If one phrase often says it all, yesterday at the Maximou Mansion this was the concluding statement of the heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in his private meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis: “I promise you that when I come to Greece, I will not come empty-handed, said the heir to the throne of the Gulfs leading power, thus showing the willingness of the Saudis to invest generously in our country, which they see as a bridge to Europe.

The new element in the equation was the intention of the Saudis to supply our country and Europe with cheaper electricity, which they themselves produce from Renewable Energy Sources. This is included in the Memorandum of Cooperation signed for the energy sector, with the prospect of interconnecting the electricity supply networks of the two countries and then our country becoming agatewayfor both the countries of the European South and the West.

The energy cooperation with Riyadh, of course, has. . depth, as there is already talk of hydrogen, which is expected to be the fuel of the future and our country wants to have a head start in supplies, as it did with LNG.

The data cable

The strategic relationship between Athens and Riyadh, however, is basically contracted in the mega-project called the East to Med Data Corridor (EMC), the big data transmissioncable, as the four companies leading the project (STC, TTSA, PPC and Cyta), signed an agreement so that the EMC project can be implemented by autumn.

This is a project that substantially upgrades our countrys position as a hub for data storage and distribution in the Southeastern European region, bringing tangible economic and geostrategic benefits, government sources stress.

Under the agreement, the creation of two data centers in Attica and Crete will be launched. The Saudis, meanwhile, are showing their intentions to do business in the telecommunications sector, with Prince Bin Salman talking about the prospect of interconnecting telecommunications networks.

11+1 deals

Apart from the EMC Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding on Energy, the upgrading of the strategic relationship between Greece and Saudi Arabia is reflected in the 9 more agreements signed. The High Council for Strategic Cooperation between the two countries will be the main coordinating body, while military cooperation will become even closer, with joint exercises and exchange of know-how on armaments.At the same time, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for the promotion of investment, scientific and technological cooperation, health, the fight against crime, culture and sport, technical cooperation in the fields of standardisation and quality, and cooperation in archiving and records management.

Simply put, with agreements of greater and lesser scope, Greece and Saudi Arabia are coming closer in all policy areas, with our country for the first time in decades having a closer relationship with the Gulf countries, given the Defense Agreement that we have signed with the United Arab Emirates.

The agreements, however, did not end yesterday, as these were only at intergovernmental level.Mr bin Salman is accompanied by 30 businessmen and the head of the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, who will participate in todays investment forum taking place in the UK. So, after yesterdays dinner at the Acropolis Museum, which Mr. Mitsotakis hosted for Mr. bin Salman with a Cretan menu, the business for large companies that want to invest in our country, but also for Greek companies that want to open lots in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the largest of the deals is the one between Mytilineos Group and Ajlan&Bros. Holding Group.

Salman: We can provide Greece with cheaper energy

His intention to support Europe, especially southern and western Europe, with much cheaper and efficient energy from renewable sources, expressed the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, during his meeting on Tuesday in Athens with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, stressing the prospects for cooperation between the two sides.

The statement comes as an energy war rages in Europe, centred on Russia and its control over the flow of gas to Western Europe.

This is the first visit to European soil by the powerful Mohammed bin Salman, head of an investment fund managing hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth, since April 2018. This reflects the importance that Saudi Arabia attaches to relations with Greece as a pillar of security and stability in the region.

I believe that we also have historic opportunities, many of which we are going to finalise today,” Mohammed bin Salman said during his reception at the Maximos Mansion, adding, “By connecting the electricity grids, we can provide Greece and southeastern Europe through Greece with much cheaper renewable energy and we will sign a memorandum of understanding on this today. ”

I will not come empty-handed

He also stressed thatwe are also concerned about hydrogen and how to turn Greece into a hub for Europe in terms of hydrogen, something that is a game changer for both countries.

We are also working on the interconnection of the telecommunications network. These three are all important issues that are going to change the position of Greece and Saudi Arabia and support Europe, especially southern and western Europe, with much cheaper and efficient energy from renewable sources. ”

He said, “We certainly have a rich agenda: investment, trade, economic agenda, political agenda, security. So I promise you that when I come to Greece, I will not come empty-handed. “