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Newsletter March 2013

NEWSWIRE

Action Plan 2013—Ministry for Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks

The first signs of economic recovery will be visible by the end of 2013, Greek Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said on January 9 at a press conference attended by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Presenting the ministry’s policy for the current year, Mr. Hatzidakis said the ministry in the first quarter of 2013 will complete all privatization measures, market deregulations and all procedures related with the Ministry.

Under the Ministry’s planning, the government aims to build a sea cruise port in the Piraeus region, merge Invest in Greece with the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board, transfer all Economic and Commercial Affairs employees from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to the Development Ministry and implement a plan to open commercial shops on Sundays. Also, the Ministry plans to accelerate procedures to promote large investment projects through Fast Track and set up a Special Licensing Agency.

The Greek minister said a plan to boost liquidity in the economy will be made in five steps: 
1- Implement an agreement with the European Investment Bank, offering another 400 million Euro to small and medium-size enterprises and launching a program offering guarantees to importers and exporters, worth 1.5 billion Euro
2- Absorb 3.89 billion Euro from community funds and continuing negotiations for a new financing agreement with the European Union for the period 2014-2020 to avoid a 40 percent cut in Community funds
3- Launch a low-interest rate loan program for investments and working capital worth 680 million Euro, with a 50 percent interest rate subsidy
4- Use Investment Law to boost liquidity in the market with payments up to 620 million Euro
5- Set up a Hellenic Investment Fund
 
The ministry also plans to accelerate procedures to complete public works in 11 steps:
1- Reach an agreement with banks by the end of February to restart big road projects by April 
2- Complete Athens metro expansion projects by July
3- Accelerate construction of a metro rail system in Thessaloniki 
4- Extend the tram network from Neo Faliro to Piraeus 
5- Complete a railway line to Ikonio port and launch a tender for building a cargo railway line to Thriasio
6- Implement port infrastructure work in Igoumenitsa and Lavrio 
7- Tender road projects worth 243 million Euro
8- Promote an international tender to build a new airport in Heraklion, Crete 
9- Tender school building projects worth 167 million Euro 
10- Promote waste management projects worth 2 billion Euro, in cooperation with the private sector 
11- Build a sea cruise port in the Piraeus region through a public/private sector partnership (PPP)
 
The Development Ministry also plans to present, by the end of June, measures to help reduce business start-up costs by 50 percent and simplify licensing procedures to set up and operate business parks. Other plans include promoting measures to boost export activity, revising the public procurement framework and promoting the privatizations of TrainOSE and ROSCO (Greek train companies).

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said: "My presence here indicates the primary importance placed by the government on economic recovery and creating employment."

"Our wager is to take advantage of the climate and the major structural changes to attract investment. This will be achieved with specific 'time/target timetables', not with wishes and public relations, but with specific steps. Investment requires liquidity, which will come from the recapitalization of banks, the return of deposits from abroad, and from initiatives such as the National Fund for Entrepreneurship and Development (ETEAN) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) programs."
 
Concluding, the Premier said that "changes have been already made and they are continuing for the economy to become more competitive. The State will contribute to the development of the state property and privatizations."

Greece in Line for 18.3 Billion in NSRF Funds
The European Union has allocated 18.3 billion Euro ($24.45 billion) from its common budget (National Strategic Reference Framework) for Greece for the period 2014-2020.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who was attending the EU’s budget meeting in Brussels, said, “Under difficult conditions we achieved the best we possibly could,” a nod to the country’s crushing economic crisis and the bloc’s leaders wanting to control spending. “It is a decision that is a psychological boost to us all,” he said, according to the newspaper Kathimerini.

Greece will get 14.5 billion Euro ($19.37 billion) from the community support framework, while another 1.8 billion Euro ($2.4 billion) for rural development, but not the agricultural subsidies that had been paid in the past. Greece is also set to be given about 2 billion Euro ($2.67 billion) more in 2016, when its participation in the EU budget will be reassessed because of the crisis.

The structural funds will be invested in a range of areas, including infrastructure projects and schemes to combat youth unemployment, which is more than 55 percent in Greece. The EU’s participation in the funding of some of these projects will reach 80-90 percent.

“Although the overall EU budget was reduced, Greece achieved the biggest increase in comparison to the European Commission’s proposals, which was for us to receive 11.2 billion Euro,” said Mr. Samaras.

(Source: http://greece.greekreporter.com)

Ryanair Announces Chania, Crete, as 55th European Base
Ryanair announced Chania/Crete as its 55th European Base and first Greek base at Chania International Airport from April 2013 with one Boeing 737-800 launching 11 new routes to Billund, Bremen, Bristol, Eindhoven, Katowice, Marseille, Memmingen, Thessaloniki, Venice, Vilnius and Warsaw.

