The Delphi Economic Forum (DEF) wrapped up on Sunday, with investors bemoaning the delays and obstructions dogging the large-scale projects that Greece’s economy so desperately needs.
More specifically, investors rued problems and delays with investments at the port of Piraeus, the project for the creation of a tourism resort in Kassiopi on the Ionian island of Corfu that has been stalled since 2013, as well as major enterprises involving state-owned real estate and airports.
Investors at the forum pointed the finger of blame at the Greek state and its lack of strategy, ceaseless backpeddling, obstructions and everything else standing in the way of the completion of a long string of investment projects.
These complaints were further augmented by the decision Monday of the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) to declare the wider region of Piraeus an archaeological area. This, according to interested parties, will only create more constraints and obstacles for investment projects by the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and China’s Cosco.
During his presentation at the DEF on Saturday, OLP’s deputy executive director Angelos Karakostas accused Greece of backing down on agreements it has struck.
He said that Cosco never backed down from its commitments after it signed a concession agreement in 2008 for the port – even though it could have have cited the financial crisis as a justification to halt its activities.
Not only did Cosco not back down, he said, but it completed the investments it agreed to. It did this, he said, two years before it was obliged to do so. Cosco proved its credibility, he said, and called on the government to facilitate new investments that are in the pipeline.
Another example of a major investment hitting a brick wall is the Thessaloniki Port Authority’s (OLTH) development plan.
OLTH has challenged a decision by the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, to suspend the creation of a passenger terminal – an investment worth 130 million euros. The Council of State took the decision on the grounds that the concessionaire – OLTH – cannot be a contracting authority.
According to OLTH’s chief executive Sotiris Theofanis, the decision “overlooks every element of reason.”