For the 28th consecutive year, the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce kicked-off its its annual flagship event, “The Greek Economy Conference,” at the Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel in Athens on December 4.
This year’s conference focuses on the need to reshape the model of the Greek economy and to empower entrepreneurship for the benefit of employment and sustainable growth.
The economic crisis in Greece has revealed chronic deficiencies that are plaguing the country and continue to impede any attempt to leap forward to growth.
It has also highlighted the immense importance of innovation, new technologies, principles of corporate governance and business ethics, and, of course, the importance of extroversion for Greek entrepreneurship, both for large and small businesses.
In his opening address, President of the Greek-American Chamber of Commerce, Simos Anastassopoulos, said, “The years of the crisis and the country’s ineffective attempts to exit it, apart from shattering illusions, have highlighted the timeless pathogens of the Greek economy. We need a change in the country’s production and development model, with emphasis on the application of innovative new technologies, principles of corporate governance and business ethics.”
Theodoros Fessas, president of Greek Federation of Enterprises (SEV), after welcoming the technical agreement between the Greek government and the institutions for the completion of the third evaluation, stressed, “We believe the road has been opened for the timely completion of the third bailout programme and for the debate on the restructuring of the country’s public debt. We all have to worry about the day “after the Memorandum”.
US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Payatt, referred to the completion of the technical agreement with Greece’s creditors, and congratulated the Greek government for its hard work.
“2018 is a turning point for Greece and for Greek-American relations, and this is the year I have met most investors since I was in Greece,” the ambassador said.
During his speech, Payatt did not fail to mention the privatizations, which he described as a good example of improving infrastructure through private investment. He also pointed out that the US Embassy in Athens places great emphasis on supporting start-up companies. Closing his speech he emphasized: “We believe that Greece is a promising investment.”
Japonica Partners CEO Paul Kazarian, spoke on the importance of the public financial management and its role as a foundation of modern democratic societies.
Kazarian, who has invested heavily in Greece and its people, also moderated a panel on public financial management that featured Greek Secretary General of Fiscal Policy Franciscos Koutentakis, Lisbon University Professor Carlos Lobo and Former Head of Sovereign Bond Ratings Fergus McCormick, DBRS.
Watch the full discussion below:
Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis, mentioned the latest change in the country’s economic climate, stressing that the agenda after the third bailout review is clear. As he noted, “three issues will be discussed in the coming days, the fourth bailout review, debt relief and what will happen in the post-Memorandum era.”
Referring to the country’s banking System, Dragasakis mentioned the recovery in bank deposits that has been observed (about 1 billion a month), adding that “red loans” have peaked and will be reduced from now on. With regard to the banks stress tests, they expected to confirm the capital strength of the Greek banks, highlighting the need to reduce red loans, he said.