A substantial review of the conditions and the serious risks and opportunities posed by the pandemic, domestically and globally, was made by three leading players in the banking and business sector in an online public discussion organized by the Ideas Circle, an initiative on the pandemic, the effects on the economy and the prospects for Greece.
The discussion coordinated by former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos on "The pandemic and the resilience of the Greek economy - The next day", with the participation of Fokion Karavias, CEO of Eurobank, Evangelos Mytilineos, President and CEO of MYTILINEOS and Giannis Retsos, President of SETE, CEO Electra Hotels & Resorts.
Karavias 20,000 companies meet the borrowing criteria
Karavias stressed in introductory remarks that the recession will remain in single digits - according to his estimates, reaching 8%. The banking system proceeded very quickly to finance mainly companies, initially independently and then participating in state support programs, which also mobilize private funds, ie bank funds. At the same time, banks took immediate action help customers by suspending their obligation to repay liabilities. "The perimeter of the suspensions reach 20 billion euros, while we took - Eurobank took this initiative - special measures for the long-term suspension of obligations for tourism companies," he said.
Responding to criticism that assistance provided by banks reached a very small number of businesses, he stressed that in the end, this is the real number of companies that meet the European and banking criteria and that these are the companies that are employers in the private sector and have a maximum contribution to GDP.
Mytilineos: We should draw up a national recovery plan
"The crisis we are experiencing is a unique opportunity for reforms and the government must grab it by the horns," said Evangelos Mytilineos, President and CEO of MYTILINEOS. As Mr. Mytilineos said, five months after the outbreak of the pandemic we are still in uncharted waters, but the conditions will lead to a clean out of businesses and a new business-economic skeleton
Referring to the Recovery Fund mechanism, Mytilineos stressed that "Brussels has not yet reached key points on the Recovery Fund mechanism and is pressuring countries to submit their plans. Greece should not wait for Brussels to define the general principles because I believe that they, with the negotiation that will follow, will be very late. "So we have to draw up a national plan and move forward with it, even if it is not fully funded by Europe in the end," he stressed.
Retsos: Next year tourism will acquire 50% of business seen in 2019
In starting his speech, Giannis Retsos, President of SETE, CEO of Electra Hotels & Resorts, stressed that we are in the same phase as in April. He underlined that the government and companies "read correctly the developments for the opening of tourism". The conservative forecast for the total income from tourism this year is that it will fall to 3 billion euros, while according to a good scenario, next year 50% of 2019 figures will be recovered.
According to Retsos, the tourism industry should see the Recovery Fund as an opportunity and companies should try to secure funds from it in order to create a new, reformed Greek tourism product in the post-covid era. "I am pessimistic about the immediate future. In the next 3-6 months we will see things get even worse, but with the right interventions from 2022 onwards, Greece can recover extremely well in terms of tourism and emerge as an even bigger player before the pandemic," he said.