ATHENS – Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis expressed his optimism that the investment climate in Greece will continue to improve rapidly, despite the difficult times. In an interview with The National Herald he revealed that his expectations are that Greece remains stable in the top ten countries for direct investment for the coming years, and referring to the Greek Diaspora he noted that he does not want them to invest in their homeland only out of patriotism but because they will make a profit.
TNH: What are the factors that have changed (as is generally acknowledged) and improved the investment climate in Greece lately and in fact in the midst of unfavorable conditions, including the pandemic?
Adonis Georgiadis: I believe that the greatest success of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is that he has changed the image of the country abroad. Greece had the image of a country that if you go there, you will get bogged down. In these two-and-a half-years, the exact opposite has happened. Greece is the country that if you go there, you will have an edge and you will be able to do what you want to do.
This was done through a series of initiatives of the Prime Minister himself, at the highest level and a series of bills that we crafted here at the Ministry of Development, and other co-responsible ministries which greatly facilitate the lives of investors.
Greece has always had potential, but we did not use it. Now we have decided to use it.
TNH: Despite all kinds of problems (pandemic, inflation, etc.) that will apparently continue bothering us in 2022 are you optimistic about the course of foreign investment in Greece?
AG: Foreign investment in Greece in 2022 and 2023 will set a record. I have no doubt. I only take as an extreme scenario a possible war of unforeseen proportions, which I do not even want to think about.
In any other case, with things developing normally, the sectors of renewable energy sources, real estate, tourism, industrial production and R&D, are areas in which Greece will have great growth in the coming years.
And the high prices of energy for our energy transition to renewable sources serve us well – they do not harm us.
TNH: Will we continue to see investments from world giants coming to Greece?
AG: When I took over the responsibility of the Ministry of Development and Investment, if in my first interview I said that before I left Pfizer, CISCO, Microsoft, Digital Realty, Amazon Web Services, META Facebook, and Blackstone would have come to Greece and many others, I think you would have considered me overly optimistic. And yet this has already happened.
I assure you that it will continue to happen in the coming years, because now that the image of Greece has changed, one investor is following the other.
TNH: What message would you send to the Greeks living abroad who want to invest in Greece?
AG: I have never seen the Greek Diaspora differently from all other investors. I love them, and I do not differentiate them from us. Besides, I was also the Chairman of the Committee on Greeks Abroad for many years.
But I always believed that we cannot expect someone to invest money just out of patriotism. The investor must invest money where he thinks he will make a profit.
The improvement of the business climate that has led all these giants that I mentioned earlier to come to Greece, obviously cannot leave the Greek Diaspora indifferent, who among other things have a great love for the homeland. So we invite them to come and invest. Now is the time.
TNH: What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing in the ministry? What are your expectations for investing in Greece, at least for the foreseeable future?
AG: My expectations for investments in Greece are to remain firmly in the top ten countries in the attraction of foreign direct investment, as Ernst & Young recorded for the first time in our history. If we manage to maintain it for three, four, five years, the image of the country will change.
This is what I want to do. That is why I work hard with my colleagues, Nikos Papathanasis, Yiannis Tsakiris, Christos Dimas and the entire team of the Ministry of Development. We have already achieved a great deal, but we want to achieve many more of our goals.