NEWS

Greece: Quest for a big economic rebound

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Provided the coronavirus pandemic starts to abate by next spring, and this is the best-case scenario, Greece, like others, will still have been in what amounts to emergency mode for a full year.

With its hands full trying to limit the inevitable steep economic decline caused by the pandemic, the government is looking beyond the short term, to ensure that the rebound on the day after is as strong as the fall.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his aides are exploring the actions that must be given priority if the country is to experience strong economic growth for the first time in well over a decade.

One of these priorities will be to facilitate foreign investment, especially by companies that want to create hubs in Greece. Mitsotakis announced such a hub at last week’s 31st Annual Greek Economic Summit held by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. It will be created by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and is expected to generate 250 jobs. It comes on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that it will build data centers in Greece.

Hubs may facilitate economic activity but, by themselves, do not bring in many jobs. Mitsotakis’ greater challenges, as he outlined them at the Economic Summit, would be to tackle income inequalities, ensure decent wages and close the existing digital gap.

Besides creating jobs at home, Greece also hopes to attract “digital nomads” who work from their computers, irrespective of location, a trend strengthened by the pandemic, as well as retirees. Besides offering a warm climate and a relatively cheap way of life, Mitsotakis also wants an efficient healthcare system. “Our country really needs a new National Health System,” he said recently.