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French banks want to strengthen their position in the Greek market

13 September 2012 / 22:09:09  GRReporter
2312 reads

Victoria Mindova 

French banks and firms would like to increase their influence in Greece. This has become clear after the visit of the French Minister of Finance Pierre Moscovici to Athens. He met with Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras, with Minister of Finance Yiannis Stournaras and Minister of Economy and Development Kostis Hatzidakis. After the meeting with Greek politicians, the French Minister said the country must act determinedly in this difficult period. He insisted that the government should introduce the fiscal consolidation and added that the process would be difficult, but necessary. France is ready to help by all means, but Greece must implement its obligations under the bailout agreement.

Moscovici’s meeting with his Greek counterparts has made it clear that France is interested in the privatization process in Greece. French firms would like to enter the Greek market and the privatization is a good opportunity to do so. As for the banking sector, the French Minister of Finance said that his country's banks were willing to support the Greek financial institutions. Concerning the withdrawal of Crédit Agricole from the Greek market through the sale of its stake in Emporiki Bank, Moscovici has made it clear that it was related to the internal reform of the French bank and was not the result of the macroeconomic instability in Greece triggered by the debt crisis.

"The talks with the Greek state suggest that there is a strong desire for a change and the key word is determination. What we want to achieve is implementation (of the obligations of Greece)," Moscovici said at a press conference in Athens.
Along with the visit of the French Minister of Economy and Finance, the President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer paid a visit to Athens as well. Greece signed an agreement for the payment of 1.44 billion euro by 2015 from the European Investment Bank. Under this agreement, the country will receive 750 million euro by the end of the year, a cash injection targeted at the real economy. A large portion of the funds will support mainly small and medium-sized enterprises and will be paid in instalments. Another part will fund the sectors of energy, waste management and water resources as well as major infrastructure projects across the country. The entire amount should be utilized in the next three years and by the end of 2013, Greece will have to put into circulation one billion euro of the money from the European Union and fund various projects.

"You will not find any international financial institution that is as active in Greece as the European Investment Bank. This will continue in the future," Werner Hoyer said.

Greece has to be determined right now, Kostas Hatzidakis repeated the words of the French Minister after the meeting. He added that Europe itself must show solidarity and help the country at this difficult time. "We need to stimulate economic growth and our European partners agree with this," the Greek Prime Minister said. On the subject of his meeting with his French counterpart, Hatzidakis stated that they had discussed the issues related to the fiscal consolidation, privatization and structural reforms.


Tags: Pierre MoscoviciCrеdit AgricoleEmporiki BankGreek marketFrench banksEconomic crisis
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