NEWS

Ministers not real estate agents, says Paboukis

State Minister Haris Paboukis continued the government?s attempt to win the public relations battle after its falling out with the troika by insisting that ministers would not become ?real estate agents? as part of Greece?s privatization program.

Speaking to Skai TV?s New Files program, Paboukis said that the government has no interest in selling public land to investors.

?We are not real estate agents and we never talked about selling [land], only about making commercial use of public assets,? he said.

Paboukis, one of several ministers responsible for attracting investments to Greece, said that the government has to draw up more detailed plans about how it will manage to raise 50 billion euros from sell offs in the next five years, as set out by the EU-IMF team.

?How we meet these targets is up to us,? he said. ?50 billion euros is a very ambitious target and it is a challenge as it is a very broad target and we will have to work on the details.?

Paboukis suggested that Greece will attract between 5 and 7 billion euros in investment by developing the site of Athens?s former airport in Elliniko. He said it was unrealistic for people to expect the whole of the 600-hectare site to be transformed into a park.

Qatar signed a memorandum with Greece last September expressing interest in investing as much as $5 billion in areas of the Greek economy such as tourism and real estate. It has been suggested that Elliniko will be one of the areas to be developed but no plans have been announced.

Paboukis said there was still ?a long way to go? in terms of Greece?s agreement with Qatar.