As social democratic economists are wont to say, major public investments are necessary not only because they create infrastructure and jobs, but also because they trigger a wave of investments around them that contribute to growth.
A former Greek finance minister from the centre-left often invokes the example of the modernisation of a port on an island that has a broader, positive medium-term and long-term impact. When the state creates the conditions for ships to dock without problems, private investment will help bolster tourism-related sectors and benefit the local economy.
Something similar, though on a larger scale, can be achieved in the capital with the six redevelopment projects, most of which have been included in the “Ellada 2.0” plan, that the government has announced.
They include the construction of a government park on the site of the former PYRKAL munitions factory (where nearly a dozen ministries are supposed to be relocated, photo), the remodelling of the Votanikos/Elaionas area, the repair and upgrading of OAKA (the Olympic Athletic Centre of Athens), the exploitation of the land surrounding the former royal palace at Tatoi, and the restoration of the natural environment on Mount Parnitha.
The need for these projects (which can contribute to growth in the areas where they will be carried out) to be launched as soon as possible is obvious.
After years of economic crisis, the Greek economy needs a boost in order to escape the recessionary spiral.
If the redevelopment experiment is able to surmount the usual bureaucratic dysfunctions, then one can demonstrate that Greece is in a position to exploit EU funding to its advantage, and that in turn will lay the groundwork for major development projects nationwide.