Greece, Germany plan tighter economic cooperation

Greece and Germany plan five business cooperation initiatives to trigger growth and boost the Greek economy, said Michalis Chrysochoidis, Greece?s development minister.

?Greece needs serious, medium-term investments,? Chrysochoidis told the German Association of Industry in a speech in Berlin on Thursday, according to an e-mailed transcript and press release from his Athens-based office. ?This is the basic characteristic of German investments.?

The plan includes exporting more renewable energy generated in Greece to Germany, technical assistance from Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau to plug Greek businesses? liquidity gap, creating a team to increase shipments to Germany and joint exports to third countries, setting up a joint team to broaden German investments in Greece and a visit from a German delegation to Greece in the fall, according to the release.

European leaders and finance ministers met in Brussels on Thursday to work on a second bailout for Greece after the first package of 110 billion euros of rescue loans failed to convince investors the country could avoid a default.

Greece?s economy is forecast to shrink 3.8 percent of gross domestic product this year after it contracted 4.4 percent last year, according to European Commission data released on July 4.

Chrysochoidis, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Deputy Economy and Technology Minister Bernhard Heitzer drafted the five-point plan to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, according to an e-mailed release. The plan will be completed by the end of the year, it said.

Europe?s rescue packages must turn into growth plans to be successful in the long term, Chrysochoidis said, adding that management members of 48 French and German companies expressed this in a joint letter last month. He said his visit to Berlin and meetings on Thursday show Greeks have reason to be optimistic.