The first concern of the administration of Nikos Christodoulidis is to reduce the cost of electricity so that we can help industry and the economy “so that they can go where they deserve”, said the new Minister of Energy, of Commerce and Industry Giorgos Papanastasiou.
Speaking at noon on Wednesday, during the ceremony of handing over the portfolio from the outgoing Minister, Natasa Pileidou, Mr. Papanastasiou referred to the transitional period during which natural gas will have to be used, which as he said “will probably be from region”.
“Without cheap energy you cannot have a good and solid economy”, he said and mentioned that this project will be among the priorities, so that low-cost electricity production becomes possible, to help the economy.
Addressing the Ministry's leadership and staff who attended the handover ceremony, Mr. Papanastasiou spoke of a heavy sense of responsibility, noting the work of the outgoing Minister, but also the quality of the staff.
He said that the governance program is very specific and will be shared in the coming days with the Director General, Directors and all staff of the Ministry.
“We will try in the coming months to start the implementation of this program. We don't have time to wait” he said, giving the message of “rolling up our sleeves, work, so we can get results”.
The outgoing Minister's message, she added, is that we have achieved many things, while she gave promise to continue the work.
He mentioned, among other things, that trade and industry are “flying” and “we saw very good results”. “In energy we may not have done so well, not because it depended on us, but because we depend on a lot of other” external factors, he said. “That's where we will bring expertise” from other sectors, he said referring to his own contribution, noting that “we will make sure to provide the solutions there as well”.
Referring to the aims of the programme, he said that “we will we have to go to green energy”, but until then “we will have to go through a transition period in which we will have to use natural gas”. He also noted that “the use of natural gas will likely be from the region”.
He said he is setting the bar “realistically high” and spoke of measurable goals, noting that the world will judge us by the results we bring. He also said that the people have very high expectations and “we should not disappoint them”.
Addressing the outgoing Minister, he said “what you did not achieve, Natasha, we will achieve, whatever you achieved, we will continue it”.
For her part, Mrs. Pileidou expressed great emotion that she is handing over the portfolio and expressed the certainty that the new Minister will be able to manage the challenges with great success.
She thanked President Anastasiades for the trust he showed her. , both at the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, and at the Ministry of Commerce where he worked for 2.5 years. He spoke of a “very beautiful journey” despite the difficulties that arose, with the pandemic crisis and the energy crisis following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
What we have achieved in 2.5 years is the result of the cooperation of all officials of the Ministry, he said and expressed the certainty that they will continue to work with the same zeal in the coming years to achieve the green transition, ensure energy sufficiency and solve problems , while keeping prices as low as possible.
He also spoke of “great strides forward” in industry and commerce, while also referring to sponsorship plans for citizens and businesses.
Our industry, he continued, “has a very great prospect and I hope that it will flourish even more in the coming years and continue the positive results, with increases in exports and the number of personnel employed in the sector.
Addressing the new Minister, she said that he was taking on a “demanding portfolio” but expressed confidence that he would cope with his knowledge, experiences and “admirable resume”, noting at the same time the writing samples he has given in the energy sector.
In total we have secured around 590m for the 2021-2027 programming period for projects to be done and grant schemes, so you have the supplies and resources to make a difference, he concluded.