Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou issued an open invitation to German industrialists and entrepreneurs to invest in Greece, addressing the annual conference of the BDI, the umbrella federation of German industry and industry-related service providers on Tuesday.
Papandreou, in an address entitled "Looking to the Future: The Europe of Development and Solidarity", said that "investments in Greece are investments in the future" and outlined the significant steps that have been made over the last two years for transparency and to boost the competitiveness of the Greek economy.
The premier noted an increase in Greek exports, improvement in the performance of the tourism industry, and investment prospects via a privatisations programme, particularly in the fields of infrastructure (airports, ports) and energy, while he especially emphasised the renewable energy sector and the potential export of electricity to Germany.
"Greece can succeed," Papandreou said, adding that "I can guarantee that Greece will fulfil all its responsibilities".
On the crisis in the Eurozone, Papandreou warned that the 'cacophony' must stop and a "one voice" framework must exist, since no country can deal with the crisis on its own or develop on its own.
Papandreou further called for the creation of a "European IMF", noting that although significant decisions have been taken for dealing with the crisis, the end success depends both on the participation of the private sector and the banks -- which, he said, have been backed by the governments when they faced problems themselves -- and on the parliaments of the 17 Εurozone member countries, which he said are called on to ratify the significant decisions of July 21.
Specifically regarding Greece, Papandreou said the country will fulfil all its commitments. "We are determined to succeed," he said repeatedly throughout his address, noting that "when many ask me whether I have the (required social) support, I reply to them that the issue is for Greece to be saved and not whether they will vote for me again".
On the widespread criticism Greece is facing, the premier said "we are making substantive efforts to advance significant and painful changes in Greece ... We are making the system fairer, more efficient. This, however, means lower revenues for employees and pensioners. It means pain. The constant criticism is unpleasant. We are not asking of you to applaud us. What we are asking is that you respect our efforts," the Greek premier stressed.
LAOS leader criticises PM's address to German industrialists
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on Tuesday strongly criticised prime minister George Papandreou over the latter's address earlier in the day to the BDI federation of German industries in Berlin, accusing Papandreou of going to Germany to beg for investments, whereas the German entrepreneurs were fully aware that "very soon, via BlackRock, they will be able to come and loot any (state) enterprise they want", and warning that "the Germans see us as easy prey, not as friends".
Karatzaferis further opined that Greece will receive the sixth tranche of the EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece, but on political, not economic, terms, and linked the funding to Greece with international geopolitical developments and a change in Greece's foreign policy.
The LAOS leader added that the US and Russian interest in Greece "is what gives us an outlet to the future", adding that "some people need to realise that the world is changing, and that we must adapt our country's foreign policy in such a way as to be able to benefit the maximum".
On a press conference by finance minister Evangelos Venizelos earlier in the day, Karatzaferis accused the minister of addressing himself in essence to the ruling PASOK parliamentary group. "Mr. Venizelos set up a press conference in order to be heard by the (PASOK) parliamentary group. In other words, to convince them to turn their roars into cackles. We shall see," he said.