Tsipras govt deflects stinging criticism, says FDIs, liquidity increased over past 2 years

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 18:09

The government replied in its preferred "non paper" mode on Wednesday, attacking the rival center-right opposition and throwing out a bevy to numbers and figures to prove that it's attracting foreign direct investment to the cash-starved country.

The latest "non paper" by the prime minister's office, the Maximos Mansion, comes after a grueling start of the week for the leftist-rightist coalition. The week began with a Canadian mining multinational's threat to abandon the biggest industrial investment being undertaken in Greece, followed by continuing bureaucratic obstacles plaguing a landmark land redevelopment project in southeast coastal Athens (Helleniko), and even a top minister's unexpected criticism that a German-Greek consortium, which assumed the management of 14 regional airports in April 2017, wasn't running the facilities any better than the previous state-appointed administrations.

In ticking off a "laundry list" of investments underway, maturing or just around the corner, the unofficial government response mentioned one by name, the administrative approval of French energy giant Total's exploration in two blocks west of the Ionian island of Corfu.

Other figures cited 668 million euros worth of investments the government claimed were at a standstill due to previous governments' inactivity, and 800 investment plans nearing the conclusion of an evaluation process. Without giving particulars, it said these under-evaluation projects are worth two billion euros.

In a bid to allay three days of biting criticism and renewed negative international media attention, the Tsipras government pointed to a deal with the EIB for two billion euros worth of liquidity and preparatory efforts, in tandem with the EIB,  for projects it valued at seven billion euros over the next three years.

The government also said ERBD and Juncker stimulus plan credit lines funneled two billion euros into Greek SMEs, while claiming that FDIs in 2016 reached a 10-year high. For 2017, it said 1.6 billion euros in FDIs flowed into the Greek economy.

The first half of 2017 did, indeed, witness the transfer of the 14 regional airports to Fraport Greece in a 40-year concession that brought 1.234 billion euros into Greek state coffers. Fraport is the concessionaire criticized by the relevant Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis a day earlier over what he said was sub par management so far, an attempt to dictate to the government the pace of infrastructure upgrades at airports and even delays in carrying out the capital investments it has committed to in the concession contract. 

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