By Dimitra Manifava
At a meeting with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and his deputy, Notis Mitarakis, on Tuesday, representatives of 11 multinational companies with production units in Greece said the main problems the firms face in this country are energy costs and the multiple procedures in dealing with the state.
The ministry’s aim in conducting such meetings is to contribute to finding ways of resolving general issues and to work out la carte solutions in the context of the law.
The meeting included representatives from Athenian Brewery, Barilla Hellas, Bic Violex, Henkel Hellas, Kraft Foods Hellas, Elais-Unilever Hellas, Nestle Hellas, FrieslandCampina Hellas, Papastratos, SCA Hygiene Products and Ytong-Thrakon.
Hatzidakis told the representatives that the issue of high energy costs is one that the government is examining in association with its international creditors in an effort to find ways to reduce them. Companies are asking for a single point of contact with the state, an issue that the government is examining with the World Bank. They also want export procedures to be simplified, as several of the companies present in the meeting want to use their Greek units to produce commodities that will be sold abroad. It is understood that there will be further consultation with the ministry on that.
Multinationals further asked for the simplification of licensing procedures and the enforcement of the law on opening up closed-shop professions. For its part, the ministry introduced the issue of price inflexibility, but the response it received was that prices have gone down through offers, although this is not reflected in the official inflation data.
A cooperation agreement will be signed on Wednesday by Philip Morris International and the Agricultural Development Ministry in the presence of the prime minister, providing for the Swiss multinational’s acquisition of 50 percent of the annual tobacco production in Greece for the period from 2013 to 2015, thereby bolstering Greek producers. The deal is believed to be worth in excess of 100 million euros.