Samaras Sets Qatar Investment Trip

Samaras Sets Qatar Investment Trip

samaras_first_390As Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras readies a rescheduled visit to Qatar to woo investment for his cash-strapped country, his hosts are already showing interest in acquiring troubled Greek defense companies as part of a long-delayed massive privatisation.

Samaras was to visit the Gulf State in November, but had to put it off to deal with his country’s crushing economic crisis and attend a critical meeting of Eurozone finance ministers. The EU-IMF-ECB Troika, which is putting up 239 billion euros in two bailouts to prop up the Greek economy, has been pushing the government to accelerate the pace of privatizations that have been set aside while Greece imposed austerity measures.

Among the industries on the block are the struggling Hellenic Defense Systems and Hellenic Vehicle Industry. Hellenic Defense Systems was formed in 2004 by the merger of Greek Power & Cartridge Company, which has made ammunition for 140 years and counts NATO as a customer.

Hellenic Arms Industry makes infantry weapons, mortars, weapon and missile systems, gun powder and aircraft payloads. The Hellenic Vehicle Industry makes armored fighting vehicles but has been unable to secure a government contract because of a lack of funding for defense purchases.

“Qatar is interested in a series of privatizations regarding the Greek defense industry,” Greece Defense Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos said in a statement after meeting with Qatar’s Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha. He said Qatari officials believe that by the time Samaras visits, expected sometime late in January, that, “The conditions will then be ripe for specific proposals and investment plans in our country.”

John Nomikos, defense analyst and the head of the Research Institute for European and American Studies in Athens, welcomed the idea of Qatari investment. “The Qatar government officers are very serious and follow the rules when they co-operate with foreign governments,” he told SETimes.

The defense companies could be a plum for Qatar, which is also looking at other investment opportunities during Greece’s economic crisis. The Troika wants Greece to privatize state enterprises and properties in hopes of raising 11 billion euros by the end of 2016, below its previous privatization revenue target for 19 billion euros by 2015.

Critics argue that the country would be selling its enterprises and lands far too cheaply as investors know the government is trying to raise revenues to write down 325 billion euros in debt.

Other investment areas to be discussed by Samaras include real estate deals such as the Elliniko project and a 620-hectare-acre former international airport site on Athens’ southern coast. Qatar Holding, the investment arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, is participating in the tender process of the project, a spokesman said.

Qatar has quietly been investing more in Greece. The royal family last summer acquired Oxia Island, near Ithaca in the Ionian Sea, and Qatar Airways said it would use Athens’ International Airport for direct flights to and from New York, the only carrier to do so.

“Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk regarding potential investments by Qatar in Greece either in energy, tourism, banking or construction sector. For the time being none of those has become a reality for a variety of reasons,” including competition, bureaucracy and political conflicts, Ioannis Michelatos, who heads the Athens-based Institute for Security and Defence Analysis, told SETimes.

“The improvement of the macro-economic climate in Greece, combined with the volatile situation in the Middle East, has put this country firmly in the investment plans of Qatar, rendering the planned visit by the Greek prime minister to the Gulf state very interesting indeed,” he said.

(Reprinted by permission of Southeast European Times, www.setimes.com)

  • Guest

    My prediction is that they want a mosque

  • Cypriot

    Yep. Expect some mosques to be built in Athens/Thessaloniki soon.

  • Adde

    If that happens, Samaras will be seen as a traitor and the mosque(s) will surely by pu on fire. If he is stupid enough to accept a mosque in Athens, we should expect big troubles.

  • Alex

     If Qatar government asks for new mosques (mostly to serve illegals that disrespectully violated out borders no less)… Samaras should ask in building churches in qatar and mecca.

    Hopefully the discussion focuses on trade not religion. Samaras should also ask if the Qatar government is willing to accept some of the Muslims coming to greece illegally. (since we have far more of an illegal problem per capita than any country in the world)

  • Alex

    Samaras is smart and a patriot.  If he ever allowed a new mosque you can bet it would be in return for something that helped Greece.

    Papandreou cared more about getting good press from major leftist media outlets like Guardian.  Leftists think only Fox News plays these sorts of backroom discussion editorial board games. The New York Times is particularly adept at it. They manipulate foreign governments to push their agendas by giving air time to selective accredited sources that serve their agenda (omitting mention of the experts that disagree with them) or by giving only your enemies air time. (making it seem like everyone is against you).

    I actually used to trust the times but after the Iraq war (where the alleged “prohuman rights”writers went to bed with interests that wanted to go to war parroting the war hawks rather than questioning….I learned the editorial board are full of skata.  They do the same sort of stuff in the name dispute (the pricks pretending they don’t notice FYROM’s irredentism implicitely suggests they support it not to mention a bizarre article a few years ago interviewing that anti-Hellenic wackjob Dimou trying to manipulatively delete our very identity)  Liz Aldermann of the New York Times even just interviewed Syriza. A communist for goodness sake. Would the NYT editorical board interview American communists for stories on Obama or Bush? No way. Pure manipulators.

