ECONOMY

Lateral thinking in Qatar subsidy project for SMEs

Following the first meeting of the Joint Greece-Qatar Cooperation Committee in Athens on Wednesday, it appears that due to a lack of funds and European legislation that could raise obstacles, Greece will not necessarily have to contribute any money to an investment fund foreseen by the two countries during a meeting between their leaders earlier this year.

Qatar is apparently also examining its possible participation in another institution that the Greek government intends to create, the Hellenic Investment Fund, the meeting chaired by Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis and the chief executive of Qatar Holdings, Ahmad Al-Sayed, heard. The Qatari official was accompanied by a delegation of 10 officials with expertise in a number of business sectors.

According to a top Development Ministry official, the meeting discussed three ways of financing the joint fund, through which Qatar plans to subsidize Greek enterprises. These are joint funding by the Greek and Qatari states, funding only by Qatar, and funding with capital originating from Qatar as well as other countries or investment banks in other countries such as France and Germany.

The official noted, “There is no commitment by Greece to contribute to this fund, but this does not rule out the participation of a Greek bank.”

When Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visited Doha in January, his Qatari counterpart had expressed the emirate’s decision to form a joint investment fund that in the long term would offer 2 billion euros – 1 billion from each country – to finance the investment plans of small and medium-sized Greek enterprises. However, the amount had not been included in any agreement signed.

Representatives from six Greek companies from the fields of tourism, real estate and energy also presented their own business plans on Wednesday to the Qatari officials, as sources say Qatar intends to fund certain investment plans worth over 40 million euros each.