MINISTER OF ECONOMY AND INVESTMENTS
Greece 2020 I Economy I Leader
BIOGRAPHY He graduated from the Faculty of History & Archaeology at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens. Elected MP in Athens B region in the elections of 2007 and 2009 with the LAOS political party, he joined n 2012 the New Democracy political party and Elected with New Democracy in Athens B in 2012 and 2015. In 2016, he was appointed one of the two Vice-Presidents of the New Democracy Party.
“WE LOWERED TAXES FOR BUSINESSES, INDIVIDUALS, REAL ESTATE, AND WE HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IN GREECE.”
PRIME MINISTER KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS HAS WON ELECTIONS AIMING TO REDUCE RED TAPE, LOWER TAXES AND INCREASE GREECE'S COMPETITIVENESS. WHAT ARE THE MAIN ACTIONS BEING TAKEN TO ACHIEVE THESE OBJECTIVES?
We are taking steady steps forward. Domestic and foreign investors are looking at Greece with renewed interest. Everybody knows that we have stable governance with an absolute majority. We have a Government with a clear mandate, and we don’t have any elections until 2023. This Government, as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in Davos, worked very quickly to deliver on our complete reform agenda. We lowered taxes for businesses, individuals, real estate, and we have significantly improved the business climate in Greece as well as intervening in the banking sector.
This Government has a very pro-business character, so many people seem interested in investing. Liberal reforms, reducing taxes, deregulation, and inclusive economy, are our top priorities and, at the same time, our main actions, not only within my Ministry but as a holistic political approach. I think this sends a very positive signal to investors all over the world.
YOUR COMMITMENT TO HELPING INVESTORS INTERESTED IN COMING TO GREECE HAS PROVED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. CAN YOU SHARE WITH US THE MINISTRY’S MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2019?
Greece is turning a corner. We have managed to unblock some huge investments that were blocked for many years, with the most important being the Hellinikon complex. In our first 60 days, we have managed to issue all the ministerial decrees that had to be issued before the commencement of construction. We have also unblocked multiple large-scale investments that were stopped in the past and were met with much content by the investing public.
“GREECE IS TURNING A CORNER. WE
HAVE MANAGED TO UNBLOCK SOME
HUGE INVESTMENTS THAT WERE
BLOCKED FOR MANY YEARS,
WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT
BEING THE HELLINIKON COMPLEX”
In addition, we also launched a new law that acts as a gamechanger for the business environment of the entire country, eliminating a large portion of the bureaucracy involved in the entire licensing procedure. We are trying to remove bureaucracy from our system as much as we can. I cut my teeth, politically, in trying to eliminate bureaucracy. We want more jobs and more investment. And we managed to attract more investment. It is the first time investors say there is a convincing narrative for investments in the country.
GREECE IS INCREASINGLY BECOMING A MORE ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT DESTINATION. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE COUNTRY’S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES AND SECTORS WITH MOST OPPORTUNITIES?
If you come to Athens now, you will feel a sense of optimism that has not been there for a long, long time. The economy is responding, business confidence is booming and people are investing again in Greece. If we compare ourselves with our neighboring eurozone countries, we have higher taxation but we offer a much more stable environment. Our people are very well educated and everybody knows that an economy that has been in such distress over the past years poses as a great opportunity for investments.
We offer multiple opportunities, a stable environment, and a thoroughly educated labor force. The reforms we have already carried out, but also the reforms that this Government plans on making, aim to provide more flexibility to the labor market and licensing of businesses, thus strengthening our versatility and competitiveness compared to our neighboring competitors. Real companies are putting real money on the ground just, taking advantage of the incredible amount of talent that we have in the country.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE PRIVATISATION PROGRAM THAT IS EXPECTED TO TRANSFORM THE COUNTRY FOR YEARS TO COME?
We were voted with the mandate to accelerate the privatisation program. This was promised before the elections and now we have the mandate of the people to do so. We have already launched a tender for the sale of 30% of the airport of Athens and also we have launched the privatisation process for gas company DEPA. At the same time we are ready to launch the privatisation for Hellenic Petroleum. We have already enrolled multiple privatisations on multiple fronts.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO INVESTORS INTERESTED IN INVESTING IN GREECE?
We are working hard in order to revitalize our country. Just look at the indicators, growth up from 1.8% last year projected 2.3% this year, the debt mountain on a declining path from 181% of GDP to 175% last year, it will be further reduced to below 170% this year, unemployment is going down, current account of fiscal balance positive. Another interesting stat, growth’s fixed capital formation up to 10% last year, and expected to grow nearly 13% this year. The message is simple and direct: we mean business and we will deliver. This is the right time to come. After all, private businesses are driving growth.