NEWS

The charms of Greece

National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, in a visit to London, yesterday called on foreign investors to look at Greece, proposing four basic sectors for business activity: Energy, banking, construction and the food industry. Speaking to the federation of British industrialists, Christodoulakis described the Greek economy as a window of opportunity because of the high growth rate. Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, who accompanied him, announced investments in the energy market reaching a total of 10 billion euros over the next eight years. The conference on investment opportunities in view of the Athens 2004 Olympics was hosted by the Confederation of British Industries and the British Embassy in Athens. The opportunities that are being presented today with Greece’s economic development will not last forever, Christodoulakis said. Greece is on the way to major changes and is becoming a member of the broader, strong European family. In this period there are great opportunities for investments. He spoke also of the possibilities presented by the sectors of tourism, communications, information and new technologies. Greece, he said, has strong bonds with Great Britain in culture, in education, in the political sphere, and there is also important cooperation between Greece and Britain in the banking sector. Tsochadzopoulos, who is in charge of tourism, met with the Association of British Travel Agents and discussed the potential of Greek tourism. He later signed a cooperation protocol with his British counterpart, Patricia Hewitt, especially with regard to Britain passing on know-how in supporting small- and medium-sized businesses. This agreement, Tsochadzopoulos said, gives us the ability to exchange delegations and to import Britain’s great know-how – which is the greatest in Europe, I would say – in supporting small- and medium-sized businesses. The domestic market, meanwhile, is trying to respond to new challenges by swiftly restructuring through mergers and rationalization. In essence, businessmen are being forced to move defensively to tidy up the complicated and sometimes contradictory moves to expand which they undertook mainly during the stock exchange bloom of 1999. Yesterday, Simitis said cotton farmers should not despair.