In a continuously changing and competitive international environment, which is characterized by the globalisation of markets, the intense international competition and the outward business orientation, the economic diplomacy is recognized as one of the most important factors in promoting national interests and Greek business activities abroad.
More specifically, the Economic Diplomacy activities of the Foreign Ministry cover, on one hand, Greece’s bilateral relations with other countries, and on the other hand the development and humanitarian support of Greece to third countries.
Using the Economic Diplomacy as a driving force, we seek to make Greek enterprises more outward-looking, to improve their international competitiveness, to exploit the comparative advantages of the Greek economy, to increase exports and attract foreign investments in our country.
Appreciating that our country is situated in the centre of a big market of 340 million people, thus presenting enormous business opportunities to Greek enterprises, we focused our strategy on four big openings, some of which have already been completed, whereas others will be completed in the near future: (1) the Balkans, (2) the countries of the Black Sea and the Caspian region, (3) Turkey and (4) the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Arabic World.
To achieve the above-mentioned objectives, we have proceeded with a series of activities, such as the following:
- reorganization of the Foreign Ministry’s economic diplomacy structures and services,
- creation of a unified and coordinated national policy, and
- establishment of Mixed Inter-Ministerial Committees, business missions and international economic conventions, preferably in the Balkan region, the Black Sea Zone and in the Mediterranean Basin countries, but also in selected international markets that are strategically important to our country.
Especially in the Balkan region, Greece, which has been established as a major investment force in most countries of the peninsula, has launched an important Plan of bilateral economic assistance. Within this framework, Greece has drawn up the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans - HiPERB for 2002-2006 (L. 2996/2002). However, it was deemed essential to set a new time horizon for HiPERB and prolong its overall duration to a ten-year period, i.e. 2002-2011 (L. 3530/2007), in order to give recipient countries the possibility to further profit from the Plan funds that were allocated to them.
The Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans - HiPERB, the overall budget of which is 550 million Euros, aims at implementing large-scale infrastructure projects, strengthening private initiative and bolstering cooperation between the countries of our region (i.e. Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, FYROM, Romania and Serbia), for the implementation of investments, studies, activities and actions that serve the objectives of the Plan financing the relative projects. The seven recipient countries are not only Greece’s trade partners, but also frequently serve as communication channels linking our country with the rest of Europe and its broader market.
In the Black Sea area, Greece is a founding member of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which was initiated in 1992 as an informal “Black Sea Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation” and was converted into an international economic organization (BSEC - Black Sea Economic Cooperation) on May 1 1999, with the coming into force of its Charter signed in June 1998 in Yalta.
The BSEC has its headquarters in Istanbul and is composed of twelve member states, namely Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldavia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.