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Newsletter March 2013


Premier Leads Delegation to Turkey

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras led a delegation, including Greek businesspeople, to Turkey on March 4.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on March 4, for talks covering the full range of bilateral issues between Greece and Turkey. Earlier, during the second Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council, the two sides had signed 25 separate bilateral agreements. Summarizing the results during joint statements with the Turkish premier, Mr. Samaras said it had been "a good day for relations between the two countries".

The two premiers discussed economic relations, boosting tourism, respect and protection for cultural heritage and tackling illegal migration. Mr. Samaras noted that their talks had focused on several "day-to-day" policy issues that would improve the lives of ordinary people, as well as ways of boosting economic growth and generating jobs.

"We are building up trust, creating mutual interests, bringing the citizens of the two countries closer together," he added.

More than 20 ministers had attended the Greece-Turkey Cooperation Council, while businesspeople participating in the Greek-Turkish forum were striving for mutually beneficial partnerships. Mr. Samaras expressed a desire for such meetings to be more frequent. “Through the contacts of politicians and businesspeople we want to bring the two peoples closer. We are putting growth at the service of peace," he said.

The issue of oil and gas exploration in the Aegean was one of the key issues on the agenda and both leaders made brief references to it after Athens and Ankara recently sent diplomatic notes to the United Nations to complain about the other side’s stance on the issue.

Samaras said that the continental shelf rights Greece has as a result of the Law of the Sea are “clear.” Erdogan said the two sides would be in a win-win situation if they could come to an agreement on the issue.

Mr. Erdogan also described Monday's meetings as "very useful" and stressed that the number of agreements signed, as well as the 22 agreements signed in 2010, "are indicative of the progress we have made in areas of cooperation."

The Turkish Premier noted that the volume of trade transactions had risen by nearly a third since 2010 and that the target was to double this, while Greek investments in Turkey amounted to 6.6 billion dollars and more than one million Turks and Greeks had traveled between the two countries since 2010.

Agreements signed on Monday related to tourism, justice, culture, health, migration, shipping, agriculture and sports and Greece's support for Turkey's bid to host the Olympics.

Stephanos Issaias, CEO of Invest in Greece, participated in the official delegation and presented investment opportunities in Greece particularly relevant to the Turkish business community.

March 5, 2013
(Source: AMNA, eKathimerini)

Doing Business in Greece
The investment opportunities in Greece within the context of the economic crisis were the focus of an event organized by the Greek Delegation of the EPP Group in the premises of the European Parliament. Talking to politicians, diplomats and businesspeople, Notis Mitarachi, Greek Deputy Minister for Development, presented the great progress that the country has made towards fiscal consolidation and the creation of an investment-friendly environment. Mr. Mitarachi said that Greece is changing rapidly in order to become an attractive destination for investment. “We are changing Greece from a ‘red tape’ country that created bureaucratic obstacles in investments, to a “red carpet” country -  a sure harbor for investment”, he said, stressing that the government is giving priority to the reduction of taxes.

The Head of the Greek Delegation of the EPP Group, Marietta Giannakou MEP, underlined the changes that have taken place in Greece in recent months and which have made the country attractive for new investment. She also stressed that European partners have given Greece a chance and the country has understood that it should go ahead with extended structural reforms and institutional changes that will allow the development of its major strategic advantages, the privatization of public real estate assets and public enterprises and the further development of the tourism and agricultural sector.

Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou MEP referred to the important reforms that the country is implementing in order to create favorable conditions for investment. She also added that the efforts of the countries of South Europe, and particularly Greece, must have a European added value. A European coordination policy is needed to maximize the advantages of the EU and to create balanced growth between all countries.

Philippe Dechamps, Assistant General Counsel Senior and Vice-President of Legal and Government Affairs of the Delhaize Group, underlined the presence of more than twenty years of the Delhaize Group in Greece, the increase in turnover, despite the crisis, and stressing that the profits of the Delhaize Group in Greece go into new investments. “It’s a win-win situation and we will continue investing in Greece,” he said.

Tony Prophet, Senior Vice-President, Operations Printing and Personal Systems, Hewlett-Packard, said that the most important thing is that HP is in Greece: “We believe in the changes, we believe in the wisdom of the investments that have been made in Greece‘s infrastructure.” The use of the Piraeus port for transport gives an advantage of seven days compared to the traditional ways of transportation. He said that Greece is the logical choice if you want to transport products to Southern and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean area, the Middle East and Africa. “We believe in the renaissance of the Greek economy and we are very respectful of the investments that have been made in the last years and of the magnitude of those investments. We believe that this will make an important difference for us competitively as well as for the Greek economy and society,” he concluded.

Tourism Forum in Turkey
Alternate Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation Magdalini Karakoli attended a Tourism Forum in Ankara on Thursday, 28 February. The Forum was attended by representatives of Greece and Turkey, and provided an opportunity for business meetings between Greek and Turkish enterprises.

The Forum was organized by the Economic and Commercial Affairs Office of the Greek Embassy in Ankara, in collaboration with the Turkish Tourism Ministry, the Association of Turkish Travel Agents, the Association of Greek Travel Agents, the Association of Greek Hoteliers, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, and the Association of Travel Agents of Macedonia and Thrace.

Business Mission to Kiev
The Foreign Ministry's Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Peter Mihalos, led a multi-sector business mission of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Greek International Business Association (SEVE), and the Greek-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce to Kiev on 5-7 February 2013.

The keynote speaker at the Greek-Ukrainian Business Forum, Mr. Mihalos analyzed the economic developments in Greece, setting out the major prospects opening up for bilateral cooperation in investment, trade, tourism and shipping.

Mr. Mihalos took the opportunity of his visit to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Mayko, with whom he looked at issues of mutual bilateral interest; with the head of the state Tourism Service at the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry, Ms. Shapavalova, with whom he discussed bilateral tourism cooperation issues; and with the President of the Chamber of International Trade, Mr. Ignatiev.

February 6, 2013
(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic)