The German head of the European parliament, Martin Schulz (SPD) proposed the setting up of special economic zones in Greece to boost the country’s economy suffering from dramatic recession. In an interview with the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, Schulz said that in order to succeed, the plant required Greek readiness to implement reforms and a favorable investment climate in the country.
Schulz explained his vision of “Greek economic growth” with the establishment of a so-called “Growth Agency” consisting of EU officials and Greek politicians.
Growth-Plan: Special Economic Zones to rescue Greece
Greece has enacted a rigorous austerity program, but the country also needs a strategy to get the economy back on growth track. Martin Schulz (SPD), President of the European Parliament, wants to protect Greece from the crash with investment programs and concurrent EU control. Cuts alone would not bring growth, Schulz said in a SPIEGEL interview, “so I’m looking for a special economic zone in Greece.”
For it, a “Growth Agency” should be created, Schulz demands. In this agency, European and Greek politicians should jointly identify promoting eligible projects and control the cash flows. “This is a piece of control, but also mutual trust,” said the SPD politician. The Greek government would have to accept that European officials implement reforms on Greek soil. “But these [EU officials] are not hostile occupying force, but auxiliary instrument.” Prerequisite for this SEZ is a commitment to the euro in Greece, a willingness to reform in Athens and investment allowances for companies that invest in Greece.
The idea of Special Economic Zones is being favorite by the Greek government as well that has already submitted a relevant request to EU-Commission. Target is to win investors with low contributions [or even taxes?] and less bureaucracy. Proposed regions are the south of Crete and Peloponnese. From there, products would be delivered to European market. (SPIEGEL)
The plan of Martin Schulz sounds in my ears like a nice “economic growth bubble” for internal German consumption for his social-democrat friends.
Where will the funding comes for the SEZ? Schulz does not elaborate. He may not even know about financial funding finesses. For example, European Funding for Cohesion Policy (ESPA in Greek) does not allow control by the EU as to where and how the money will be spent on national level. Schulz did not elaborate as well about who will control the “Growth-Agency”.
Really mean Greeks – and possible other mean EU-citizens – would raise objection and express suspicion that worth-promoting investment projects would be the ones submitted by relatives and friends and friends of friends of Agency members. A common practice at least in the European South and possible in the North as well.
Martin Schulz also forgot to mention the funds needed for the adequate infrastructure of SEZs like ports, airports and transport highways. Oops! I almost forgot that ports and airports are about to privatized if Greece sticks to Troika program.
Is it coincidence that Samaras’ origin is from south Peloponnese, and some of Nea Dimocratia high ranking officials come from Crete?
PS United they go, alone we fall – HA!