The conclusions about the promotion of business cooperations within the Mediterranean basin were presented by the Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Greek Industries and head of SEV International Dr Athanasae Lavidas
in the framework of the «Interministerial Development and Business Conference for the Countries of the Mediterranean Basin
» which took place in Athens
on February 4th, 2005
As Dr Lavidas emphasized the euro-mediterranean process, which started 10 years back in Barcelona, has not advanced satisfactorily despite the intentions, the initiatives and the programmes that have been implemented. More political will and determination is needed from both sides of the Mediterranean so that the existing potentials and opportunities can provide development and prosperity to the region.
The business communities from Greece and the other interested countries committed to lobby and network towards this direction, combining their forces with teamwork, consistency, planning and interaction to gain profits for local economies, the societies, the environment, the enterprises and their staff.
The strategic geopolitical position of Greece, the traditional good relations with the Arab world, the experience gained in european markets, the impressive presence in the Balkans, the new economic climate in post-Olympics Greece are competitive advantages which may stimulate and facilitate the entrance of greek companies in the Mediterranean markets. On the other side, the South Mediterranean Countries open up their economies, provide incentives, create a secure environment, improve the skills and capacities of the labor force and offer competitive production costs. More over, international companies may find of use the improved banking systems in these countries as well as fundings of the European Investment Bank.
The Greek business presence in the South markets lags behind potentials due to insufficient infrastructures, bureaucracy and red tape, complex legislative framework, state monopoly, protectionism of local industry and limited information.
The Governments of the South Mediterranean Countries are urged and expected to move faster in adopting structural reforms and taking measures to facilitate trade and investments.
Opening the discussions of the business panel, the member of SEV Executive Committee Mrs Dimitra Mitrogiannopoulou, mentioned the burdens impeding cooperations between northern and southern countries as well as between the countries of south. She underlined the importance of liberalizing gradually critical economics sectors such as transports, ICT, energy, financial and services as well as the need for powerful and influential Business Organizations and the necessity for modern economic diplomacy to be delivered by Embassies and Commercial Counsellors.
She also referred to expectations of enterprises for more active embassies and commercial offices as well as strengthened and capable Business Organizations.
Pointing out the which has been showed so far by several SEV members in redirecting trade and investment plans towards Southern Mediterranean markets, she invited enterprises and representative Federations from south countries to benefit from SEV International’s support services, networking and lobbying capacity.
Summarizing the proceedings of the business panel, Dr Lavidas brought up a pivotal message: «if we endorse the spirit of Lisbon strategy to the euro-mediterranean cooperation, then it is possible to realize the vision of establishing a Free Trade Zone by the year 2012, so that the peoples of the Mediterranean may live in prosperity enjoying more employment, social justice, friendship and peace».