Greece has entered a new phase and this is recognized by everyone, Deputy Minister of Economy and Development Alexis Charitsis said in an interview with the newspaper “To Vima”.
He said there was a clear improvement in the investment climate and this is particularly reflected in foreign direct investment, which in the first half of 2017 exceeded 2.1 billion euros, up 185 pct from the first half of 2016. This is confirmed also in daily meetings of government officials with foreign investors who show an increased interest in investing in Greece, and the climate from Greek government’s contacts in the US, but also from meetings with French and Italian investors during the recent visits of President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in Athens.
Commenting on US contacts, he noted that “we did not have to convince investors and institutional bodies we met about the remarkable progress that has been made in the last two years and the investment opportunities that are being opened up. What they are asking us for now is where to direct their investments, in which priority areas, that is, on the basis of our own development plan, which we are already implementing. A plan that unfortunately did not exist in the past years, with the result that the country is lagging in attracting foreign investment.”
Beyond the financial sector, there is considerable investment interest in sectors of the real economy – such as energy, industry and manufacturing, transport, tourism and new technologies, “which also shows confidence in the potential of highly educated workers Greece,” he noted.
For the Hellinikon project he said that all the legal procedures that ensure both the realisation of the investment and the protection of the country’s cultural heritage were respected. As is the case in every European state, he added.
Regarding the institutional interventions expected by the Economy ministry, Charitsis said that in the immediate future, a new legislation on Strategic Investments will be tabled to Parliament, aiming to create a simpler and more flexible framework for their implementation and will broaden the criteria to include investment projects from more sectors of the economy, apart from tourism and energy, as was the case in the past.
Over the next few weeks, the ministry will launch four new programmes to boost entrepreneurship with a total budget of over 320 million euros. They include upgrading small and medium-sized businesses, setting up new tourism businesses, supporting export business operations and enhancing the environmental industry.
A large 500-million-euros residential energy saving program is also underway and, for the first time, a special programme for the energy upgrade of public and municipal buildings.