Greek firms will have to adopt a more outward-looking approach

It is a national imperative that Greek enterprises forge an outward-looking approach and the government is providing increased funding for the activities of economic diplomacy, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said yesterday. «An outward-looking approach is a must for the survival of the Greek economy,» she told a presentation of the Greek economic diplomacy program for 2008 at the Athens Concert Hall. «The era when growth was based on domestic demand is coming to an end, European investment subsidies will start declining at some point and we must therefore seek new sources of growth, from exports, foreign investment and the globalization of our enterprises,» she said. She said the government had for the first time secured special funding from the budget for the new activities of economic diplomacy and will aim to obtain further resources from European Union investment subsidies. These will be used to improve the performance of the 58 official Greek commercial bureaus in 87 countries. The new economic diplomacy activities of the foreign ministry include a program of promotion and networking for Greek enterprises abroad, based on joint funding from the government and private sectors of the economy, such as aluminium, aquaculture and the wine industry. The engineering and fur sectors will follow. Bakoyannis called on Greek entrepreneurs to expand their geographical field of action. «You have succeeded in one of the most difficult areas, the Balkans. Today, it is necessary to repeat the endeavor in a much wider geographical area,» she said. Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas focused on the foreign ministry’s efforts to ensure Greece’s active participation in the French «Union de Projets» initiative for the Mediterranean, which includes the creation of a special department within the European Investment Bank, three «private equity»-type mutual funds and the upgrading of business delegations.