Greece 2.0 seeks to transform the economy. Does it go far enough?

Yanos Gramatidis, Partner of Bahas, Gramatidis & Partners Law Firm, Greece, talks to John Psaropoulos of AL JAZEERA for Greece 2 .0, the Greek government’s master plan for economic transformation.

The excerpt of Mr. Gramatidis commentary is following:

A new beginning

Corporate lawyer Yanos Gramatidis agrees that small enterprises, which provide 90 percent of employment, won’t feel the benefits of Greece 2.0 for at least a couple of years. But the reset of the economy, he believes, will be profound after that, because Greece 2.0 is acting as a government-side accelerator to public-private investments.

For instance, it will now provide the state-owned railway network funds to match a 750-million-euro ($885m) private investment from Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, the Italian rail operator that Gramatidis advises. “The entire national railway system will be electrified, and trains will be equipped with a Wi-Fi signal that will run through the rails,” he says. “The government is even interested in bringing hydrogen-powered trains.”

He says a new set of investment incentives is in the works, and a new law that will expedite public procurements making the playing field “more fair for developers”.

“This is the first time a government is looking at the Greek state as a private company,” Gramatidis says. “I have never seen managers of state-owned enterprises and ministers work so hard in a new way – modern, innovative.”

The financial executive says recent experience suggests conventional growth will provide real relief this year. “The Greek economy grew at two to three percent a year by itself without any ’emergency packages’ in 2017-2019 due to tourism pick-up, which flows quickly to the granular level – not just large hotels, but also smaller Airbnb places, cafes et cetera – keeping the cheap youth easily and quickly employed,” he says.

After that, though, it will be the turn of the government’s master plan. If all goes well, it should clear EU approval by the end of July, and advance payments should come almost immediately.

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Source: Al Jazeera [John Psaropoulos, 6 Apr. 2021]