George Provopoulos, governor of the Bank of Greece. (Photo/Xinhua)
Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos reaffirmed on Monday the great potential for further cooperation between Greece and China on several fronts, including the banking sector, calling on Chinese entrepreneurs to explore investment opportunities in Greece.
"Relations between the two countries are well advancing year after year. There is quite a lot of scope for further improving our relations in all fronts and I am quite optimistic that this will happen," Provopoulos said in an interview with Xinhua at the Bank's headquarters in Athens on the prospects of the Greek economy.
He suggested focusing on areas of the Greek economy which are expected to expand fast in coming years, such as tourism, one of the traditional pillars of the Greek economy, real estate, agriculture, commercial business ties, and the financial sector as well.
Big Greek banks have a systemic presence outside Greece in a number of countries in the Balkan area, so they are regional banks, not national banks, an aspect which can be quite valuable for Chinese banking institutions seeking a presence in southeastern Europe, he argued.
Pointing to the presence of China Ocean Shipping (Group) at the port of Piraeus as a good example of a Chinese company successfully operating in Greece, Provopoulos called on Chinese businesses to grab the opportunity to benefit from the projected improvement of the Greek economy by investing soon.
The central bank chief expressed optimism that debt-ridden Greece, which has been struggling since 2010, will be able to advance again once the ongoing fiscal adjustment and structural reform program bears fruit.
He called on China to support this process to the benefit of both countries and peoples, stressing the common characteristics which link the two nations.
"We Greeks love Chinese people, maybe because we share a very long history behind us. We are people with a strong, rich history and you know very well that countries with histories behind them are better equipped to address crises, which by their nature are short-term or medium-term phenomena," Provopoulos noted.
"We have been able, as Greeks, to withstand even more difficult situations in the past. This is a temporary crisis we are going through and I am sure that in the coming years Greece will move ahead and be as prosperous as it was in the past," he said.