PM travels to Qatar to woo investors

After Elliniko disappointment, Samaras visits Arab state in bid to drum up revenue

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras heads to Qatar Tuesday in a bid to drum up interest in much-needed investment and convince the wealthy Arab state that Greece is serious about welcoming foreign projects.

Accompanied by Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, Defense Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and a delegation of Greek entrepreneurs, the prime minister is to explore the prospects for bilateral cooperation in various sectors just a few weeks after Qatari authorities dropped their bid for the development of the site of Athens’s former international airport in the coastal southern suburb of Elliniko.

Although the case of Elliniko is an undeniable setback, sources indicated that the government delegation was buoyed by Samaras’s success in suppressing strike action and by a series of opinion polls putting conservative New Democracy ahead of the main leftist opposition SYRIZA.

However, the premier will have to convince prospective investors that his government can continue to tackle unionist objections as well as cutting bureaucracy.

Samaras is to meet in Doha Tuesday with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani and Wednesday with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Earlier this month Qatar pulled out of the bidding for the development of the site of Athens’s former international airport at Elliniko. The tender details issued by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) were only picked up by three interested parties instead of the four that the privatization fund had short-listed for the second round of bidding.