Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday had a discussion with Amazon executives regarding the global company’s very significant planned investment in Greece, involving the expansion of the Amazon Web Services Local Zones infrastructure outside of the United States.
The discussion was held online with AWS Vice President for Global Public Policy Michael Punke, who congratulated the prime minister on the great strides that Greece has made in a very short space of time.
Mitsotakis stressed that Greece is changing rapidly and becoming a hub for investments in high technology. He said it was very encouraging that major global players were choosing Greece as a place to establish a permanent presence. He said the investment was “one more vote of confidence in the prospects of the Greek economy” and spoke about the great efforts being made for the digitalisation of the Greek state.
“We have a ‘cloud first’ policy and we intend to establish Greece as a centre for data storage. The government is fully aligned to support this vision and I am very happy that you are responding to this and that you will significantly increase your presence in Greece,” he said.
Mitsotakis reported that he had worked in investments before becoming involved in politics and said he was happy that “with a small delay, what I believed would be possible in Greece with respect to the sector of technology and innovation, which contributes a sizeable percentage of our GDP, is happening in practice.”
He noted that many people were choosing to work in Greece due to Covid, adding that Greece was greatly facilitating such digital nomads by issuing visas allowing them to work anywhere.
“We have an excellently designed vaccination programme, which is fully digital. We are systematically increasing online services for businesses and citizens. If you ask the average Greek what is the most successful thing this government has done, they will reply that it is the digital transformation,” Mitsotakis said.
According to a government announcement, Greece will be the site of one of 11 AWS Local Zones that the company is planning to establish in Europe, confirming the country’s position as a regional technology hub, where major companies make strategic investments in infrastructure that will support the fourth industrial revolution and the economy of the future.
Local Zones reduce the latency for apps and offer greater computing power, digital storage space, data bases and other services through infrastructure locate near large urban, industrial and technological centres.
Punke said Greece was chosen partly because of the government’s meticulous work in the preparatory process but also because of the change seen in the Greek economy compared to the previous decade. He congratulated the prime minister for his leading role in Greece’s progress and the efforts toward digitalisation.
Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said that this was a result of a whole range of changes and political initiatives taken in recent years, including the decision to give priority to cloud computing. He said that a quarter of the Recovery Fund financing for Greece will go toward digital services and the cloud.
Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis, who also attended, sent the message that “we are here to help in every case and resolve every problems that concerns an investment so as to speed it up and improve its economic prospects.”
The meeting was additionally attended by Ministers of State Giorgos Gerapetritis and Akis Skertsos, AWS head of Public Policy Central and Eastern Europe Franco Spicciariello, the company’s Public Policy Manager for Greece and Cyprus Marina Stavrakantonaki, Commercial Sector Lead for Greece and Cyprus Athanasios Patsakas and Public Sector Lead for Greece and Cyprus Vasilis Kotitsas.