Greek islands not for sale red tape must go minister

first_imgGreece needs to cut bureaucracy to push through languishing investment projects, and not sell its islands to attract funds crucial for its struggling economy to return to growth, a Deputy Development Minister told Reuters. Seven major investment projects, ranging from tourism to energy and worth half a billion euros in total, have been stuck for months awaiting parliamentary approval instead of drawing cash into an economy stuck in its fifth year of recession. “I don’t understand it. The fact that we have seven investments that are just waiting to happen is reason not to sleep at night for me,” said Notis Mitarakis in an interview. “We plan to ratify them within the year,” he added, pointing at the neo-classical parliament building through the windows of his office on the central Syntagma square. Appointed to the coalition government formed in June by conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Mitarakis, 39, said he is now jump-starting these projects, including a major British tourism investment on the island of Crete and a motor-racing track near the western port city of Patras. They are expected to create 3,000 jobs, a much-needed boost with unemployment at a record high and almost one in four Greeks out of work. Investors have long complained that red tape and corruption are the main deterrents to doing business in Greece, which fell 7 places to 90th out of 142 countries in the latest World Economic Forum global competitiveness index. Source: Reuters / Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more