As a member-state of the European Union and the Eurozone, Greece should have no need of a precautionary credit line, new memorandums or new financial assistance programmes when the current programme ends in the summer, Netherlands Ambassador to Greece Caspar Veldkamp said on Monday.
The Dutch envoy was speaking at the Orange Grove during the presentation of Ethos Media’s 2nd Hellenic Innovation Forum taking place in June.
“Greece will exit the bailout program in August. We hope to see Greece standing on its own feet by then. I expect that a precautionary credit line will not be needed,” he said.
Greece needs to focus on further boosting its competitiveness, which will in turn improve a number of areas, Veldkamp said. He noted that many products in Greece were more expensive than in the Netherlands, even though wages were lower, stressing the need to break up cartels and restrictions on free trade.
“To continue on a growth path, reforms should be sustained. Not only on paper, but also in practice. The economy needs to increase competitiveness. For example, Greece is ranking at position 87 in the Global Competitiveness index, below such countries as Ukraine and Algeria. This is not good enough for a country in the Eurozone,” he explained.
The Dutch ambassador also highlighted the importance of reforms for foreign investors, noting that their significance was not just symbolic but had practical value for Greece, especially with respect to the land registry and spatial planning issues, for companies interested in setting up factories in the country.
“An investor who wants to build a new factory would rather go to Portugal or Slovakia if a well-functioning land registry is not present in Greece by 2020,” he added, noting that the Netherlands is willing to help the country in its efforts.
The ambassador also stressed the importance of ownership of the reforms “by Greece’s political class, government and opposition alike.”
The Netherlands, which currently ranks third worldwide in the Global Innovation Index, will be the honoured country in the 2nd Hellenic Innovation Forum taking place in Athens on June 19-20, which will focus on ways to encourage innovation.