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Greece targets to invest in green development program

Oct 22, 2010 - Xinhua

Greece aims to secure investments up to 44 billion euros (60.9 billion U.S. dollars) and create 200, 000 new job positions by 2015 in green development projects, said on Wednesday Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili in Athens.

Addressing a forum organized by Economist on the theme of the green agenda after Copenhagen, Birbili presented the main points of the Greek government's plan to boost economic development in the debt-ridden country, based on a new environmental friendly model.

"The Greek government chose to support our efforts to exit the economic crisis through a new green development model," said Birbili, referring to the acute crisis that led Greece to the brink of default this spring.

In regards to the Greek strategic plan to turn to green economy, she explained that it focuses on lowering carbon emissions through investments on renewable energy sources, the sustainable management of natural sources, the improvement of quality of daily life and the enhancement of environmental governance.

Noting that the main question today is not whether Greece or other countries around the globe should combine development with respect to the environment, but how quickly they should act, Birbili added that during 2008-2009 one out of six aid packages to support the international economy, approximately 3 trillion euros ( 4.1 trillion U.S. dollars), was focused on green development actions.

Calling on all countries to take more steps against climate change after last year's conference in Copenhagen and ahead of the forthcoming meeting in Mexico, Birbili stressed that EU member countries are not willing to engage in more action, until the U.S., China and developing economies will also agree to obligatory targets.

"The priority today is a commitment on a global level to address climate change," said Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Spyros Kouvelis during the same Economist forum talking about the ways countries in South-East Europe tackle the climate change.

"The Black Sea turns green," noted Kouvelis, referring to the Greek government's initiative to boost collaboration on environmental protection in the region. Greece holds the rotating presidency of Black Sea Economic Cooperation since July and organizes a ministerial forum aiming at a joint declaration on Nov. 26.

On Oct. 22 Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou hosts in Athens a forum on another Greek initiative concerning the climate change in the Mediterranean. Prime ministers of the area, such as Turkish Recep Tayip Erdogan and Palestinian Salam Fayyad are expected to attend.

Kouvelis also referred during his address to the decision of two state-run companies of Qatar to quit a consortium which planned a major 3.5 billion euro ( 4.86 billion U.S. dollars) energy project in Greece to construct a power complex at the western Greece port of Astakos and export electricity.

On bilateral level all the necessary procedures to obtain licenses were made, stressed Kouvelis, adding that problems occurred on private level with Italian clients over the price of the product.

The development is regarded by local analysts as a blow to Greek government's efforts to attract foreign investments.

Greek government spokesman George Petalotis reassured on Wednesday that the issue will not complicate a bilateral deal between Greece and Qatar signed this September in the U.S. to lay the ground for Qatari investments of up to 5 billion euros (6.94 billion U.S. dollars) in Greece.