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Economy

Greek State Won’t Take Over Businesses Closed by COVID-19

ATHENS — With the COVID-19 pandemic closing the doors for good for many Greek businesses among those who had to stay shut during a long lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, the New Democracy government said they won’t be nationalized.

Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis, who’s also a TV pitchman, said the government prefers privatizations to taking over major companies facing possible bankruptcy over the COVID-19 aftermath. 

Speaking at the general assembly of the German Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held via teleconference, he said the government wants the markets to avoid being influenced by nationalization and “state-run conditions,” reported Naftemporiki.

But he said he remained optimistic as the government poured 17.5 billion euros ($19.78 billion) into relief for workers laid off and to their companies to keep them upright until the lockdown that began March 23 ended gradually, starting May 4 with more weekly openings.

"The state will not invest in companies, such as the shipyards, Larco, and airlines, despite SYRIZA's desire … this is not our purpose," he said, in referring to the leftist main opposition party that was anti-business and stymied major projects during its 4 ½-year run.

Larco is a heavily debt-laden and loss-making ferro-nickel production unit in south-central Greece managed by the Greek state, an example critics said, of major state-owned or state-backed companies that couldn’t make a profit over political influence.

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