Minister Disputes Report Qatar Giving Up Greek Investment

Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs George Katrougalos. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

Despite reports Qatari companies are abandoning investments in Greece because of bureaucratic delays and foot-dragging, Alternate Foreign Minister for International Relations Giorgos Katrougalos said they’re not.

Katrougalos, who previously was Labor and Social Insurances Minister before another of Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras’ cabinet shake-ups aimed at stopping free-falls in the polls after reneging on anti-austerity promises, said the media reports were fake and a “fabricated incident … whoever is circulating such stories is directly undermining national interests,” the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.

He didn’t say if he had spoken to the company, Al Rayyan, which was cited in reports as saying it was giving up plans to invest on the island of Zakynthos, the latest in a recent spate of obstructions against foreign investments at the same time Tsipras is wooing them and as he claimed they are anxious to get involved in Greece despite an avalanche of tax hikes he implemented on orders of international creditors.

Disputing the reports, he said there was no decision or information pointing to Qatari investors’ losing interest in Greece.

“What was said by the Al Rayyan company, if it has, in fact, been said – because a similar letter has not been sent to the Greek government – deals exclusively with the (Qatari) company, and does not reflect the reality of economic ties between Greece and Qatar,” he said without offering any evidence otherwise.