The Greek government is seeking a helping hand from global investors to propel the country forward.
Greek Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitris Mardas addressed a consortium of foreign investors, bankers and business leaders at the Metropolitan Club in New York City during the 17th Annual Capital Link “Invest in Greece Forum,” in an effort to attract international investors to the cash strapped nation.
The deputy minister’s visit to New York comes on the same day that Greece agreed to lease 14 regional airports to Fraport and one day before the Greek government votes on a new set of bailout prior actions, two steps that could indicate commitment to the austerity program.
Mardas, who knows the workings of the bailout well, having been the deputy finance minister until August, was blunt about Greece’s investment needs.
“Greece needs, as you say, an investment shock. We need 100 billion euros in the next six years. We can have 20 billion euros through the money that comes from the EU and the rest must come of the market. In this context we try to apply a series of measures, a series of actions which can favor investments in Greece in all areas,” the minister said.
While energy, tourism and transport are the dominant investment areas, Mardas claimed that interested parties can invest in all of the country’s sectors.
He also noted the government is working on cutting down on bureaucracy and allowing an interested firm to set up shop in Greece within six to eight months.
The minister further presented his vision for the development of a Greek island that would be the center of international conferences. The United Nations would have their own building on the island. Investments on the island would not draw on public funds and the cost of the project amounts to 1.5 billion euros.
Among other intended projects, Greece could be hosting three international symposia annually. One for Balkan Countries, one for Black Sea countries and one for South and East European as well as Mediterranean countries.
“In this symposia four groups of people will participate. Politicians, academics, businessmen and high level public servants,” Mardas said.
The government also plans to organize inter-governmental committees and series of business missions to countries all over the world, particularly in African and Black Sea countries this year.
Mardas made special reference to the Greek port of Piraeus and the port of Thessaloniki as the main infrastructures that give the country a dominant position, arguing that they could be further developed into highly competitive and even more profitable ports via investments.