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Wednesday, June 10th 2020
A New Legacy

Good morning and welcome to the second day of Delphi Economic Forum V, which kicked off yesterday with an Opening Address by H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who praised the country’s effective strategy in dealing with the pandemic, as well as the digital transformation that took place over the past few months. "A new, positive, international image of the country is the legacy of Greece from this crisis. That and a sense that even under the direst circumstances we can make it." She also noted that the focus of this year’s convention on public health is especially topical and that shielding our healthcare system "is the field in which citizens' trust in democracy is judged and forged".

President of the Administration Council of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Rector Hélène Ahrweiler spoke of uncertainty "as the only sure thing". "Nothing can be as it was yesterday", she said regarding the day after the pandemic. During the session on Thermopylae and Salamis, she added a historical layer to our understanding of the present, expressing her hope that Greece can lead by example "for a humanity with a newfound sense of coherence and solidarity". Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO Marianna V. Vardinoyannis echoed this view, adding that the aforementioned battles left behind a legacy of virtue as power and of strategy being more important than politics. "Thermopylae and Salamis are not the places where battles took place; they are the ideals and universal concepts that concern those who fight for a purpose."

"I was looking forward to attending the Delphi Economic Forum in March, before our world got upside down", remarked Deputy Managing Director of the IMF Tao Zhang in his Keynote Speech. "Lurking in the day after is another crisis. Slower moving perhaps, but equally critical. I’m talking of course about climate change. We have known for years that urgent action is needed, but it is more apparent now in the wake of this pandemic that we shouldn’t mess with mother nature." He also stressed how interlinked these crises are, as some of the economic policy decisions taken today will affect climate outcomes tomorrow.

Finally, Director and Co-author of "Thinking the Unthinkable" Nik Gowing delivered a timely update for leaders on the alert he issued in the opening session of the Delphi Forum 2018, talking about the new stresses on leadership in our post-Covid world. "Good leaders don’t deny or palm stuff away. They see reality - the unthinkable, the unpalatable - they grip it and they act accordingly. What we have seen with Covid-19 is a dry-run, a scaling up for what is likely now with the climate emergency", he predicted.

