Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), is paying his first official visit to Greece since the Bank started investing in the country last year.
In Athens Sir Suma met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos, Minister of Economy and EBRD Governor George Stathakis, Governor of the Bank of Greece Yannis Stournaras and the Mayor of Athens, George Kaminis.
The EBRD President said: “We are determined to make a significant contribution to Greece’s recovery and my visit today will provide us with first-hand insight into the most urgent tasks. In the first months since we started operating in Greece we have made good progress in laying the foundations for strong delivery. The most important thing now is to act in order to mobilise investment, strengthen the private sector and deepen regional integration.”
During his stay the President is also meeting local and international business representatives and chairing a roundtable with banks. Sir Suma will also officially open the EBRD Representative Office in Athens. The office has a staff of eight and is lead by Sabina Dziurman, the Regional Director for Greece and Cyprus.
In his speech at the office inauguration, Sir Suma will set out the Bank’s strategic priorities for its work in Greece. “Getting the right policies in place, strengthening institutions, making sure that reforms work in the long-term and that they are supported by real leadership, not just in the political sphere but across the board, are going to be vital,” he will say.
During the visit the President will also sign an agreement with National Bank of Greece to provide a facility under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme. Integrating Greek companies and banks into international trade is seen as vital for the recovery of the economy.
Following a decision by its shareholders the EBRD started investing in Greece last year on a temporary basis until 2020. To date, the Bank has already invested €320 million in six projects and is currently working with the authorities in a country strategy that will define the Bank’s activities for the period until 2020.