ECONOMY

Greek-German cooperation boost

The German government appears determined to assist Greece through facilitating investment and offering know-how to Athens, but it also expects Greece to settle its debts to German companies.

In a joint press conference held by Germany?s Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Philipp Roesler and Greece?s Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis in Berlin just after their meeting on Tuesday, the pair announced their decision to establish a biannual meeting of the Greek and German business associations and the creation of a new investment bank in Greece using German know-how.

Roesler and Chrysochoidis said that the business associations? meetings would alternate between the Greek and German capitals.

They also said the new bank will be created with the assistance and experience of German lender KfW and the European Investment Bank, in order to allow the Greek economy to fund investments while the country remains shut out of the money market.

Chrysochoidis explained that negotiations with the banks about the creation of the new lender are scheduled for next Wednesday. Roesler added that the proposal is for the use of capital from the European Union?s structural funds.

However, when asked about Greek debts to German companies such as electronics giant Siemens and a number of pharmaceutical firms, Roesler responded sternly that ?we hope these problems will be resolved as soon as possible.?

Chrysochoidis stressed there is great potential and significant opportunities for German investment in Greece for the next decade.

Already there is tangible interest in the implementation of the so-called Helios project, which is seen providing for the production of electricity through photovoltaics in Greece and the transmission of that power to Germany.

A representative of German photovoltaic systems production company Q.Cells SE stated late on Monday in Berlin that his company is bidding for the construction of a giant solar energy plant with a capacity of 200 megawatts (the biggest in Europe) in the northwestern Greek city of Kozani.