John Calamos, the chairman and CEO of Calamos Investments, urged Greeks to make Greece the “Florida” of Europe. Calamos was one of the main speakers at a conference organized by The Economist magazine in Athens, Greece.
“Greece has substantial advantages in attracting investors at this time,” said the Greek-American who also reaffirmed that the Greek tourism sector is very appealing to foreign investors.
John Calamos stressed the need to have a more active private sector in Greece, and argued that the public sector is present everywhere, “something that must change.” He added that the country’s role is to facilitate investments in order to create more job positions and urged the State to “play the role of the arbitrator and not the investor in economic matters.”
“Greece could be an investor base for Europe, however, the reform process needs to continue,” he said.
As for the lack of funding, Calamos compared the current situation of Greek banks to the situation of the US banks in 1980. He favored the use of financial markets, “given that banks can not lend money to make the necessary investments.”
Finally, Calamos appeared confident that the changes made in the stock market are encouraging the participation of investors in capital-enhancing moves.
“The area of Ellinikon is a diamond in the rough,” said Odysseas Athanasiou, the head of Lamda Development, speaking at the same conference.
Athanasiou also stated that “it is probably the only area in Europe that combines a large metropolitan seaside park, within the urban planning of a European capital and with an ideal climate.”
The conference covered a wide array of topics including: lessons to be learnt from EU members states on economic recovery, restructuring the Greek economy, privatization schemes and investment, finance, energy, tourism, shipping, business, technology and innovation.