  • Adde

    I haven’t a bad opinion of Samaras (especially since he has always been one of the most aggressive defender of Hellas in the Fyrom Conflict) but he IS a politician and part of ND, one of the 2 big parties which are mainly responsibles for the economic crisis (Pasok being the most corrupt of the 2 of course). I also know that once Samaras left ND to created his own nationalist party so I know he is a supporter of Hellenism and that contrary to many politicians he cares at least a little about the country. I am aware of all this but there are many pressure from outside and particularly from Hellenic-Hating racists who want to destroy the Hellenic values, traditions and way of life and muslims who try to make their religion spread into the country.
    Also if this mosque is built while the majority of the people are against it, it could create anger among the citizens and violent reactions. I think if Samaras make the mistake to allow a mosque to be built in Athens, he will loose support among the right wing and nationalist voters and I also think that this decision will boost the popularity of XA among the population.

    Also I feel not comfortable with the building of mosque in our country because I think it is a national suicide with Turkey nearby and a national humiliation considering Constantinoupolis and Cyprus are still under occupation.

    A litte reminder :

    “The mosques are our barracks,
    the domes are our helmets,
    the minarets are our swords,
    and the faithful are our army”.

    Thoses are the words of “Sultan” Erdogan in 1998 and I’m sure his “Grand Vizier” Abdullah Gül agrees with him …

    Islam in Greece = Turkish Trojan Horse.

  • The maverik

    Fellow Greeks, we expect our country to be like France, Holland, Germany and the UK…Lots of (M) and more (M) in our beloved country…Our corrupt politicians will turn it to a (M) country by blocking roads for them to pray their Friday prayers and demands by the Qataris to include their (F-K-I-N-G) sharia in our constitution…

  • Adde

    “I learned the editorial board are full of skata”. It’s more accurate to say they defend the interests of their countries and are attacking all thoses who oppose them (and since all countries have contradicory interests, foreign medias attack us if it suits their interests)
    For example during the Kosovo war, Germany supported the UCK against Serbia to weaken Russia a little and in the same time USA officials wanted a base in the Balkans so the whole establishment of USA as well as US medias supported albanians islamists by bombing Serbia and by demonizing the Serbs. In Exchange the Albanians let the Americans have a base in Kosovo for 99 years named Camp Bondsteel.
    During the Irak war, the US government wanted to take Saddam out because he wanted to use the € currency to sell his petrol instead of the dollar, ect …
    Chinese medias promote Chinese governement interests, USA medias promotes USA governement’s interests, … and private medias promotes the interests of the groups who own them.

    That’s why I always argue since the beginning that we mustn’t let foreign nations or religious or economic group control some parts of our countries.
    No to mosques (places of worship which make the foreign religion islam speads into the society), no to intervention of the EU in Hellenic internal affairs (they don’t care about our interests and refused to help the governments protect our borders with Turkey even if our crooked politicians asked many times the help of the EU), no to German politicians ruling some parts of the country (they are Germans and if we let them rule us, they will rule us in a way which suits first the national interests of Germany), no to letting foreigners controlly strategic parts of our country like ports, airports, drinkable waters, ect …
    Excepting a few good allies (like Serbia for example) we are all alone and we can’t count on nobody but ourselves.

  • Alex

    “we can’t count on nobody but ourselves.”

    It was actually the name dispute is what convinced me of that. I used less skepcial. believe the NGOs and media that claim to support “human rights” and speechs from political pundits that claimed to care about humanity.

    After their treatment of Greeks with the Skopians (weasals now trying to hide their shame for calling them “macedonians” as they turn into “ancient Macedonians”)… i know they don’t give a damn about anyone but their own interests. They are full prepared to collude with the Skopians in ethnically erase Greeks to bury their mistake.

    There are two types of human beings for me now.

    Human beings  that call the Skopians “FYROM” or nuetrals that don’t know anything about the issue

    Sub-human Greek-hating cockroaches that support them (essentially playing role of Nazis during WW2 in trying to exterminate us)

  • Guest

    Its so pity for Qatar government to accept a traitor like himself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.elwell.7 Nancy Elwell

    ASK the oligarchs who’ve lined their pockets with the money hopes and dreams of the Greek Nation to do something about it…or…accept the inevitable. Qatar is empire building and will not be stopped. If they want mosques, believe me, there will be mosques./

  • The maverik

     He is not the only traitor…There are so many of them in the country…

  • http://www.facebook.com/tosuji1 Osuji Tony

    greeks are just fools,greece don’t want to be like france,holland germany and uk but greeks want money from those contries, and they are milloins greeks living in those countries