Greece’s efforts to modernize the economy with support from Germany are beginning to pay off at a local level two years after joint projects were first begun, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s special envoy to the country.

Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, a lawmaker for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party who was appointed to his job in 2011, said Greek initiatives are benefiting from a “treasure trove” of German industrial and administrative expertise that’s spawned projects from tourism to exporting textiles and managing waste.

“Greece has come a huge step forward,” Fuchtel said in an interview in Berlin late Thursday.

All the same, “economic recovery needs to be speeded up.”