Wednesday 17th of April 2024

Greek Prime Minister Expresses Interest in Canadian LNG Purchase: 'Absolutely' Open to Collaboration

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed keen interest in acquiring Canada's liquefied natural gas (LNG) during an exclusive interview with CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos in Montreal. Mitsotakis, visiting Canada over the weekend, emphasized Greece's willingness to engage in LNG trade if the resource became available to the Mediterranean nation. According to Natural Resources Canada, Canada currently has eight LNG projects at various stages of development, with the first export facility scheduled to commence operations next year, targeting Asian markets. However, the prospect of exporting to European countries, including Greece, has sparked prolonged political deliberations.

The urgency to diversify energy sources intensified following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western nations' efforts to reduce reliance on Russian oil. Mitsotakis underscored Greece's strategic position as a potential gateway for LNG distribution, not only to serve the domestic market but also to supply the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He even floated the possibility of supplying Ukraine with LNG in the future. Despite advancements in renewable energy, Mitsotakis stressed Greece's continued need for a reliable electricity source, noting the country's transition away from nuclear and coal, leaving natural gas as a significant energy contributor for the foreseeable future.

When queried about Canada's suitability as a partner in this endeavor, Mitsotakis responded affirmatively, citing shared values and alignment on key geopolitical issues, such as Ukraine and Gaza. However, his enthusiasm contrasts with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cautious stance on LNG exports. In August 2022, Trudeau expressed reservations about incorporating LNG exports into Canada's long-term energy strategy, questioning the viability of such ventures. While Trudeau acknowledged short-term efforts to bolster energy supplies, he emphasized the need for a compelling business case before committing to LNG exports to Europe.

During his historic visit to Canada, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis conveyed a message of openness for business, marking the first such visit by a Greek premier in over four decades. Mitsotakis highlighted Greece's economic resurgence, signaling stable growth and abating inflation after a prolonged period of financial turmoil. Optimistic about Greece's trajectory, he urged Canadian investors to consider deploying capital in his country, emphasizing its attractiveness for business ventures.

In his interview, Mitsotakis addressed various issues, including defense spending and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Stressing the importance of meeting NATO's defense spending target of two percent of GDP, Mitsotakis underscored Greece's longstanding commitment to defense investment, despite economic challenges. He emphasized the collective responsibility of NATO members to fulfill this objective.

Moreover, Mitsotakis discussed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, expressing concerns over delays in its ratification. He indicated plans to engage with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau on this matter during his visit.

Mitsotakis articulated Canada's potential role as a key energy supplier in a net-zero economy, emphasizing investments in hydrogen and critical minerals for sustainable energy solutions. He highlighted Canada's ability to position itself as a significant contributor to global energy markets in the medium and long term.

The full interview with Mitsotakis, conducted by Kapelos, is available for viewing, providing further insights into the discussions held during his visit.

In conclusion, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis's visit to Canada not only signifies a renewed diplomatic exchange between the two nations but also underscores Greece's economic revival and its eagerness to engage in international business collaborations. Mitsotakis's emphasis on defense spending, the Ukraine conflict, energy sustainability, and trade agreements reflects the depth of discussions held during his visit. As both countries navigate the complexities of global geopolitics and economic recovery, Mitsotakis's call for investment in Greece and his push for enhanced bilateral cooperation underscore the potential for mutually beneficial partnerships in the years to come.