Greece names Nobel economics laureate to seek growth areas

ATHENS, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Greece’s economy has great growth potential but more reforms, new infrastructure and strong political will are necessary, Nobel prize winner Sir Christopher Pissarides said on Tuesday.

The British-Cypriot professor, who shared the 2010 Nobel economics prize with two other recipients, has specialised in the economics of unemployment, growth policies and structural reform.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis picked Pissarides to chair a committee tasked with drafting a long-term growth strategy for the country which emerged from its third international bailout in 2018 after a decade-long debt crisis.

Pissarides told Mitsotakis that he took on the task because “Greece has suffered more than it should in the past 10 years”. The plan, he said, will be ready in September.

He said Greece had big growth potential in energy and environment, tourism, food and agriculture, manufacturing, transport and logistics, innovation, education and culture.

“There are certainly good prospects for growth, but work towards reforms and new infrastructure is needed. Political will is needed and it is there,” he said.

Mitsotakis said that an economic strategy which corresponds to the necessity to protect the environment could help heal Greece’s economic woes: high public debt, low productivity and low investment funding.

“These are long-term challenges that will be dealt with, not issues that a magic wand can solve,” Mitsotakis said. (Reporting by Renee Maltezou)