With Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras courting investors that hard-core elements in his Radical Left SYRIZA want to keep out of Greece, foreign company officials at The Delphi Economic Forum said the government has put up roadblocks keeping them away.
With Tsipras having imposed an avalanche of tax hikes raising the corporate rate to 29 percent and the country’s notorious reputations for bureaucracy and bribe-seeking already major impediments, the would-be investors cited delays in approvals for tourism resort
in Kassiopi on the Ionian island of Corfu that has been stalled since 2013, as well as major enterprises involving state-owned real estate and airports.
A proposed $8 billion development of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport on Athens’ coast has dragged on for 12 years and faces repeated government obstacles, a gold mine in northern Greece by a Canadian company is being held up, and the US investment giant Black Rock pulled the plug on a major mall near the site of Plato’s Academy in a low-income Athens neighborhood, giving up after 10 years of delays continued by SYRIZA.
Investors at the forum blamed the government and its lack of strategy, ceaseless backpedaling, obstructions and everything else standing in the way of the completion of a long string of investment projects, Kathimerini reported.
It got worse when Central Archaeological Council (KAS) said it wanted to declare the port and entire city of Piraeus an area of archaeological interest, which would restrict building and investments after committees from the shipping and environment industries shut down plans by the Chinese company COSCO which operates the port for a $580 million During his presentation at Delphi, Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) Deputy Executive Director Angelos Karakostas accused Greece of backing down on agreements it made with COSCO after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras backed down on vows to halt privatization in agreeing to let the company acquire a major stake in the port.
Karakostas said COSCO stuck to its promises even during the height of Greece’s now nearly nine-year-long economic crisis when it could have pulled out and completed projects two years ahead of schedule in transforming the port into the second largest in the Mediterranean and upgrading the facilities and surroundings.
The Thessaloniki Port Authority’s (OLTH) development plan also faces delays after the country’s highest administrative court, the Council of State suspended a 130-million euro ($146.96 billion) passenger terminal on the grounds OLT can’t be a contracting authority.