important hub for China-Europe rapid land and sea links and connectivity between Asia and Europe,” Xi said, adding that Beijing is “ready to work with Greece and other parties to the further promotion of cooperation “in the framework of the 17 + 1 scheme. Referring to dealing with the economic consequences of the pandemic, the Prime Minister noted the idea of ​​Greece to introduce a vaccination certificate that will facilitate travel and tourism. “This is an issue of particular importance to Greece and we will seek to work bilaterally to ensure that Chinese tourists return to Greece. “And if they can show a vaccination certificate we can guarantee that there will be no additional restrictions,” he said. Regarding climate change, Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed China’s environmental goals, stressing that “the challenges of climate change cannot be met without the firm commitment of the countries that cause the greatest emissions.” The Prime Minister reaffirmed Greece’s commitment to organize this year the 6th High Level Summit on Tourism Cooperation and the 3rd Intangible Cultural Heritage Forum. “It is proof of our intention to be a productive member of the Initiative,” he said. I would like to thank our host, His Excellency the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, for organizing the first Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the China Cooperation Initiative with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This is the first time we have met in this way, leaders of states and governments. Unfortunately, we had to postpone our meeting in Beijing last April because of the pandemic, and for the same reasons we could not live together today. As you know, Greece became a permanent member of the China-CEEC Cooperation Initiative, 17 + 1, in April 2019. It is the youngest member and the oldest member of the European Union participating in the Initiative. Honoring our obligations, our commitment to organize this year the 6th High Level Session on Tourism Cooperation, organized by the Ministry of Tourism, and the 3rd Forum of Experts for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, organized by the Ministry of Culture of our intention to be a productive member of the Initiative. We are optimistic that, as we approach the end of the health crisis, these meetings will be conducted as planned and with the physical presence of all members of the Initiative. If the pandemic proved anything, it is that tackling the health crisis and its significant economic consequences requires bold decisions. This can be made easier through cooperation, solidarity, understanding and transparency. I believe that the scope of the Initiative and its multicultural nature can serve this purpose. But beyond the cultural aspects, in a more realistic approach, I believe that investment, trade and interpersonal ties are among the most effective means of shaping our world the day after the pandemic. We believe that this endeavor should be based on justice, extroversion and reciprocity, combined with a commitment to international principles and values. The example of the Chinese investment by Cosco in the port of Piraeus underlines this win-win approach, an investment initiative that is mutually beneficial for both countries. Finally, we must reaffirm our commitment to establish a level playing field for all. In this light, I personally welcome President Xi’s comments which point in the direction of improved market access for all members of the 17 + 1 figure, which is of the utmost importance. We also welcome the fact that the European Union and China agreed, in principle, after a long period of negotiations, on the Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI) in December 2020. At this point I would like to point out that Greece deeply appreciates the role of the Initiative in dealing with the pandemic and especially welcomes China’s support in our joint effort. We seek to address the economic consequences of the pandemic. One way to achieve this is by facilitating tourism and travel after the pandemic. That is why, Mr President, Greece has proposed the idea of ​​a vaccination certificate, which is essentially proof that someone has been vaccinated. As a tool to facilitate the resumption of travel so that tourists can either visit China or come to Europe from China. This is an issue of particular importance to Greece and we will seek to work bilaterally to ensure that Chinese tourists return to Greece. And if they can show a vaccination certificate we can guarantee that there will be no additional restrictions. We also look forward to further cooperation, as there are many issues we need to address and many challenges we face together. Connectivity, innovation and the green economy can play a key role in post-pandemic economic recovery efforts. We particularly welcome, Mr President, China’s commitment to pursuing carbon offsets by 2060. We all know that the challenges of climate change cannot be met without the firm commitment of the countries that cause the greatest emissions. Finally, as many speakers have said, February 12 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. I would like to send my warmest wishes from Athens to His Excellency President Xi and our friends, the citizens of China. I am convinced that this time will bring renewed momentum for the further strengthening of the relations between our countries and the friendly ties between our peoples. Source: Government of Greece

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