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Newsletter December 2013


Greece: Significant Improvement in Ease of Doing Business

Greece rose to the 72nd position in the World Bank's Doing Business annual ranking report for 2014, up from 89th in 2013.

The report measures how easy it is to set up and run a business in 189 countries globally. The ranking was based on 10 indicators or topics and include considerations of how easy it is to set up a new business, how long it takes and what the start-up costs are.

Greece's highest ranking is in the categories for ease of starting a business (36, from 147 in 2013) and in trading across borders (52). It also showed a significant rise in the category of protecting investors (80, from 113 in 2013).

“This year, we see a higher number of reforms – 18% more – the second-highest number since the financial crisis,” said Rita Ramalho, program manager for Doing Business at the World Bank Group.

“This pick-up in pace of regulatory reform is good news particularly for small and medium-size businesses – the main job creators in many parts of the world.”

Singapore and Hong Kong stand at the top of the Doing Business list of the 10 most business-friendly places in the world.

Rwanda, Russian Federation, and Philippines are among the most improved economies, according to the survey.

Europe and Central Asia has overtaken East Asia and the Pacific over time as the second most business-friendly after the OECD economies.

October 29, 2013 | (Source:
October 30, 2013 | (Source: ANA)

Shipping Remains Key Growth Driver Amidst Debt Crisis: Survey
Greek shipping remains a key growth driver for Greece's economy amidst the severe debt crisis, making the greatest contribution after the tourism industry, according to a BCG survey presented on October 15 in Athens.

The Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) survey on the impact of Greek shipping on the Greek economy and society states that with more than 4,000 ships today, the Greek-owned fleet ranks first in the world in total capacity, representing 16 percent of worldwide cargo capacity.

The direct contribution of the core Greek maritime cluster is estimated to be 7.6 billion Euro (10.3 billion U.S. dollars), representing 3.5% of Greek GDP.

The total contribution of the shipping cluster, according to BCG's estimates, is 13.4 billion Euro, or 6% of Greek GDP (2010 data).

Tourism contributed 16.4% to the country's GDP in 2012, according to the latest official figures, generating about 10 billion Euros (13.3 billion U.S. dollars) in direct revenue.

As Greece experienced the deepest economic crisis since World War II over the past three years, with Greek GDP having contracted by a quarter since 2009, the contribution of the Greek shipping industry in recent years has remained stable, indicating that it may amount to 7% in 2013. Greek shipping employs approximately 165,000 people, which represents 3.5% of the total workforce.

The potential for further contribution to efforts for economic recovery is great, according to the study.

"Shipping constitutes one of the sectors where Greece has a global competitive advantage. We can say that the average operational cost of the Greek-owned fleet is 23% more competitive than the global average," Camille Egloff-Ghicas, Head of BCG Shipping Practice for Southeastern Europe said during the presentation.

"This is an important message signaling that additional investments in the sector can be attracted; this is a key priority for the economic recovery," she added.

"The results demonstrate that shipping can be a main lever for growth, supporting the Greek economy in terms of liquidity, employment, contribution to GDP and investments in shipping as well as in many other sectors of the economy, as it has done in the past," BCG's head in Greece Vassilis Antoniadis said.


Key Energy Projects—EC
The European Commission adopted a list of some 250 key energy infrastructure projects, known as "projects of common interest" (PCI) which will benefit from accelerated licensing procedures and improved regulatory conditions and may have access to financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility, under which a 5.85 billion Euro budget that has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-20.

The European Commission, in a statement, said that this will help them get implemented faster and make them more attractive to investors. Once completed, the projects will help Member States to integrate their energy markets, enable them to diversify their energy sources, and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also enable the grid to uptake increasing amounts of renewables, and consequently help reduce CO2 emissions.

Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "We have to make sure that our limited funds are used wisely and that EU money goes where it can create most benefits to European consumers. With this list of energy infrastructure projects and their accompanying benefits, we also hope to attract more investors."

The list includes up to 140 projects in the field of electricity transmission and storage, about 100 projects in the field of gas transmission, storage and LNG, and several oil and smart grids projects. The projects will benefit from a number of advantages:

• accelerated planning and permit granting procedures (binding three-and-a-half-years' time limit)

• a single national competent authority will act as a one-stop-shop for permit granting procedures

• less administrative cost for the project promoters and authorities due to a more streamlined environmental assessment procedure, whilst respecting the requirements of EU law

• increased transparency and improved public participation

• increased visibility and attractiveness for investors thanks to an enhanced regulatory framework where costs are allocated to the countries that benefit most from a completed project

• possibility to receive financial support under the Connecting Europe Facility. This will play a key role in leveraging the necessary private and public funding, and possible financing can come in as early as 2014.

For a project to be included in the list it must have significant benefits for at least two Member States; contribute to market integration and further competition; enhance security of supply; and reduce CO2 emissions.

The Commission will monitor closely the implementation of the permit granting measures and the construction of the projects. Finally, the list of PCIs will be updated every two years with the aim to integrate newly needed projects and remove obsolete ones.

In Greece, the European Commisssion selected the folowing eight projects:

• the electric power link between Greece-Bulgaria (Eastern Maritsa-Nea Santa)

• the link between Israel-Cyprus-Greece (Hadera, Israel-Attica)

• the hydroelectric plant in Amfilohia, western Greece

• the link between Komotini-Stara Zagora (natural gas)

• the LNG (natural gas) storage plants in Alexandroupoli and Kavala

• interventions on the existing pipelines on the Greek-Bulgarian border, between Koula-Sidirokastro

• interventions in the plants at Kipi, as well as the pipeline between Greece and Italy (ITGI)

• the undersea natural gas pipeline between Israel-Cyprus-Greece via Crete

October 14, 2013