What to Expect from Today
  • The various ways - political, economic and financial - in which the pandemic is shaping the world around us will be discussed at the highest possible level again today, through Fireside Chats with the former Greek Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Alexis Tsipras (11:25 - Stream 1), the Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization Alan Wolff (13:00 - Stream 1) and the EU's Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni (17:15 - Stream 1), but also In Conversation sessions such as the one on Institutions, the Rule of Law, Democracy and Individual Responsibility with Deputy Prime Minister Panayiotis Pikrammenos and former Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos  (19:10 - Stream 1), as well as the one between Partner at BCG and Head of Creativity and Scenarios Alan Iny and Sir Donald Gordon Chair of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at London Business School Michael G. Jacobides (19:25 - Stream 2).
  • The short-term and long-term impact of the pandemic on doing business will be front and center throughout the day, with In Conversation sessions such as that with Christos Harpantidis, the Philip Morris International Head of the South East EU Cluster (Big on Business. Big On Solutions. Big on Trust?- 11:50 - Stream 2) and with the Senior Vice President of Global Government Engagement at Visa Inc.,  Demetrios Marantis (18:05 - Stream 2), the CEO Talk with Coca-Cola HBC Greece General Manager for Greece & Cyprus Yannis Papachristou (12:10 - Stream 2), as well as sessions such as Small HORECA Businesses: Challenges & Opportunities in the "New Normal" (10:05 - Stream 2), Putting People First (12.15 - Stream 2), E-Commerce for the New Era (16:15 - Stream 2) and Retail in the Era of Social Distancing (18:25 - Stream 2).
  • A key theme today will be the impact of emerging technologies on our present and immediate future, through In Conversation sessions with Matt Brittin, EMEA Business & Operations President at Google (13:00 - Stream 2), Senior Director of Global Government Affairs at Microsoft John Galligan (Keep Calm and Carry On Digital - 14:00 - Stream 2), Senior Partner at Deloitte Sir Rob Wainwright (Cybersecurity in the Age of Accelerated Digital Transformation - 17:00 - Stream 2) and a Face to Face session with Minister of Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis (13:25 - Stream 2). Developments in the digital sphere will also be discussed in sessions such as the Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence (11:25 - Stream 2), A Two Year Transformation in Two Months (14:20 - Stream 2), Fighting Unemployment: The Reskilling Imperative (15:05), Accelerating Digital Transformation (15:40 - Stream 2), 5G: The Power of Networks (17:15 - Stream 2) and Transforming Urban Transportation (10:50 - Stream 2).
  • The European Union’s handling of the pandemic and its ambitious relief plan, which is likely to influence macro and political dynamics across the continent, will be discussed extensively. The day kicks off with a session on Coronavirus and the Cost of Non-Europe (9:30 - Stream 1), followed by Fireside Chats on How The Pandemic is Reshaping the World with Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Bulgaria Ivan Krastev (11:00 - Stream 1), The New Political Cycle of the European Commission: What Has Changed and What Hasn’t Post Covid with European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas (12:10 - Stream 1), German Presidency Priorities with Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Greece Ernst Reichel (12:40 - Stream 1), Another Test for Europe: Pass or Fail? at 15:50 (Stream 1) and finally What Europe Will Emerge from the Covid Crisis with Professor of European Studies at University of Oxford Timothy Garton Ash (16:35 - Stream 1). In terms of the relationship between the EU and its global partners, there will be an In Conversation session on the UK-Europe Union: Post Brexit with British Ambassador to Greece Kate Smith and The Rt Hon Lord Maude of Horsham (10:40 - Stream 1) and a session on Mapping the Europe-China Relations at 20:30 (Stream 1).
  • Our Eastern Mediterranean neighbourhood has seen a lot of action as of late, which will be discussed though various viewpoints, in CEO Talkssuch as that with Vice President, Global Defence & Security at CAE Marc-Olivier Sabourin (10:00 - Stream 1), two sessions on The Emerging Landscape in the Eastern Mediterranean (at 10.05 and 13:45 - Stream 1), numerous Fireside Chats such as that with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides (13:25 - Stream 1), US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt (14:30 - Stream 1) and the Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center for the US Department of State Lea Gabrielle (17.45 - Stream 2), but also through In Conversation sessions with Greek Immigration & Asylum Minister Panagiotis Mitarachi (19:10 - Stream 2), the former Minister of National Defence Evangelos Apostolakis (14.50 - Stream 1) and the Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy & Int. Relations at Harvard Kennedy School, Amb. Nicholas Burns (20:10 - Stream 1).
