ECONOMY

Chrysochoidis sees road to recovery in foreign investors

The path to Greece?s economic recovery is through foreign direct investments, which could contribute to a turnaround in Greek development, according to a new campaign launched by Development and Competitiveness Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, who has been meeting with officials from foreign governments and businesses who have the kind of capital to invest that could help revive the country?s economy.

According to sources close to ministry negotiations, there are several deals under discussion right now with German companies interested in the energy sector. These will come on top of those sealed earlier this month during a visit to Athens by a delegation of businesspeople headed by German Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister Philipp Roesler.

Even though these investments are considered small, given that their budgets stand at around 2-3 million euros and do not exceed 10 million euros, the cumulative result could be significant, especially for a small country like Greece. Moreover, such investments pave the way for bigger companies to take an interest, according to officials involved in the search for investors.

The government is hoping large French firms will take an interest in investing in Greece, especially when it comes to the privatization of numerous state-owned companies. Even though discussions with large French companies are still in the early stages, following a recent visit to Paris, Chrysochoidis confirmed that there is a good deal of interest, especially in peripheral airports and ports, as well as in the road and rail networks.

The minister has also forged ties in the Netherlands, which is already among the six biggest investors in Greece. Following the expansion of manufacturing capacity in Patra by dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina, other Dutch companies that are already active in the food sector are expected to begin exploring ways of expanding their presence in Greece, while energy seems to be an attractive sector for the Dutch too.

Meanwhile, the ministry is planning to take advantage of the existing Austrian presence in the broader Balkan region, with Chrysochoidis having traveled to Vienna to establish contacts. In addition he is looking to expand Greece?s ties with Chinese investment, an issue that will top the agenda during a visit in late October by Jia Qinglin, the fourth-ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, the chairman and party secretary of the National Committee of the People?s Political Consultative Conference.

Chrysochoidis is rumored to be planning a trip to China in early November.

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