20 Jan Making investors’ lives as easy as they can be
Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development and Investments, analyzes the government’s plan to facilitate capital flows into Greece
How would you describe your first two months at the helm of the ministry and what key issues are you tackling?
We have managed to unblock some huge investments that were blocked for many years, with the most important being the Hellinikon complex. In those 60 days, we have managed to issue all the ministerial decrees that had to be issued before the commencement of construction. We have unblocked multiple big investments that were stopped in the past, which has been met with much content by the investing public. In addition, we also launched a new law that acts as a gamechanger for the business environment of the entire country, eliminating a large portion of the bureaucracy involved in the entire licensing procedure. We are trying to remove bureaucracy from our system as much as we can.
In your opinion, how has the international business community’s percep- tion of Greece as a lucrative investment destination evolved in recent years?
Everybody knows that we have a stable governance for the years to come, with the next elections to be expected as normal in 2023. The Prime Minister represents the vast majority of the Greek Parliament and is in position to con- trol his policy throughout the country, paying attentions to the regions and the municipalities as much as the nation in its entirety. This government has a very pro-business character, so many people seem interested in investing.
When it comes to attracting foreign direct investment, what can Greece offer investors that its competitors cannot?
To begin with, if we compare ourselves with our neighboring eurozone countries, we have higher taxation but we offer a much more stable environ- ment. Our people are very well educated and everybody knows that an econo- my that has been in such distress over the past years poses as a great opportunity for investments. We offer multiple opportunities, a stable environment and a thoroughly educated labor force. The reforms we have already carried out, but also the reforms that this government plans on making, aim to provide more flexibility to the labor market and licensing of businesses, thus strengthening our versatility and competitiveness compared to our neighboring competitors.
“If people decide to come and invest now in Greece, they will find this government has the will to listen, help and solve problems as fast as possible.”
Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development and Investments
What could you tell us about your government’s strategy behind the im- plementation of Hellinikon? What is the project timeline and what types of opportunities can investors find in this flagship project?
Everybody is now in a position to understand that this project will be carried out, which has led to a capital increase of their business, in order to be able to fund this entire project. We have been very efficient and all the problems, one by one, have been crumbling. If people decide to come and invest now in Greece, they will find this government has the will to listen, help and solve problems as fast as possible.
We have already fast-tracked Kassiopi, which is another investment that was blocked for nearly a decade. We have unblocked all the issues with the archeological services, with the
valuable assistance of the Ministries of Culture and Environment. Apart from those, the third investment project is Afandou in Rhodes, where a very interesting hotel project is under wraps. In that case, we have managed to resolve any issues and the investor is now ready to advance.
How is your ministry contributing to Greece’s Privatization Program?
The Privatization Program was promised before the elections and now we have the people’s mandate to carry it out. We have already launched a tender for the sale of 30 percent of Athens International Airport. We are ready to launch the privatization of Hellenic Petroleum. We have already enrolled privatizations on multiple fronts.
How will the Digital Map project help investors obtain critical information about different opportunities across Greece?
The main idea is that all the information about a property will be available in a unified official platform. Everything is going to be digitalized, without any surprises and additional delays. We want people to know exactly what they are buying, showing transparency at first hand within the premises of a stable and secure environment.