The Greek-German Representative Assembly (DGV) will reach out to the Greek communities in Germany over the coming period in order to encourage new business partnerships and cooperation, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Hans-Joachim Fuchtel said in an interview given and published on Wednesday.
According to Fuchtel, who has been the German chancellor’s envoy to the DGV since 2011, this will involve the organization of events in the German states, where there are many expatriate Greeks, in collaboration with the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece and Greek economy ministry officials.
The online platform ‘Pro Greece’ will be employed to encourage the formation of such partnerships, Fuchtel said, with constant monitoring by the Greek-German Chamber of Trade and Industry. The platform was created by the chamber five years ago to allow requests for the supply or demand in all areas of business interest and encourage such cooperation.
“Interest has already been expressed by entrepreneurs in the sector of gastronomy, who want to become active in Greek airports,” Fuchtel said, adding that the DGV hopes to raise interest in the new Greek economic programmes in this way.
He noted that the DGV was a fully original idea in Europe, noting that the first years were dedicated to setting up its structure while now there was extremely close cooperation between Greeks and Germans for an exchange of know-how that was groundbreaking for Europe.
“Through this cooperation, we learned that Europe must return to its roots, which are in local government. The active participation of local government makes Europe stronger and links it to its base. In my view, this is the future of Europe,” he said.
The focus now was on creating jobs through economic growth, he added, in collaboration with local government, with the DGV currently handling 50 active partnerships for exchanging know-how and as many more currently being prepared.
Asked to name the most ambitious project implemented by the DGV so far, Fuchtel cited the switch to LED light bulbs in street lighting as an example, noting that five municipalities have participated up to now and nine more applications were pending. He said that 24,000 light bulbs had been fitted, an investment amounting to 10.5 million euros, while the implementation of the plan in Greece was projected to generate 500 million euros in savings over five years.
He also noted a plan to help Greek municipalities tackle loss of water from the water supply network through improved technology and repair of leaks, pointing out that such projects were largely self-funding through the savings they generated, as well as creating jobs.
Another major field of action, he added, was the process of digitalization.