Last updated: 6 March, 2013

Qatari officials in Greece for investment talks

Officials from Qatar’s global investment arm will hold talks in crisis-hit Greece on Wednesday, the development ministry said.

Greece has long sought to entice Qatari investment in real estate development to jumpstart its flagging construction industry, traditionally one of the main engines of its economy.

The energy-rich Gulf emirate in January announced during a visit by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that it planned to invest up to a billion euros ($1.3 billion) in a joint fund with Athens to bolster recession-hit Greek industry.

Ahmad Al-Sayed, chief executive of Qatar Holding, will on Wednesday jointly chair a newly-founded committee of cooperation with Greek deputy development minister Notis Mitarachi.

The emirate has also rejoined a public bidding competition to develop the former Athens airport, one of the prized sites of Greece’s privatisation drive.

Earlier this week it was reported that the emir of Qatar had purchased the privately-owned Ionian Sea islet of Oxia.

The local mayor told Greek media that the emir had paid 4.9 million euros for Oxia and another 3.9 million for five neighbouring islets and wanted to build a palace.

“But they’re going to run into trouble over permits… life can be made difficult for investors,” said mayor Yiannis Kassianos, referring to Greece’s stifling state bureaucracy.

Oxia lies a short distance from the western port of Astakos, the site of a now shelved Qatari-funded energy investment project.