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Newsletter October 2012


New Bill for Strategic and Private Investments

In its efforts to become more business friendly, Greece has introduced a new bill designed to enhance its investment framework and attract FDI.

On October 3, 2012, Minister of Development Kostis Hatzidakis and Deputy Minister of Development Notis Mitarachi presented “Creation of a Business Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments,” the new bill for Strategic and Private Investments in Greece.

The bill, which is currently under public consultation, is within the framework of Greece’s programme for structural reforms and its commitments to its partners—the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank.

With this bill, the government is proactively building on the positive characteristics of the previous legal framework while introducing new, innovative elements designed to create a new investment environment, one that is more business friendly and that provides to investors a wider range of investment tools.

The key objectives of the bill are to accelerate and simplify the procedures to attract and implement investment plans; to reinforce transparency and the overall auditing procedures; to remove obstacles to investments and provide more investment incentives; to restore and develop the Attica coastline; to boost liquidity in the market available for SMEs; and to improve the institutional framework for the establishment and operation of seaports for air transport.

To achieve these objectives, Greece is focusing on and promoting a variety of initiatives:
1. The significant enhancement of the Investment Law to meet the needs emerging from current economic conditions; the support of small- and medium-size investments by providing them with substantial tax incentives and the allowance for advance payment of up to 100% of grants with a letter of guarantee. In addition, following the completion of the assessment stage of an investment, the law provides investors with the option to select one of two auditing procedures in the realisation of the investment. Option one is to be audited by the new Independent Auditing Department of the Ministry of Development; option two is to be audited by other certified institutions.

2. The establishment of a Central Licensing Authority, whose purpose is to accelerate the licensing procedure for investments (apart from Strategic investments) of more than two million Euro.

3. The acceleration of the licensing procedure through self-assessment of the investor via his/her own declarations and statements of responsibility. This covers a wide range and categories of investment. To this end, the application and the documents of the investor’s folder will be deemed as valid and true and will be approved based on the investor’s responsibility. In any instance where such statements or declarations are found being inaccurate, the approval is subject to change.

4. The improvement of the licensing procedures and the clarification of regulations for the establishment, operation and exploitation of waterways for use as seaports for air transport.

5. The introduction of a new financial tool, SPV, in line with international best practices, in the development process of public real estate.

The new bill also allows for the simplification of the entire investment cycle vis a vis Invest in Greece, which is to operate as the sole contact point with investors.

In his statements regarding the new bill, which is seen as a major step forward by Greece in positioning itself to the international investment community, Notis Mitarachi, Deputy Minister of Development said, “Today, we are taking an important step to regain the confidence of markets and investors towards our country.” 

The bill, which is under public consultation, is currently available only in Greek, which may be viewed here.