WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump welcomed the prime minister of Greece to the White House Tuesday by saying the United States was very proud of the country and “the comeback” it is making.
From 2010-2018, Greece survived on bailout loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. It exited the rescue program more than a year ago, but remains under strict supervision from lenders and has committed to achieving stringent budget targets for years to come.
Trump and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met at a time of high stakes in the Mediterranean region. The Harvard-educated Mitsotakis said his country was “following a recipe” that has worked in the United States, including lower taxes, and the Greek economy has reacted positively.
Mitsotakis said he was looking for Trump’s support in calling on American companies to invest in Greece. Mitsotakis won office pledging to make the country more-business friendly, cut taxes and modernize Greece’s antiquated bureaucracy.
Leading up to the White House meeting, Trump administration officials described Greece as transforming itself from being a source of problems to becoming a source of solutions and stability. The officials noted that Greece recently signed a deal with Israel and Cyprus to build an undersea pipeline to carry gas from new offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe.
The race to claim offshore energy deposits in the southern Mediterranean has created new tensions between Greece and Cyprus, on one side, and historic rival Turkey.
The Trump administration said it supports Greece’s emergence as a regional energy hub and said reliable access to energy is critical to economic development and stability in the region.
Trump said Tuesday’s meeting would also cover trade and military issues. It comes as the world grapples with heightening tensions in the Middle East after a U.S. strike killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.