News in Brief – October 2023
- Greek Budget – Greece’s economy is forecast to grow 2.3% this year and 3% next year, according to the 2024 government draft budget, marking one of the fastest growth rates in the Eurozone. The draft also sees a primary budget surplus equal to 1.1% of GDP this year, rising to 2.1% next year, and the debt-to-GDP ratio falling from 159.3% to 152.2% in 2024. The latest forecasts by the IMF sees Greece’s economy growing at 2.5% rate this year and 2.0% in 2024, above forecast growth rates of 0.7% and 1.2% respectively for the Eurozone.
- Record Revenues – Greece expects to raise more than €5 billion in 2024 – a record amount − from the sale of state assets, including a stake in Athens airport and concession deals for two toll roads. Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Dimitris Politis, CEO of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, said the figure included an estimated €1.5 billion from the long-term concession of the Egnatia highway in northern Greece and €3.3 billion from the Attica ring road. Another €750 million could be raised from an initial public offering of the Athens airport. Since 2011, Greece has raised about €10 billion from the sale of state assets.
- Port Privatization – Greece’s privatization agency has named the Thessaloniki Port Authority as the preferred bidder for a 67% stake in the Port of Volos in central Greece. The Volos port serves as an outlet for Greek farm exports from the plain of Thessaly and is seen as a potential cruise ship destination due to the proximity of sites like the Pelion peninsula and the Meteora monastery complex.
- Greek Shipping – Greece’s shipping sector contributes an estimated €14.1 billion per year to the Greek economy, accounting for 7.9% of GDP, according to a new study by the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE). The sector accounts for an estimated 86,300 full time jobs and contributes €1.9 billion in government revenues per year.
- Athens Award − Athens has been named Europe’s Leading Cultural City Destination 2023 at the World Travel Awards. The award coincides with several significant municipal and national events, such the refurbishment and reopening of the iconic Lycabettus Municipal Theater, the month-long 2nd Athens City Festival, as well as the annual Athens Epidaurus Festival.
- Travel Awards − Greece was ranked as the third most popular country in the world to visit in the latest Conde Nast Traveler annual survey of readers. According to the 2023 Reader’s Choice Awards issued by the magazine, nine Greek islands were also named among Europe’s top 20 island destinations to visit.
- Med Power – Greece’s national grid operator, the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO), also known as ADMIE, will assume the implementation of a project to connect the electrical grids of Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The €2.5 billion project is backed by the European Union and has been categorized as a European Project of Common Interest.