Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has returned to trying to attract foreign investors in the wake of the aftermath of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Greece critically needing cash to get the economy going again.
His government pumped 17.5 billion euros ($19.44 billion) into paying laid-off workers and propping up companies required to close for up to 10 weeks during a lockdown that began March 23 and gradually started being lifted on May 4.
The economy was on track for 2-3 percent growth this year, starting to finally accelerate a year and a half after the Aug. 20, 2018 end of three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($362.06 billion) that began in 2010.
Those were needed to save an economy ravaged by generations of wild overspending and runaway patronage by successive governments but came with harsh austerity measures aimed squarely at workers, pensioners and the poor, sparing politicians, oligarchs, the rich and Parliament workers.
Besides the biggest revenue engine of tourism, which will resume on July 1 as much as possible, the government is counting on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to pick up again after being stymied for 4 ½ years by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.
Mitsotakis ousted the Leftists and former premier Alexis Tsipras in July 7, 2019 snap elections and started giving the go-ahead again to major projects that were stalled, including the still-stuck 8-billion euro ($8.88 billion) development of the abandoned former Hellenikon International Airport site on Athens' southeastern coast.
Mitsotakis held meetings with representatives of the various sectors of the economy, including one with the founders of Greek technology companies that attracted foreign investment during the pandemic, as well as with the representatives of the major multinational companies that invested in them, reported Kathimerini.
Microsoft spokesman Charles Lamanna said the company plans to set up a robotic process automation (RPA) development center in Greece, which will be the company’s first research and development center in the country.
That led Mitsotakis to reach out to international investors who he said believe Greece is secure for their business and the “word is out” that it “has political stability, talented people, the right human capital, and a government that I think understands what it needs to do to support the fast-growing high-tech companies.”