During his visit to Athens next Thursday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is to sign an agreement for government-owned development bank KfW to provide capital for the creation of an investment fund in Greece, Kathimerini understands.
The fund, set to be called the Institution for Growth in Greece, will have initial capital of 500 million euros. Of this, 350 million euros will come from European Union structural funds and Greece’s public investment program. The rest will be provided by KfW and the European Investment Bank. It is expected that the German state lender will put up around 100 million euros, since any larger amount would need the approval of the country’s parliament.
The Greek government is also hoping that it will be able to tempt France, through its state-owned investment group Caisse des depots et consignations, Diaspora Greeks, through the Hellenic Initiative, and charitable organizations such as the Niarchos and Onassis foundations to become shareholders in the fund.
Should the signing of the agreement go ahead, it would represent a substantial turnaround in Schaeuble’s relationship with the Greek government. In September 2011, the German finance minister offered his Greek counterpart at the time, Evangelos Venizelos, the option of Greece leaving the euro, an eventuality for which Schaueble’s ministry had been preparing. During that period, the German official was highly critical of Greece and publicly stated that it was not meeting its commitments and was costing Germany billions of euros.
Schaeuble will meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, with whom he enjoys a good relationship, during his visit.