Bangladesh and Greece forge stronger bonds in bilateral relations

Bangladesh, Greece, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

On April 16, 2024, Bangladesh and Greece convened a pivotal bilateral meeting at the prestigious Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens. This meeting, held alongside the 9th Our Ocean Conference, was not just a diplomatic event but a reaffirmation of the deep-rooted friendship and shared aspirations between the two nations. Both countries expressed a renewed commitment to broadening their collaboration across an array of sectors, from trade and investment to migration, renewable energy, and beyond.

The historical ties between Bangladesh and Greece date back to March 11, 1972, when Greece extended recognition to Bangladesh following the return of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation. This gesture marked the beginning of a friendly relationship built on mutual respect, shared values, and a common understanding of regional and global issues. Over the decades, Bangladesh’s intelligentsia and academia have fostered a deep appreciation for Greek history, culture, and contributions to civilization, further strengthening the bond between the two countries.

The bilateral relationship has been significantly influenced by the presence of Bangladeshi expatriates in Greece. Despite economic challenges facing Greece in recent years, these expatriates have continued to make valuable contributions to sectors such as agriculture, hospitality, construction, and small-scale entrepreneurship. Their discipline, adherence to laws, and commitment to learning the Greek language have facilitated their integration into Greek society, reflecting the positive impact of people-to-people ties on bilateral relations.

Trade between Bangladesh and Greece has shown consistent growth, underpinned by existing agreements such as the Agreement on Economical and Technical Cooperation signed in 1987 and the Protocol on Political Consultations in 2010. Bangladesh exports a diverse range of products to Greece, including ready-made garments, frozen food, chemicals, ceramics, jute, and leather goods. On the other hand, Greece exports raw cotton, textile processing machines, and integrated circuits to Bangladesh. The annualized growth rates of both countries’ exports highlight the mutually beneficial nature of their trade relations and the potential for further expansion.

In addition to trade, the shipping sector holds significant promise for collaboration between Bangladesh and Greece. Bangladesh’s strategic location on the Bay of Bengal serves as a crucial maritime link between Southeast Asia and the Middle East, while Greece’s access to the Aegean Sea positions it as a historic maritime hub connecting Europe, Africa, and Asia. Both countries recognize the potential for cooperation in transshipment, creating efficient shipping routes, and leveraging Greece’s expertise in the global shipping industry to benefit Bangladesh’s shipping sector.

Migration and mobility agreements have significantly contributed to strengthening the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Greece. Greece’s proactive steps to legalize the status of more than 10,000 Bangladeshi nationals, as outlined in the Migration and Mobility Memorandum of Understanding, exemplify its dedication to safeguarding the rights and welfare of expatriates. Bangladesh recognizes and values the contributions of its skilled professionals to Greece’s diverse sectors, such as agriculture, tourism, hospitality, and construction. Additionally, Bangladesh appreciates Greece’s ongoing commitment to recruiting and integrating these professionals into its economy, further cementing the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two nations.

The recent bilateral meeting saw both countries exploring new avenues for cooperation, with discussions focusing on enhancing trade and investment, facilitating exports and imports, strengthening migration and mobility agreements, and developing renewable and alternative energy infrastructure. The Greek Foreign Minister graciously accepted an invitation to visit Dhaka, signaling the potential inauguration of the Greek Diplomatic Mission in Bangladesh’s capital. This diplomatic gesture underscores the importance both countries attach to their bilateral relations and the shared vision for a more interconnected future.

As Bangladesh endeavors to transition from the status of a Least Developed Country and broaden its economic horizons, Greece stands out as a crucial ally in this transformative path. The recent bilateral meeting underscored the shared dedication of both nations to fully realizing the possibilities of their partnership across a range of sectors. Whether it’s trade and investment, migration and mobility, or renewable energy infrastructure, Bangladesh and Greece are primed to tap into fresh avenues for mutual growth, prosperity, and shared success. This collaborative spirit paves the way for a brighter, more interconnected future for both countries, built on trust, cooperation, and shared goals.

The bilateral bond between Bangladesh and Greece stands as a testament to their lasting friendship, mutual respect, and common aspirations. Amidst the ever-changing global landscape, their collaborative endeavors to fortify bilateral relations shine as a beacon of diplomatic synergy and strategic alignment. This partnership exemplifies the power of cooperation and serves as an inspiring model of international diplomacy, resonating on the world stage with its depth and significance.


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