March 13, 2013

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Greece Is Evolving Into A Country Of Investment Opportunities

Greece got the highest ranking of 8.2 - on a 0-10 scale - among 20 European countries, in the Euro Plus Monitor produced by the Lisbon Council and Berenberg Bank to track adjustment progress in the Eurozone, as well as Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said this week.
   "Greece remains the best-performing country among eurozone members and three more, on the adoption of measures to handle public debts, on extroversion, labour cost and reforms," Hatzidakis said, addressing the B2B networking event at the Demokritos National Centre for Scientific Research in Aghia Paraskevi, Athens.
He noted that Greece ranks first on fiscal adjustment and structural reforms, where it received a perfect score (10 out of 10), according to OECD figures. As regards external adjustment, the country's recent performance was very good, ranking fifth.
   "This new report is a confirmation that we are on the right track. But above all, it sends a message to investors that Greece is becoming a country of investment opportunities, despite the fact that there is still a lot to be done, not as far as austerity measures are concerned, but in the structural reform front," he underlined.
He noted that a development ministry-sponsored draft law deregulating road passenger transport will be unveiled before the end of the month, while a new legislative framework on market operation will be passed soon, modeled after European standards. He said regulations are being prepared in collaboration with the OECD to support exports, adding that funding programmes are being implemented through the Hellenic Fund for Entrepreneurship and Development (ETEAN S.A.) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), also noting government efforts for the establishment of an investment fund.
   He underlined that "the situation in Greece and the eurozone, particularly in the south, is undoubtedly crucial. Figures on employment and economic growth are still alarming. Citizens and enterprises alike have reached their limits. On a European level, we have to combine the existing fiscal adjustment measures with new policies that will boost cash flow and social cohesion."
Addressing the same event, Central Union of Chambers of Commerce (KEE) and Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) president Konstantinos Mihalos noted that the recapitalisation of the banking system, even though absolutely essential, is not enough to ensure that market liquidity will be restored.

Mihalos added that "the resources channeled to the banks are destined - and are adequate - to make up for the lost capital, mostly as a result of the exchange of state bonds."
   "To solve the problem," he said, "bank deposits will have to return to the domestic banking system as soon as possible, while their exclusion from international markets will have to be lifted."

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