NEWS

Christodoulakis presses for private enterprise

In his first substantive statements since taking over the National Economy and Finance Ministry last week, Nikos Christodoulakis signaled a turn toward boosting private enterprise yesterday, making employment his priority through privatization, deregulation and investment. The state is not and cannot be a good businessman, the new minister said in an effort to restore confidence – presenting the example of the privatization of the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank. The privatization program and structural reforms never end, he added. Christodoulakis tried to make up for lost ground in the economy and indicated the direction the new effort will take in order to shape a climate that will ward off recession. The turn toward free enterprise and the strengthening of private enterprise is clear and is confirmed by his references to the private sector as well as by promises of the swift liberalization of markets. Christodoulakis also promised a new attitude toward running state companies and organizations as they will now be evaluated by international auditors and will tend to function on private criteria, with the state reserving the right to veto some strategic decisions. The new minister fears that these projects will run into many legal problems, especially due to nearby residents going to court to stop them, which could lead to unpredictable delays. She is also concerned about the viability of some of the construction projects as well as conflicting jurisdiction between ministries.