Ryanair’s Kate Sherry said “Ryanair is delighted to announce Chania as our 55th base (and our first in Greece) and to unveil 11 new routes (26 in total) to Billund, Bremen, Bristol, Eindhoven, Katowice, Marseille, Memmingen, Thessaloniki, Venice, Vilnius and Warsaw beginning in April, as part of our summer 2013 schedule".

Chania International Airport "Ioannis Daskalogiannis" is an international airport located near Souda Bay on the Akrotiri Peninsula of the Greek island of Crete, serving the city of Chania, 14 km away. Moreover, it is a gateway to western Crete for an increasing amount of tourists. The airport is named after Ioannis Daskalogiannis, a Cretan rebel against Ottoman rule in the 18th century.                                                                             

International Award for Pharmathen Research
The first place among Greek companies in research investment was awarded to Pharmathen, according to “The 2012 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard,” of the European Commission.

The company is also ranked 42nd among the 4,577 pharmaceutical companies operating in the EU and occupies the 429th position among the 1,000 largest companies involved in EU research, regardless of industry.

Pharmathen has been included every year in this ranking since 2007, and this award is the latest in a series of distinctions received recently from a number of agencies and organizations—“True Leaders 2012,” "Best Workplaces 2012,” “Ruban d'Honneur" and “The International Growth Strategy of the Year Award "- European Business Awards 2012.

Pharmathen has, since 2009, reported growth of 27%, and turnover for 2012 exceeded 160 million Euro. Exports account for more than 75% of the sales.

The development of Pharmathen led to the recruitment of more than 150 new employees in 2011. The company has a significant presence in developed markets and is strengthening its position in the growing markets of the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and East Asia.

The company's investments in the last five years amount to more than 60 million Euro, and has a workforce of more than 850 people, who are employed in the areas of Research & Development (R&D), production and the marketing of pharmaceutical products in more than 85 countries worldwide.

Pharmathen recently established offices in Jordan and China and acquired permanent representation in South America, and its products are approved in all EU markets and distribution rights have been granted to major pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

(Source: http://health.in.gr/)

ProGreece
ProGreece, a new initiative to promote Greek exports to Germany and to strengthen cooperation among Greek and German companies was launched on February 19. The new online platform at www.pro-greece.com aims to strengthen the export capabilities of Greek companies in Germany and mainly the cooperation between Greek and German companies for "production in Greece and services from Greece."

Initiators of ProGreece expect that this platform will support the effort of maintaining and creating jobs in Greece and reduce the phenomenon of migration.  In addition, cooperation for order execution may be the first step for German companies to invest in Greece.

Initiators of ProGreece
• Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Thessaloniki
• Greek-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Thessaloniki
• Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry
• Federation of Industries of Northern Greece
• Greek International Business Association (SEVE)
• Association of Greek Immigrants and Expatriates in Germany
• Association of Young Entrepreneurs of Thessaloniki
• Mediascape Ltd

Breakthrough Greece
A campaign launched in 2013 by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Breakthrough Greece (http://www.breakthroughgreece.gr) showcases Greek innovation and private sector dynamism by sharing the success stories of Greek companies and entrepreneurs with the world.

This site counters the negative image of the Greek private sector that persists in the minds of Greeks and foreigners alike after years of crisis commentary—promoting best practices and celebrating the emerging culture of innovation in the Greek economy.

In parallel, this portal acts as a B2B tool for Greek companies to find business partners worldwide.

Repower Greece in the USA
Repower Greece, an initiative that seeks to confront the world’s negative perceptions of Greece and its people, organized an academic roadshow that involved discussion events at twelve schools, from Washington, DC to Boston, including Yale, MIT, Georgetown, and Columbia, along with private meetings with key think tanks and institutions.

In holding these academic discussion events, Repower Greece informed its audiences of the constructive, result-oriented forces that are shaping positive change in Greece, and initiated an ongoing dialogue with regards to repowering and repositioning the country.
 
The events were carefully tailored according to the needs and interests of each academic institution or think tank. For example, the events at Yale, and MIT consisted of a presentation by the Repower Greece team on its efforts, followed by presentations by students and faculty regarding what each speaker believes to be the most effective way to repower Greece. Conversely, students at Georgetown and NYU  chose a very different approach. At these schools, Repower had informal round-table discussions regarding ways in which Greece could restore its credibility and ultimate redefine its image in the eyes of the international community.