BUSINESS

Government saying one thing, doing another on investments

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS, YANNIS PALAIOLOGOS, CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

Eldorado is threatening the government with legal action unless the licensing issues of the Halkidiki gold mines are resolved in a friendly way.

TAGS: Economy

On the one hand the government is inviting Greeks and foreigners to invest in the country and on the other it continues to raise obstacles to the implementation of any investment project.

The developments of Elliniko (on Athens’s southern coast) and Kassiopi (on Corfu), the gold mines in Halkidiki and the windpark at Evia are but some of dozens of investments being undermined by the state’s actions or inactivity.

Even amid the upbeat mood during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Athens last week, representatives of French firms in the country raised to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras the problems of bureaucracy and myriad obstacles they face.

At the Greek-French business forum, held at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, Tsipras received numerous complaints regarding the bureaucratic problems investments face in Greece, and was forced to issue promises for their resolution.

Total is one such case: The French oil giant is ready to invest hundreds of millions of euros in the hydrocarbons sector. Its chief executive, Patrick Pouyanne, expressed his company’s interest in investing in Greece – not only in hydrocarbons but also in renewable sources – but also stressed his negative experience of Greek red tape and said that the competent minister has asked them... to wait.

With the Elliniko development still waiting for the Culture Ministry to decide if the former airport’s plot is an archaeological site, putting at stake a project of billions of euros, another example of saying one thing and doing another is the development at Kassiopi. It took no less than five years for the property’s transfer to be completed, and once the investor acquired it, he came up against the garbage collection workers of Corfu’s municipal authority.

Eldorado Gold has reached its limit with the Halkidiki investment. Company head George Burns tells Kathimerini that if the government blocks the investment “it will be legally liable,” threatening Athens with court action. “We will exhaust all legal means to obtain the necessary licenses and I believe we will win. If our differences with the government cannot be resolved in a friendly manner, I will do what it takes to defend the interests of our shareholders and employees,” he said.

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