About 20 percent of the shops on Ermou Street, the main shopping high street in central Athens, are currently unlet according to Athens Traders Association Vice President Nikos Kougioumtzis said in an interview with Skai television on Friday. He said that Ermou Street, which had been the most commercial street in Greece, was a shadow of its former self.
If one also took into account the retail premises in arcades or on upper floors, or those in the streets around Ermou, the percentage of unlet shops was as high as 40-50 pct, he added.
“After six years of continuous shrinking, the Greek economy is expected to have a positive real growth rate in the third quarter of 2014 and a positive annual real growth rate of GDP in 2014, an overthrow development,” Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said on Thursday.
Addressing a Francophone Economic Forum in Athens, the Greek minister said that the next day after the memorandum must be “a day of reasonable responsibility” and urged banks, particularly after completion of the stress tests round, “to become the basic pylon of growth, funding investments and offering liquidity to enterprises”.
Hardouvelis reassured that fiscal credibility and structural changes would be protected and added that recent fluctuations in capital markets demand a better coordination in the Eurozone and consistency among member-states in completing their reform programs and fiscal convergence.
Referring to a new era of relations with the country’s European partners and the IMF, Hardouvelis said a precondition was “fulfilling fiscal targets, improving economic data and continuing reforms and mostly political responsibility and stability”. He said that the only sustainable road for the future of the Greek economy was raising productivity, attracting new investments and boosting exports.
The Greek FinMin said plans announced by the new President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker to drain 300 billion euros for additional public and private investments in the next three years were “very positive” and welcomed recent decisions taken by the European Central Bank to boost liquidity in the Eurozone through the purchase of securitized loans and covered bonds and the setting up of an action force by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to support enterprises.
“We look forward with great interest of a joint package of proposals aimed to boost investments by the French and German governments,” Hardouvelis said, adding that Greece must take advantage of a national effort made in the previous years and to enter “with responsibility into a new era of prospect for the country and a gradual improvement of citizens’ living standards”.
Tourist arrivals up
Athens.- Tourist arrivals grew 15.6 pct to 843,206 in the first half of 2014, compared with the same period last year, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.
The statistics service, in a report, said that arrivals from Europe -which account for the biggest part of arrivals at 85.4 pct- grew 14.6 pct, while arrivals from the European Union grew 17.7 pct in the January-June period. Tourist arrivals from the UK jumped 33.8 pct, from France were up 15.1 pct, from Holland 32.2 pct, Romania 58 pct, Russia 13.5 pct, Cyprus 29 pct and Bulgaria 12.8 pct, while on the other hand, arrivals from Italy fell 10.2 pct, from Albania 8.0 pct and from Denmark 26.2 pct.
Germany has the biggest participation in tourist arrivals in Greece (11.4 pct), followed by the UK (11.1 pct), France (6.6 pct), Russia (6.1 pct) and Bulgaria (6.0 pct). Tourist arrivals from Turkey grew 5.5 pct and from the US 3.2 pct in the first half of 2014.
Investment climate in Greece positive
The investment climate in Greece is now positive, Deputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos said during the inauguration of the new building housing the offices of the Hellenic-Romanian Chamber of Commerce, .
Gerontopoulos who is paying a two-day visit in Romania, addressing the president of the Chamber, Michalis Sotiriou, and Greek businessmen operating in Romania, invited them to invest in Greece, after having congratulated them for what they have “already succeeded in the Romanian market and their contribution to Greece’s efforts to overcome the crisis” but also “for their financial support to the Greek school and the department of Greek studies at the University of Bucharest.”
“The Greek investment and business presence in Romania,” Gerontopoulos said “is the main feature of the economic and trade relations between the two countries.