Interview of the Regional Governor of Attica, Ms Rena Dourou to the ‘Greece - China 2017, Year of Cultural Exchanges and Cooperation of Creative Industries’ website.
Extracts of the interview of the Governor:
- From the very first moment that we assumed responsibility for the Attica Region administration, we having been working in a way that an outward-looking orientation, an exchange of best practices, as well as multifaceted synergies are at the heart of our relations with the outside world. A choice that contributes to a peaceful, multidimensional, multilevel, active foreign policy to preserve and promote the country's interests. And we do this through a regional development strategy; through building bridges on the basis of mutual understanding and convergence of interests. Bridges related to the economy, investment, culture, tourism at both European and international level. This effort takes time; but we have started it and it is already underway.
- And this is just the beginning. Over the coming months, we are moving on to establishing new contacts and the signing of cooperation memoranda on tourism and business contacts. This is a process that’s in its early stages. It takes a lot more in order to say that things have really changed but we are working in this direction, which entails a lot of perspective as well as challenges for both sides.
- Attica can thus function as both a hub for economic and trade exchanges with the Middle East and South East Asia, as well as a European gateway in connection with these geo-economic entities. In this respect, we are dealing with the need to establish win - win relationships with all countries in these regions with a view to growth, job creation, stability and prosperity.
- The recovery of the country's economy goes through the attraction of investments that can contribute to a sustainable growth that creates jobs, respects the environment and the legislative framework. The political choices of the past did not work in this direction. Instead, they contributed to a distorted model of development, with feet of clay. Today, we are laying the foundations in order to reverse this situation. Greece, as a predominantly European, Balkan and Mediterranean country, can play a crucial role in economic and commercial terms, provided that the necessary reforms are promptly implemented in order to consolidate a stable and clear investment and fiscal framework that will function as a catalyst for attracting investments, not only from China but from all over the world.
- In the context of the new tourism strategy of Attica, we are moving towards creating the necessary conditions that will make Attica a major attraction for tourists from China and South-East Asia in general - this tourism market is a new terrain of activity. We know the peculiarities of this particular market and we are ‘packaging’ our tourist product accordingly.
- We are, as I have already noted, in the early stages of an ongoing process, which includes real estate, as well as tourism, commercial and cultural relations and contacts, all of which interact with one another. The whole constitutes a “package”, which the Region of Attica treats in a holistic way, with a sense of responsibility towards its specific characteristics.
- We need a clear framework of competences and functioning - hence the need for immediate reform of Kallikratis [the legal framework governing local administration in Greece] in order to know who does what, especially today, that the public debate on the revision of the Constitution is underway.
- Our objective is to get the Regions, through these processes, to acquire the competencies and resources required in order for them to play the key role already enjoyed by regions in European countries that stand out for their serious self-government traditions. Today, European regions can be the strongest “card” for Europe to function the way its citizens expect and demand.
The full interview of the Governor here