Changing subsidy criteria, a “green orientation” of investments that Greek entrepreneurship now requires and new projects in the recycling sector were among the main subjects broached at this month’s OT Forum by Greek Development Minister Kostas Skrekas and Panagiotis Mourgos, the managing director of Texan SA.

A green policy change

Skrekas noted that key improvements to existing development law schemes will be applied in 2024.

“Proposals are now evaluated comparatively and proposals are prioritized accordingly. Under the new schemes to be announced, some new criteria will be introduced regarding the environmental footprint of proposals,” he said.

He added that investments that achieve high energy savings, reduce carbon emissions and are in line with the principles of circular economy will receive extra “weight” in applications and the corresponding system, meaning that they’ll get a higher priority.

According to the minister, this system will debut in the first half of 2024, allowing for applications by the industry and manufacturing sector to begin.

“These are absolutely objective criteria, there is no subjectivity, so with the closing of the application platform we will have the provisional table; afterwards we will collect objections and the final results. Therefore, procedures will be expedited once the criteria become objective. Likewise, extroversion will also be prioritized, giving precedence to exporting companies,” he added.

Under the microscope of US investments

On his part, Texan CEO Dr. Panagiotis Mourgos stated that “there have been many other changes that have led to Greece’s positive image and its being chosen by the United States to implement the high-tech materials recycling machinery manufacturing unit by Texan on Greek soil.”

He also stressing the decisive role of US embassy officials in Greece in attracting US investments.

“With an excellent workforce, tax relief and parts of the equipment manufactured in Greece – thus creating goodwill – we were able to announce the construction of the plant in September 2018 at the Thessaloniki International Fair, and to later accelerate the procedures, proceeding with such an investment, the first American venture in our country after the big crisis it came out from. The inauguration took place in December 2019, in the presence of the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the former US ambassador to Greece Mr. Geoffrey Pyatt, marking the importance of the investment for our country,” he said.

1,000 new jobs, two new investments by Texan

Mourgos stressed that that “Texan is committed to creating 1,000 new jobs in the period 2023-2026. The recycling and circular economy sector, as we see in the European Union, creates many new jobs. It is a sector requiring a high level of investments but offers significant growth and new jobs. It is important to create new jobs so that unemployment is reduced, everyone has a job, society can prosper, and businesses can grow.”

He also said two new investments in the circular economy and recycling sector are pending.

Investment record

“We have achieved a record level of direct investments in the country. Greece is now a friendly and attractive investment destination – and we have earned this – even judging from the way the pandemic was handled. It was then when the country first received positive comments when the government pioneered electronic vaccination certificates, an online system for vaccination appointments without queues. All these positively surprised the global market,” Mourgos said.

In changing themes, asked why tourism is doing better in Greece than in Spain and other rival markets, Skrekas said the country managed to convince that it is a safe destination.

“Nothing happened by chance, on the contrary, everything is happening because the country’s governance is now very effective, as confirmed by international analysts,” he pointed out. “We are not where we want to be – we need to preserve the same growth level as the one we have reached over the last two years in order to reach the EU average; To create conditions of high and steady growth for improving everyone’s living standards. The point is to create jobs, to increase disposable income and prosperity. Only investments and new jobs can after all improve the entire picture.”

In touching on the specter of inflation, the development minister said “the government will extend, for at least six months, the provision for a cap on the profit margin of (certain) businesses. Any undertakings that exceed the cap and violate the law will be subject to fines … We have not hesitated to follow this practice with the large multinational companies and we will continue to do so. We are focusing our attention on the main problem society is facing, i.e the prices of products, especially the basic ones, which a household needs for a decent living,” he said.

“This problem is not only limited to Greece – but we are interested in how to deal with it in our country. We insist on the package of measures and even on pioneering ones that have not been passed elsewhere in Europe. With the cap on profit, the Permanent Price Reduction initiative with 1,286 branded products, the Household Basket with the most economical and private label items, the Christmas Basket announced today, which is cheaper than last year.”