Incoming Economy and Development Minister Yannis Dragasakis underlined the need to expedite and coordinate efforts to attract investments, even as his predecessor offered an accounting of his term as minister.

Noting that he is leaving the ministry under unexpected circumstances – he resigned after a backlash spurred by the fact that the state was paying the rent for the apartment in which he and his wife were residing – Papadimitriou stressed that a positive climate is developing with regard to Greece internationally and that there has at the same time been progress in attracting investment.

Noting that his successor “with his experience will successfully continue the work of implementing reforms and attracting investments to our country”, Papadimitriou said that he will “continue in any way I can to contribute to Greece’s just struggle for viable growth”.

For his part, Dragasakis praised the work of his predecessor and asserted that the groundwork has already been laid for viable development.

“In my [political] culture, there are no offices, but rather responsibilities, responsibilities to the prime minister who showed me trust, and to the people, who face problems, which we must address,” he said.

Dragasakis extolled the accomplishments and character of Papadimitriou, noting that “he came to Greece in order to help the country, and not for money.”

A crucial six months

Dragasakis stressed that the next sixth months, until Greece completes the current fiscal adjustment programmme, are critical, as they may affect developments over the next decade.

“The groundwork for growth has been laid. We are not starting with a blank page at this ministry,” he said.

“We shall work collectively, both because it is part of our mentality and because I have countless examples that show that you achieve a lot when you work as a member of a team,” he said.

Full speed ahead

Dragasakis stressed the paramount importance of speeding up various processes and decision-making related to growth, as development alone is not enough.

“All sorts of decisions must be taken more quickly, and that applies to us all – not only the government, but also banks and businesses. Whatever we can finish up today, should not be left until tomorrow,” the new minister said, stressing the importance of coordinating efforts, and noting that years ago this ministry was called ministry of coordination.

Economic growth he said, must not only have a momentum but also a direction, and that society’s needs and human capital must be at the centre of efforts to grow the economy.