Institutions such as the Hellenic Development Bank, which is soon to be founded under draft legislation recently unveiled for public consultation, are necessary for planning growth, Economy and Development Minister Yiannis Dragasakis said on Thursday, speaking at the 4th Delphi Economic Forum.
International experience has shown that targeted growth requires both a plan and institutions that will serve it, Dragasakis said, noting that the foundation of a Greek development bank “shows that in Greece we are making major reforms”.
The minister said that the bank will go into operation as soon as it is founded so that no time is lost, and was “already operating informally” since it would evolve from the existing Hellenic Fund for Entrepreneurship & Development S.A. but with added momentum and prospects.
Dragasakis noted that the programmes that already underway or under development amount to some 5.0 billion euros that will start to be channeled into the economy. He expressed hope that, once the Bank was founded, these sums will be leveraged and multiply through collaboration with other agencies with which the government was currently in talks, such as the European Investment Bank or the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The minister said the the new bank will finance Greece’s economy, such as through investments in start-ups, and act as Greece’s “ambassador” in capital markets, while its Thessaloniki branch will support cooperation and joint development in the Balkans.
He also noted its role in reducing regional inequalities, especially in northern Greece, and highlighted the support given by European authorities in its foundation, especially that of the French Development Bank and the French ambassador. He expressed hope that the draft law for its foundation will be universally accepted by the political parties in parliament, forecasting that the bill will become law by April at the latest.