Economy Minister Papadimitriou: Investing in innovation a top priority for the government

The Greek government aims to support investments in innovation, in sectors producing added value, with emphasis on startups to stop a brain drain phenomenon. “This is a top priority for the government,” Economy and Development Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou said on Friday.

Speaking in Florina, Papadimitriou presented the government’s main pylons of a new growth model for the country, adding that the existing growth model was based on loans and consumption. “It was an easy way but a deception since we are now paying these loans more expensively,” he added. He underlined that the three pylons of a new growth model were based “on creating a productive model for products and services of high added value and knowledge, strengthening extroversion of enterprises, a necessary goal because of a chronic deficit in the trade balance, promoting partnerships between enterprises to create value chains allowing small enterprises to obtain a critical mass to access international markets improving the Greek economy’s position in the international labour market”.

He expressed his optimism that 2017 will be the first real year of exiting an economic crisis and the first growth year for the economy and noted that all evidence showed an increase in exports, a spectacular rise in tourist arrivals, an expanding industrial production, higher retail sales, corporate bank deposits and a rising attraction of foreign investments, all showing a change in course.

Papadimitriou asked for the cooperaion of all municipal authorities for the success of the country’s new development plan and noted that the privatization and modernization of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, investments on national roads and the railroad network, will positively affect Western Macedonia, an exit gat to the Balkans and Europe.

He said that a total of 13 projects, worth 16.7 million euros have been included from Florina prefecture and acknowledged that Western Macedonia has the highest unemployment rate in all of Europe. He noted that employment support programs promoted by the government will help young unemployment and long-term unemployed people in the region.