“The new strategy of attracting large foreign investments”

Dimitris Μάρδα, Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs
With more and more opening up to the world market, foreign investors broaden the possibilities of their choices. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the…
their choices were limited and focused in the D. Europe, USA – Canada, Japan and selectively in Latin America and Africa. After 1990, however, foreign investors were extended to all parts of the planet, except for a few any more countries. Today, with the exception of the B. Korea, all countries, seek to attract foreign investors. This dynamic leads to the rearrangement of the forces of all the states concerned.
A first attempt to facilitate the foreign investors in the country, was through the Law on Strategic Investments of previous governments. Due to the improvisation that distinguished him, however, his revision was not long in coming. However, no one in the past paid due attention in the process of approval of a foreign investment. The result of this situation, the product of an unspeakable bureaucracy, lengthy approval procedures, without an expiration date.
The system that we inherited, allows any employee to delay and prevent the completion of an investment for various reasons, most of the times without sufficient justification, and obvious reasons of legality. So we have example of tourist investment that waiting 10 years is unblocked from a single public service.
Recently tabled in the ΚΥΣΟΙΠ comprehensive report-analysis of the reasons and causes of delay of the necessary licensing required for the completion of an investment. The analysis leads to the proposal for speeding up the procedures for licensing in all stages of an investment project, with the objective of the time of approval of a foreign investment may not exceed 6-8 months.
In accordance with the recommendation, no employee will be able to delay unduly the procedure for approval of the service. And this is the first obvious step.
The dynamic of attracting investment also has taken another dimension. A spearhead of this process is the triptych: Office of the Minister of State, responsible for investments, Ministry of Foreign affairs and EnterpriseGreece.
As to the STATE department, for the first time has been chosen to a large extent the direct contact of the responsible secretary of state with foreign investment houses and investors. The meetings take place either in small groups 4-10 of investors either on a personalized level. From December 2015 until April 2016 organised meetings with approximately 100 investment houses and investors on the initiative of the MFA in the US and Uk. Kingdom. The fact that they accept investors to allocate time discussing with a Greek official, this shows the interest for the country. The oral presentations, accompanied by detailed information written, relating to the macroeconomic data of the country, and the investment opportunities that exist in the industrial zones that are available for the installation of new enterprises.
Foreign investors are fully informed about what is happening in the country. I don’t need the smallest piece of information, for example, for capital controls, as well as systematically monitor the whole de-escalation of capital constraints, knowing adequately the particular problems faced by companies and citizens.
Interested in large investment projects, privatisation of public institutions that are already in progress or to be opened or for other forms of privatization with the emphasis on tourism, in energy and in food industry. Desired, however, the shift of their interest towards other areas of the industry or to other methods (e.x. the subcontract) with the help of which will revive the domestic industry. The position in which the state participation is necessary on the part of the government, in each towards privatisation of a public undertaking does not bother them, nor is it an obstacle in their strategy.
Finally, the policy for the investigation of foreign investors ‘ services of the STATE department, which could demonstrate their interest for the country, follows the following strategy: first of all a mapping of the investments that have made some countries (E.x France, Korea) in the wider region of Balkans and in Turkey. Given that those who invested there not have interest to invest in our country, in a second step seeks the communication with foreign companies competitive to those already invested in the above areas.
Direct contacts abroad with investors, forming a “package” of advantages and opportunities presented by the country, good coordination of relevant stakeholders at the government level and, finally, targeted actions abroad are the key tools in the “quiver” of the Ministry Abroad for attracting foreign investment.