  • It is impossible to think of geopolitical developments without an energy and climate change lense, which will be touched upon in sessions ranging from the East Med Energy: A Post-Covid Outlook  (15.10), to Pathways to Decarbonisation (18:15 - Stream 1) and Introducing a New Narrative About Climate Change (19:45 - Stream 1), but also in a Fireside Chat with Minister of Environment & Energy Kostis Hatzidakis (17:45 - Stream 1) and that with former Minister of Environment & Energy  George Stathakis (18.00 - Stream 1).
  • For a detailed conference agenda, please click here.
The Future of Healthcare
  • "The real exit strategy of this crisis is one: to get a vaccine. We have mobilized all our means to help member states tackle the coronavirus threat, but we know that unless we find a vaccine we will not be safe. The vaccine will need to be accessible to everyone fairly and equitably." EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides spoke of the development and disbursement of a vaccine as a gamechanger, highlighting the measures the EU has taken to expedite this process, but also support citizens' healthcare needs more broadly. "We have a long way to go but we are on the right path."
  • Partner at McKinsey & Company Angela Spatharou spoke of the ongoing increase we have seen in recent years in healthcare spending across countries, albeit with variable results in terms of improving patient outcomes, the sustainability of healthcare systems and our ability to care for an older population with more complex needs and comorbidities. "How do digital and AI solutions come into this? Through connectivity, real-time analytics and automation. There is an enormous amount of applications that these technologies can have, from telemedicine to treatment and medication adherence, predictive analytics, clinical decision support, genomic analysis and self-care."
  • Managing Director of Bayer Hellas Andreas Pollner mentioned some key learnings of this crisis so far, such as the fact that the trust of people in science has increased and a wider population has become aware of just how important R&D can be in providing answers and solutions to diseases. He also spoke of the importance of leveraging tech solutions such as telemedicine, which can be particularly helpful to a country with a vast archipelago of islands like Greece.
  • Senior Director of Value Based Health Care Maarten Akkerman spoke about the impact of the pandemic on non-Covid patients, noting that in the Netherlands, it has been severe. "We need to address another crisis in the horizon, which is treating patrients that have not received the necessary non-Covid related care. Medical technology can be particularly useful in this instance.”
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You can access the latest Delphi Economic Forum agenda, here.
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Real-World Data
  • Senior Epidemiologist of Macchabitech Clara Weil presented the various initiatives that the Israeli company undertook throughout the Covid-19 emergency, relying on a variety of technological tools that made use of real-world data. "Access to such data allowed us to quickly answer some important questions regarding Covid-19." The ability to link lab data with longitudinal data of previous decades was key in providing answers to crucial questions regarding the pandemic.
  • Executive Director of the Global Center for Observational and Real World Evidence at MSD Megan O' Brien also touched upon how the company works with real-world evidence, cooperating with a variety of partners to establish broad and comprehensive data sources. "If Greece could establish the necessary data infrastructure, it could become a real-world data center of excellence." There are however a number of considerations in using real-world data, including data relevance, quality (accuracy, validity, completeness and origin), as well as transparency.
  • Emeritus Professor at Karolinska Institute Staffan Lindblad spoke about patient-centric data analysis that optimizes healthcare, which is currently in use in Sweden. Such analysis can provide valuable insights regarding the side-effects and effectiveness of drugs. "The key challenge in creating complex digital data technology on the national level is not to do everything at once or too quickly. All stakeholders should be participating in this process from the start and staying informed so they can see what’s in it for them.”
  • "We gained significant experience during this pandemic and we are not going to miss this opportunity." Deputy Minister of Health Vassilis Kontozamanis spoke of the opportunities that exist for big data analytics and real-world evidence for research in Greece, both in terms of clinical trials and observational studies. "We need to capitalize on this potential." In a later session on the national health system in the post Covid-19 era, he emphasized the government's willingness to make changes, noting that "the public character of the health system is non-negotiable and we will support it by any means".
A Message From Papastratos

