BUSINESS

Qatari interest in Greece seen to be growing

By Vangelis Mandravelis

The improvement of the macroeconomic climate in Greece combined with the volatile situation in the Middle East has put this country firmly in the investment plans of Qatar, thereby rendering the planned visit by the Greek prime minister to the Gulf state next month very interesting indeed.

The acquisition of Oxia island, near Ithaca in the Ionian Sea, by the royal family of the emirate last summer was an initial show of interest in Greece. A second indication has come with the recent decision by state carrier Qatar Airways to use Athens International Airport for flights to and from New York.

Unconfirmed reports say that Qatar-interest companies have acquired at least two hotels on Corfu, while the state investment authority of Qatar remains one of the four suitors for the major project of the Elliniko development in southern Athens.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will in late January become the third Greek official to visit Qatar since November, after Defense Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis.

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