ECONOMY

SEV focuses abroad

The Balkans, particularly Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, are still within the zone of influence of Greek enterprises as well as where emphasis must be placed, according to a survey presented yesterday at the meeting of the general council of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and commerce officials. The SEV survey, presented by the federation’s vice president and chairman of its international branch, Thanassis Lavidas, aimed at recording and specifying the priorities of the 60 enterprises and six associations participating and their expectations, both of SEV and the competent state authorities regarding guidelines for the international activity of the Greek business community. According to the survey’s conclusions, more than 70 percent of the sample considers becoming more active in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey as the main priority for Greek businesses. One in five companies believe that Central and Eastern Europe are important markets for expansion of activities. The majority say that among new EU members Greek interest should focus on the Czech market, followed by Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. There is also interest in the markets of Cyprus and Slovenia, while Latvia and Lithuania trail far behind. Lavidas stressed the need for authorities to provide information and assistance for the problems Greek companies face abroad. He called for greater state activity in organizing business missions abroad and in bilateral economic agreements, particularly with the support of the Foreign Ministry. «Today the targets set for a stronger international presence from Greek enterprises are high, long-term and require multilateral cooperation. Yet we believe in the potential of Greek entrepreneurship, which, should we exploit correctly via effective promotion and strengthening, can be unlimited,» he said. Earlier, Lavidas described the role, activities and fields of action of SEV International, stressing that «our target is SEV’s contribution in drawing up a policy for the creation of a common national framework for coordinated action, in harmony with the strategy of the Foreign and Economy ministries.» Stylianidis referred to the new philosophy that Greece’s economic diplomacy must adopt as well as the contribution of cooperation in development in achieving the country’s political and economic goals. He added that all embassy officials, not just financial and commercial attaches, must stand by the efforts of Greek enterprises, and emphasized the improvement of cooperation between the Foreign and the Economy ministries, with distinct roles. The deputy minister announced that a website will soon be launched with country-by-country information, and that the Foreign Ministry, in association with SEV and the European Public Law Center, will organize an international ministerial and entrepreneurial conference in Athens on February 3-4, 2005 toward Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, titled «Challenges, Prospects and New Funding Means for Investments in the Mediterranean Basin.» Stylianidis will give a press conference today at noon to present the agenda of the Greek presidency of the Organization of Economic Cooperation in the Black Sea.