Strength of Greek-Saudi relationship yields benefits from energy security to cultural exchanges

Strength of Greek-Saudi relationship yields benefits from energy security to cultural exchanges

In an age in which the importance of energy security is increasingly recognized, Greece is leading the way thanks to a series of flagship projects to boost and diversify energy supplies not only to our own country, but also to Europe as a whole.

This week saw major progress on this front thanks to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Greece and Saudi Arabia for cooperation in several areas relating to the energy sector – one of eleven MoUs signed in areas spanning innovation, investment, and trade. The Saudi delegation was headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman whom we were delighted to host in Athens on his first ever visit to Greece.

The energy memorandum sets a framework for cooperation between the two countries in fields including renewable energy, electrical interconnection, exporting electricity to Greece and Europe, clean hydrogen and its transfer to Europe, energy efficiency, the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, and adopting the circular economy approach to carbon to reduce the effects of climate change.

It also includes commitments to work together to promote digital transformation and innovation in the sector and to localise materials, products, and services related to all energy sectors and their associated supply chains and technologies in our respective countries.

Our collaboration with Saudi Arabia comes on top of other initiatives in the energy space, most notably the construction of the new floating LNG terminal at Alexandroupolis which began in May. Set to be completed at the end of next year, this facility will provide 5.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and North Macedonia.
Energy security is only one example of the strategic partnership Greece is building with Saudi Arabia. Our co-operation also encompasses the “East to Med data Corridor”, a new submarine and terrestrial cable data transmission system that will connect Europe with Asia via Greece and Saudi Arabia. Utilising Greece’s unique geographical advantages, the project will make Greece the eastern gateway to the EU and a regional hub for data transfers from Asia.

Greece and Saudi Arabia have much in common as two countries on a journey of modernisation and transformation. Aside from our shared aspiration to lead in areas such as clean energy and the digital revolution, our cultures also have deep roots stretching back to ancient times. As such, culture and tourism is another area ripe for co-operation and this will be covered by another memorandum signed this week, appropriately enough at a ceremony at the Acropolis Museum.

As Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud noted at the ceremony, “Both our countries have a deep and rich heritage… a shared outlook on the positive power of cultural exchange, and the need for its protection and preservation. As the Kingdom looks to share its culture with the world, Greece’s insight and experience has much to offer us.” One of the main initiatives to come out of a strengthened Saudi-Greek cultural relationship are “Cultural Weeks” to be held in both countries featuring cultural heritage exchanges, art exhibitions and festivals.

The successful visit by the Saudi delegation is emblematic of Greece’s attractiveness to global investment as well as of the export opportunities for Greek goods and services. It is also a demonstration of Greece’s leadership in areas which will shape the economy and society of the future.

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