Mitsotakis’ trip to New York: All for nothing

Mitsotakis’ trip to New York: All for nothing

By Pavlos Levaditis

Maximos Mansion officials are trying to save what they can from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ long day trip to the US using communication tricks.

Although the current situation is favorable, almost ideal for the Greek economy, which indeed has the potential to become the exception to the international recession rule, the investments the prime minister seeks are not coming. Even Antonis Samaras under sever conditions had announced in September 2013 some big names in international entrepreneurship who had gathered to hear him speak at JP Morgan’s headquarters at the time. Who exactly participated in the Prime Minister’s presentations, Goldman Sachs and Blumberg remains a well-kept secret. Market people said that in addition to the general economic climate and the tax cuts put forward by the Prime Minister which were received favorably, no relevant preparations had been made to present specific business “projects” that could raise funds in partnerships with either Greek entrepreneurs or with the state.

The question remains for the ministers; not even the exact number has been announced, as they were strolling and shopping in New York the same period the prime minister was there. Only Niki Kerameos appeared at the UN Greek delegation and spoke to reporters about the purpose of her trip “to promote the extraversion of Greek higher education, university collaborations and student exchanges”, while meeting with her American counterpart as well. For Takis Theodorakakos, Lina Mendoni, Adonis Georgiadis, what was the point of their trip exactly?

Things are more difficult when it comes to ​​foreign policy. Kyriakos Mitsotakis was the first Greek prime minister to officially meet with Hakim Thaci, obviously causing displeasure to Serbs, and he was forced to tell Alexander Vucic that he would not recognize Kosovo. This constitutes in any case an upgrade for Hakim Thaci and a shift in the foreign policy course in the Balkans. Yet this choice was never explained by the Maximos Mansion officials or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The way the canceled meeting with Donald Trump was handled was a complete fiasco. Former prime ministers had sought a meeting at the White House. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, while the much important renewal of the defense agreement is pending, was asking for 15 minutes just to take photos with the Trump couple rather than an actual meeting. The renewal of the Souda-based agreement for three or five years, as Jeffrey Payatt had declared, will be announced during Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo’s visit and without Kyriakos Mitsotakis having made sure he will get a pass to the White House. The question of what benefits Greece has gained from the deal caught the government spokesman off-guard.

The prime minister settled for the good climate with Erdogan, which is rather normal since he did not raise the Greek-Turkish issue at all or  Turkey’s escalating provocation in the Aegean. During his three-month governance, Mr. Mitsotakis has even avoided raising the issue of sanctions against Turkey’s illegal activity within the Cypriot EEZ, something Alexis Tsipras at least had done. This happened so the positive ambiance would not be jeopardized, Maximos Mansion officials claimed.

Throughout the visit, Alexandra Papadopoulou, head of diplomatic bureau, with the assistance of Dimitris Mitropoulos, the Prime Minister’s adviser, was in charge of his moves, especially regarding foreign affairs. Although a strategic adviser on European issues, Mr. Mitropoulos was present throughout New York and accompanied the prime minister even in his meeting with Erdogan. Although it was assumed that the main purpose of the trip was economy and investments, Christos Staikouras was not part of the delegation, whereas Adonis Georgiades, though he did travel to New York, did not appear with the Prime Minister. Although in charge of Development, apart from taking on the streets of New York, he made an appearance to the Greek Diaspora of Astoria to talk to them about the value of the Greek language, something that the Prime Minister himself highlighted. Mareva Grabowski Mitsotakis also dropped by the Greek Community, though she didn’t get her own five minutes with Melania Trump. Some went on to say that Mareva was more involved than the rest.

In conclusion, the only possible outcome, if there is any, will be some investments which will be proved fruitful thanks to the previous government setting the ground. Otherwise it was all for nothing. /ibna