Business & Economy

German firms encouraged to invest in Greece

25 July, 2011

Germany's economy minister will meet on Wednesday with around 20 German business groups to discuss how to boost investment in the Greek economy, the ministry said on Monday.
Euro zone leaders agreed last week to offer Greece debt relief through a new rescue package of easier loan terms and to launch a "Marshall Plan" to revive the ailing Greek economy.
German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler has called for both national and European strategies for investing in Greece and will seek on Wednesday to drum up support from German firms.
Trade groups say companies are keen to invest in Greece but investment conditions must be made more attractive.
"We urgently need an investment programme, a business plan, a plan for changing the Greek economy," said Markus Kerber, the managing director of the BDI industry association.
The trade groups hope Berlin will be able to offer them better incentives for investing in debt-stricken Greece.
Volker Treier of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce said German companies had credit problems in Greece.
Germany's state development bank KfW could perhaps offer global loans at market interest rates to facilitate investments in Greek, he said.
This was one of the administrative or commercial options for fostering Greek growth on that could be discussed at the conference on Wednesday, he said.
The Greek development minister visited Berlin last week to win over German investors.
Greece is already undertaking structural reforms to attract foreign investment, he said, and aims to raise 50 bln euros by 2015 through privatisations.
Roesler has said Germany could counsel Greece on its privatisation programme, and the federal agency "Germany Trade and Invest" could help find investors.
Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker has touted the Treuhand privatisation agency set up to sell off East German state assets as a model of German efficiency that could help Athens resolve its debt crisis.