London (ANA-MPA/A Tsirigotakis) – Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday that the government’s economic reform drive had led to a major rise in investment from abroad.
“The Greek economy is becoming more dynamic and outward-looking, and friendlier to investment, thanks to a reform programme being implemented by the government,” Alogoskoufis told a conference in the UK capital arranged by the Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce.
“The result has been a spectacular increase in foreign investment to 4.0 billion euros in January-November 2006,” he noted.
The aim was to show investors from abroad that Greece could also be used as a springboard for operations in southeastern Europe.
“Greece is the de facto economic and business centre in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. It has become the local spur to progress and growth in a region of 250 million inhabitants,” the minister stated.
“Greek firms have strengthened their position in the region, becoming larger and more consistent and ambitious,” he said.
Alogoskoufis laid particular emphasis on the government’s tax reform drive, which has lowered corporate tax brackets by 10 percentage points to 25% from 35% from 2005 to 2007.
Another key speaker at the conference on Greece as a strategic partner in the region was Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis, who handles economic diplomacy.
“Employing economic and energy diplomacy as tools, Greek foreign policy is seeking to make Greece an operational centre for investment in the wider region of southeast European, Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean,” Stylianidis reported.
“We have been working at this with success, which shows in exports and investment in those countries. At the same time, we have managed to make Greece an energy producing and transit centre,” he stated.
The head of the Greek National Tourism Organisation, Dimitris Lambadarios, outlined changes in the law and measures introduced by the tourism ministry to improve Greece’s tourism product.
A key aim was to make Greece an all-year travel destination, he said.
The conference was held under the aegis of the British ambassador in Athens, Simon Gass.