11 Sep 2017 - 1:14
Tsipras woos French firms to invest in Greece
Athens: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged French businesses on Friday to invest in Greece, as it emerges from its debt crisis, and assured them that they would not regret it.
Tsipras said attracting investment was a priority for his leftist-led government, which aims to reduce the jobless rate, the euro zone’s highest, and make Greece financially independent in 2018, when the country’s third international bailout expires.
“Greece is an opportunity, a real opportunity,” Tsipras told French business leaders accompanying French President Emmanual Macron on a two-day trip to Athens.
“You won’t regret your choice,” he said.
After seven years of crisis and painful reforms, Greece’s economy could grow by more than 2 percent this year, he added. But Greece still ranks very low in terms of direct investment.
The 43-year old leader was catapulted to power in 2015 on pledges to tear up the country’s bailouts, end austerity and freeze privatisations, scaring away investors. After tense talks, he signed up to a new bailout, Greece’s third since 2010.
On Friday, Tsipras promised to reduce red tape, a common hurdle for investors in the country, and cut the corporate tax rate by 3 percentage points to 26 percent in 2020, if Greece outperforms on its bailout-prescribed fiscal targets. He said he would personally lead a task-force that would oversee projects and consult with investors.