European Parliament President Martin Schulz has called for the creation of «special economic zones» in Greece to boost growth and help the battered economy emerge from a deepening crisis.
Schulz's proposal came a week after Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis heralded Greek plans to set up such zones, offering would-be investors tax and administrative advantages, and pressed the country's EU partners to back the initiative.
In an interview with Germany's news magazine Der Spiegel, Schulz said that the current austerity program being implemented by Greece must be accompanied by a growth-boosting strategy if the economy is to return to a healthy state.
The European official proposed the creationn of a «growth organization» where European and Greek politicians would identify worthy projects and monitor the influx of funding. «There would be supervision but also the building of mutual trust,» the German Social Democrat told Der Spiegel. He noted that such an initiative would presuppose the Greek state accepting an active role by European officials on Greek soil. «This would not be a hostile occupying power but an instrument of support,» he said.
Further such an undertaking would depend on Greek authorities pushing through reforms agreed to with international creditors in order to secure its position in the eurozone, Schulz added.