ECONOMY

Consulate to draw UK businesses

The United Kingdom’s new consulate in Thessaloniki will seek, among other things, to attract British businessmen who would like to create joint ventures with Greek companies active in the Balkans. The consulate, on 21 Aristotelous St and the appointed consul, Sarah Edwards-Economides, were presented yesterday to reporters by the UK’s ambassador to Athens, David Madden. Also present was Frank Jones, president of British Business Olympics 2004, a committee set up to promote increased British business involvement in Greece and the Balkans on the occasion of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Jones said that, while there is considerable business interest in Britain in investments in Greece, language, and the formidable Greek bureaucracy, act as barriers. For these reasons, Greece has a reputation as a difficult market, although bilateral economic relations are longstanding and traditionally good. Jones emphasized the fact that the 2004 Olympics, with the demands put on the country to modernize its infrastructure, provided a good occasion for business cooperation and added that funding through the European Union acts as an added incentive for British businesses to invest in the Balkans. Even though most UK businesses focus on the Athens area, Jones said that an effort will be made to also turn their attention to opportunities in northern Greece. «We will see the first results of these efforts very soon,» he said, adding that the new consulate will play an important role in attracting British business interest.