Over the last few months, we came face to face with an unimaginable threat, which violently changed our habits, destroying all sense of normalcy. We adjusted quickly. We operated with transparency, emphasizing cooperation and planning. We learned to trust this unprecedented synergy of citizens, businesses and the state, which has been lauded internationally. We won the battle of the present and equipped ourselves with the knowledge to fight the battles of the future. Because, if this crisis proved anything, it is that placing our faith in science, without reservation or prejudice, is vital for the common good. Just as we trusted scientists at the apex of this crisis, so we must do now, with science in our minds and cooperation in our hearts. We are evolving #prostokalytero. We owe that to the Greece of tomorrow, which is being built today.

Crisis into Opportunity
  • "We had this strategy all along, but we accelerated our plan." Deputy Minister of Digital Governance Grigoris Zarifopoulos emphasized the numerous gains of this crisis for Greece, especially in terms of embracing technology, exemplified by a new relationship the government has managed to build between citizens and the state. "We have a unique, historic opportunity to do things that have never been done before in Greece". An example of such a project would be to develop and link a digital medical record for citizens with the national e-prescription system. "Coupling these two would bring about a huge reform in the e-healthcare sector."
  • General Manager of AbbVie Pharmaceuticals Pascal Apostolides praised the state’s successful response to the pandemic, but also the public-private partnerships that enabled it. He proposed a new framework for pharmaceutical innovation in Greece, with an emphasis on reducing bureaucracy and taxation, so that patients have access to innovative drugs and investor interest is restored. He added that "in the close relationship between public health and the economy, pharmaceutical innovation plays a dual role".
  • CoCEO of ELPEN Group and President of the Panhellenic Union of Pharmaceutical Industries Theodoros Tryfon spoke of the day after for Greece, which should see an increase in domestic production and a reduction in the country's dependence on imports, with a focus on job creation and growth through increased investment in research and innovation. "This triptych should be an inviolable rule under which policies are designed from now on", he noted. In this respect, the domestic pharmaceutical industry boasts a big advantage: it has a strong production base, it has been making significant investments in R&D every year, and brings to market products that are exportable and marketable abroad.
Be Prepared
  • Despite the recent surge in cases announced on Sunday, National Public Health Organization (EODY) President Panagiotis Arkoumaneas appeared optimistic, reiterating that the epidemiological picture of the country remains positive, noting however that this is an ongoing process. "We are not complacent. This exercise is unprecedented, complex and multifaceted." He explained that opening up an economy after a two-month lockdown could not have been an entirely risk-free exercise.
  • "If there is a second wave, we are all better prepared." Rector at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Athanasios-Meletios Dimopoulos drew attention to the fact that, throughout these past months, we have been called upon to deal with a new and unknown disease as it progresses. "Today, the healthcare system in Greece is much more familiar with the disease and its treatment", he remarked, adding that we gained time to better prepare our healthcare system for the pandemic by taking measures early on.
  • "The coronavirus is not only an invisible enemy, it is also an unknown enemy." Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Athens Medical School Yannis Tountas noted that whether we are going to see a new wave of the pandemic in Greece or not depends on a number of factors. He also spoke of a resurgence of epidemics in recent years, as a result of urban overcrowding, large population groups moving around the globe, but also the disruption of the food chain and the human relationship with the animal kingdom. He urged us to "take another look at the relationship between man and the ecosystem".
  • Emeritus Professor of Health Economics at the National School of Public Health John Kyriopoulos, spoke extensively of the necessary healthcare sector reforms in Greece, but also of previous efforts in this vein, which didn’t bring about positive change due to diffidence, lack of commitment and conflicting interests. Regarding the future of healthcare reform in Greece, he said that its success lies in the triptych of "equality, efficiency and efficacy".
Photos coming out of the first day of the Delphi Economic Forum.
Success Story
  • "Early lockdown measures showed the government's respect for human life." Minister of Health Vassilis Kikilias took a look back to the early days of the pandemic, pointing out the swift and successful measures taken by the Prime Minister and the relevant ministries in response to this unprecedented crisis. "I believe that prevention is superior to cure. That's why when Covid was still in Wuhan Province in China, we started preparing our national healthcare system for this crisis." Noting the stark difference in how Greece is perceived by the international community compared to a few years back, he stressed that for the first time in a while, the country is in the spotlight worldwide for a good reason, something he expects to help both the Greek economy and tourism flows.
  • Former Minister of Health Andreas Xanthos spoke of the difficulties faced by the national healthcare system over the past decade, as well as the efforts made by the previous government to improve its operation. He pointed out that the pandemic functioned as a magnifying glass, highlighting unmet needs and that as a result of the Covid-19 emergency "the value of public healthcare and of strong state structures has been showcased worldwide." He acknowledged the positive measures taken by the new government as a response to the pandemic, but shared his reservations as to whether these will continue in the same direction when things go back to normal.
  • The Minister of Culture & Sports Lina Mendoni spoke of the relationship between culture, tourism and the economy, noting that "Delphi, beyond just a value and an idea, is a pole that creates a significant economy in the area where it takes place". She pointed out the city of Bilbao and its transformation due to the local museum, marking the slow but steady steps that are being taken towards the digital transformation in the field of culture in Greece, with the expansion of the electronic ticket being set as a key priority.
