ECONOMY

Greece-Qatar joint committee to hold first meeting

A meeting on Wednesday of the Joint Greece-Qatar Cooperation Committee, under the chairmanship of Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis and the chief executive of Qatar Holdings, Ahmad Al-Sayed, will focus on the joint subsidy fund for small and medium-sized enterprises, privatizations and the prospect of Greek and Qatari private enterprises working together.

This first meeting of the committee, which was formed after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s visit to Qatar in end-January, will also hear presentations from officials of Invest in Greece and the state privatization fund (TAIPED), as well as proposals related to the investment fund and the sell-off program, including properties destined for privatization.

Yet while Samaras’s meeting with the government in Doha had concluded that the subsidy fund would start with 2 billion euros, half from each side, there now seem to be significant reservations about such an amount, which is considered particularly high and may well be revised downward.

Regarding the prospect of bringing Greek and Qatari private enterprises together, discussions today will focus on strengthening cooperation in the food and pharmaceuticals sectors.

A report in Tuesday’s Financial Times stated that the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the emirate’s state investment corporation, is not only interested in the development of the Greek capital’s former airport in the southern suburb of Elliniko, but also in the operation of the new Athens International Airport, seeing it as a potential hub for Qatar Airways.

The same report notes the QIA’s interest in the Astir Palace Hotel at Vouliagmeni, southern Athens, and in acquiring a stake in Finansbank, the Turkish subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece.