Business and regions to profit soon, says PM

After meeting with ministers yesterday to finalize plans for a new law on development, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis traveled to Ioannina, in Epirus, and told people in the region that more jobs and a better standard of living were on the way. Karamanlis met with Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday morning to put the final touches to the development bill that will be submitted to Parliament for approval next week. «It will breath new life into the Greek regions and all sectors of the economy,» said Alogoskoufis. The draft bill includes measures to offer grants to companies investing in lesser-developed parts of Greece and to subsidize the wages of people employed in jobs created by new investments. Before flying to Epirus for a two-day visit, Karamanlis addressed a business conference in Athens and told the audience that his government was ushering in a new era for the Greek economy. «Our aim is to bring an entrepreneurial spring to modern Greece,» said Karamanlis. He added that the recent review of public finances had rebuilt trust with Greek and foreign investors. In Ioannina, Karamanlis said that his government had done more for the region in nine months than PASOK had managed in three years. He claimed that until March, Epirus was only absorbing 8 percent of the EU funding earmarked for the area. This amount has now increased to almost 14 percent and would rise to 17 percent by the end of the year, Karamanlis said. He added that the government’s aims were to encourage faster development, job creation and a better life in the regions.