Industrialists, government lock horns over the economy

Industrialists, government lock horns over the economy

Athens, October 3, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

An unprecedented feud has broken out between Greek deputy Economy Minister in charge of Industry, Theodora Tzakri, and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).

SEV President, Theodoros Fessas, argued over the weekend that many government ministers oppose privatizations and investment in the country.

In an interview with the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper, Fessas said ruling Syriza promotes an ideology and economic model that “died in 1989”. The president of the Federation of Enterprises spoke in favor of a smaller State and urged main opposition New Democracy to change too.

“The political personnel [of New Democracy], its officials, are used to managing a big State and they do not want to lose this great field of influence and power” he said.

The deputy minister holding the Industry portfolio, Theodora Tzakri, responded by saying that the SEV president has launched “an improper and unethical attack” on the government. She said Fessas is acting like a spokesman for New Democracy and “using his institutional position for his own benefit”.

Tzakri escalated her attack adding that “the kind of entrepreneurship that Mr. Fessas represents along with a small of businessmen around him only blooms in corrupt and rotten environments”.

SEV went on to issue an official announcement calling the “attack by the deputy Economy Minister on the Federation and its president both offensive and completely unfounded”.

SEV defended its role in the Greek economy by pointing out that “it is not anybody’s mouthpiece. Its mission is to grow the national economy, businesses and workers without taking into account if it is not likeable by political parties”.

In its latest report on the Greek economy, SEV notes that it shares the International Monetary Fund view that reducing taxes is a boost the Greek economy needs. The industrialists add that debt relief is obviously desirable, but it is not a substitute for bringing order to the Greek economy.

According to SEV, bad macroeconomic policies are responsible for sending Greece down to 86th place on the World Economic Forum report on global competitiveness for 2016-2017 compared to 81st place last year.