Minister of Economy addresses Cambridge U’s Center for International Business and Management.
London.- Economy, competitiveness and shipping minister Louka Katseli stressed the importance placed on the Greek government, through a network of actions, on rendering Greece an attraction for investments and on strengthening the country’s presence on the SE European markets and also the extroversion of Greek enterprises in the midst of the crisis, during a symposium on the economic crisis in SE Europe held Saturday at Cambridge University’s Center for International Business and Management.
Louka Katseli will be in New York this week to attend the annual forum of the Capital Link on the economy and investments in Greece. This year’s 11th forum, that will be taking place on December 3 at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan and under the auspices of the Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping ministry, bears the title “Greece: preparing recovery.” Louka Katseli is the main speaker, while Greek Ambassador to Washington Vassilis Kaskarelis, a representative of the US government and members of Greek government services and business executives will make presentations on the Greek economy.
At her Cambridge address, Katseli noted that Greece is an important trade partner for most of the countries of SE Europe, as an estimated one-fifth of the volume of Greek exports are channeled to that region.
According to figures from Greece’s national statistics service (ESYE) and Greece’s local commercial and economic offices in the region, transactions were rising steadily over the past three years (2006-2008), exceeding 8 billion euros in 2008. Greece’s most significant trade partners in the area are Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania, which account for 76 percent of the overall volume of Greece’s trade with the SE European countries. In addition, Greece is an important destination for products from the region. For FYROM, for example, it is estimated that Greece is the third largest trade destination.
In 2008, Greece topped the list of foreign investors in Albania, FYROM and Serbia, while it was the third largest foreign investor in Romania and the fourth in Bulgaria and, according to the Turkish ministry of finance, Greece was the third largest foreign investor in the country in the years 2006 and 2007.
“It is important to note that even during the crisis, when there was an outflow of foreign businesses that have invested in the region, the Greek enterprises and banks stayed put in those countries, reinforcing their domestic economies,” Katseli stressed, adding that Greece has for many years also been an ally of the SE Europe countries in the European bodies, in the process of their integration.
Katseli further noted the initiatives to which the new government will place emphasis on for the development of the region, noting the importance of the Greek plan for the economic reconstruction of the Balkans (HiPERB), and also the importance of the initiatives being undertaken by the private sector to make use of the funds earmarked for the Black Sea and Caspian Sea areas.
“In this spirit, we plan to work towards the establishment of a Greek developmental financing body, including aid,” the minister said, adding that reinforcement financing is a useful tool that is used by nearly all the member states of the EU, as the third pillar of developmental cooperation, which provides the proper tools for European businesses to invest with flexible and well-grounded strategies, such as the European investment capital for the western Balkans.
She further noted the need to “restart” and “re-propel” the Greek economy and the activities of the Greek enterprises through boosting their exports and their international orientation.