To Market, To Market
  • Piraeus Bank CEO Christos Megalou spoke of the changes that have been brought about by the pandemic, especially in digitizing the economy and adopting work habits that would otherwise have taken years to materialize, which happened almost overnight in Greece and are here to stay. "We face challenging times but the improvement in the Greek economy over that past few years along with our work allows us to be optimistic that we have the ability to effectively weather this situation. I'm confident that 2021 can be the beginning of the revitalization of the Greek economy, putting us back on the path of growth that will be sustainable for the next four years."
  • Discussing the path the world economy post Covid-19 is likely to follow, Chairman of The Hellenic Initiative Andrew Liveris noted that "Covid has been the great human equalizer", in the sense that it's affecting everyone equally. What this is doing to consumption is a contraction that is unpredictable and will be followed by a recovery path that is difficult to predict and could take many different shapes. He spoke of the profound effects this crisis is likely to have on humanity, but also of the leadership vacuum we are currently experiencing on a global scale. "I believe that global institutions have to be reborn. Business, political and community leaders have to begin locally, nationally, then regionally, to create the new world order."
  • "During the Covid-19 emergency, many companies and suppliers of public administration have been struggling with their working capital, due to difficulties in cashing their income and finding the financial support they need from the traditional banking sector", remarked Vice President of International Markets Department at BFF Banking Group in Italy, Michele Antognoli. "In the next few months we expect to see average payment times for public hospitals to increase significantly, due to difficulties in managing the state budget and the stress managing operations during the Covid emergency. We are also seeing an increase in the levels of indebtedness, which will generate an increased perception of country risk for international investors".
Spotlight on Social Security
  • Minister for Labour & Social Affairs Yannis Vroutsis noted that Greece now has a reliable social security system that "came to stay", emphasizing the fact that it covers all Greeks and guarantees pensions until 2070, with pensions likely to increase in the future. With this new scheme, legal disputes will also be put to rest and there is now a timetable for retroactive payments. He pointed out that the new policy is a leap into the future, with the digital pension scheme Atlas being "a decades-old dream".
  • Former Minister of Labour Effie Achtsioglou pointed out that the pandemic has tested the limits of society and the economy, while highlighting the role of the public sector as a key pillar, noting that everyone turned to the state when the markets were "derailed". She wondered if the public sector should protect labor as a permanent guarantor, rather than being a firefighter on specific occasions. She disagreed with the government's labour policy stance and proposed a different scheme that would guarantee 100% of wages. Finally, she mentioned the EU's reaction to the pandemic as being in the right direction, noting that there are still some grey zones that need to be clarified.
  • The former Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Nikos Voutsis raised the issue of constitutional rights during the pandemic, expressing his concerns over possible social, political and personal tracing that might go beyond coronavirus contact tracing. He also raised the issue of democratic governance as a counterweight to authoritarian forms of control. He also called for guarantees on the right to work and expressed his concerns over a possible increase in unemployment, which could lead to flexible forms of labour that would "treat workers like hostages".
  • Capping a full day of sessions, Chief Operations Officer of NN Hellas Konstantinos Kougioumoutzis acknowledged that pension system reform is a global issue requiring parametric changes. He noted that the key to make the system sustainable is for the economy to thrive and he proposed new ways for the state and private insurance companies to work alongside each other.
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ethniki Insurance Christoforos Sardelis echoed his concerns, mentioning uncertainty as a global issue, but insisting that we are in a position to intervene and eliminate it with the right policies. He also touched upon the long-standing divestment trend in our country, making the case for greater incentives to boost savings and private insurance.
  • Finally, Professor of Insurance at the University of Piraeus Milton Nektarios made the case that no serious reform in social security has taken place in Greece, and that consecutive governments have used the system to their advantage. He reckoned that large borrowings to meet present needs have led to the system's bankruptcy and it is necessary to take specific steps to get to a self-financed pension system by 2040. He shared his view of the EU recovery fund as an important step forward and a major change in its course, noting that we must take full advantage of it to create a new and reliable healthcare system in Greece.
A Message From Papastratos

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we discovered the Greece that we were looking for and became a country that unconditionally puts the common good first. A country that emphasizes the "collective" for the future of us all. Now we must all - citizens, businesses, society - take this unprecedented opportunity to continue on the path of what we have learned. With the same intensity of purpose, responsibility and solidarity. Let's make the leap so that no one is left behind tomorrow; a tomorrow that will only come through ongoing dialogue, continued cooperation and mutual respect. Papastratos will be there. Committed to continuing to do what companies with high ideals do. Dedicated to showing up to address major problems with great solutions. Immediately. Sensibly. Together #prostokalytero.

Don’t Forget to Register

To live stream this year’s event you must first register, if you haven’t done so already, by clicking here. The password to access this year's event, which was also sent to you through a separate email, is DELPHIFRM2020PASS2456. You may enter it here to login. Registration will be open for the duration of the conference.

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