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Stournaras wants more money from Europe

07 March 2013 / 22:03:00  GRReporter
2341 reads

Victoria Mindova

We want from Europe investments and incentives for economic growth, the Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournars told the deputy chairman of the European Parliament Othmar Karas after their meeting in Athens this week. Stournaras stressed that Greece has made many efforts to cross the crisis point. "We are in the sixth year of recession. The country paid a high price for the crisis, we applied severe measures to regain fiscal stability, we reduced the salaries, increased the taxes and now it is the time to help us to emerge from the situation through investments." Stournaras stressed that they had discussed with Karas the possibilities for closer cooperation with Greece when the country takes the European Union Presidency in early 2014.

Karas, in turn, said that the European Union was not prepared for the depth of the crisis and that not all the problems it had caused were resolved. He stressed that policymakers must address both short-term needs and long-term goals set to the countries in the European Union. "I agree that there should be a balance between reducing the public debt and stimulating the economic growth, employment and social cohesion. The process is economic, social and political," said Karas, who is also responsible for the financial framework of the European Union funds for the 2014-2020 period.

39 airports in Greece will be offered for concession for 30-35 years as part of the privatisation programme of the Greek government as announced by the Minister of Economy and Development Kostis Hatzidakis. The economic advisers in the privatisation process of the Greek airports will be Citygroup Global Market Limited and Eurobank EFG Equities Investment Firms and the legal advisors will be Your Legal Partners and the "Drakopoulos and Vasiliakis" law firm. Lufthansa Consulting and another two companies will provide technical assistance.

"The Greek state will retain the ownership of airports, the supervisory and control functions. It will offer their long-term use through public tenders to private companies in accordance with the practices established in Europe," said the competent Minister. The invitation to tenders is the first stage of the privatisation process. It will last from six to eight weeks from the announcement of the process.

The investors who meet the government criteria will be admitted to the second phase - data collection and evaluation of proposals. The third phase will elect a supervisory board of experts from Greece and the European Commission, who will choose the final investors. The new users of the Greek airports will be able to begin working in the spring of 2014. According to the State Property Management Agency, the investors will pay a certain amount at the beginning of the concession and an annual rent to the state for the use of the public property.

The Minister stressed that the privatisations of airports were not just to raise money in the treasury, but also to intensify the economic growth. "It's an international obligation of the country, but also a successful practice adopted in many European countries." Hatzidakis gave as a successful example of privatisation Portugal’s programme for the concession of local airports, which is expected to bring serious revenues. Among the positive aspects of privatisation are the creation of new jobs, sending the message that the country is friendly to investment and the creation of conditions for economic growth in the more remote areas of the country.

Meanwhile, the inspection of the supervisory Troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission as regards the performance of the financial recovery programme is still underway but they do not seem satisfied with the results achieved. Senior officials from the Finance Ministry state that the supervisors insist on meeting the obligations under the contract for support. These include severe reforms, which have not yet been triggered – cutting 25,000 public workers, reducing tax evasion and direct implementation of specific privatisation projects. Greek observers comment that the announcement of a tender for the 39 airports is a step in the right direction, but it does not yet mean that the objectives are achieved.

Tags: EconomyMarketsInvestmentsGreeceCrisisAirportsPrivatisation
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