Newsletter View

Newsletter December 2013

HIGHLIGHT

Invest in Greece Ombudsman Presents 6-Month Report

Invest in Greece Agency CEO Stephanos Issaias presented the first progress report of the Invest in Greece Ombudsman at a press event in Athens.

The Invest in Greece Ombudsman, established and launched in April 2013, is designed to facilitate the investment procedure in an equitable and impartial process by mediating during the licensing process in which specific bureaucratic obstacles, delays, disputes or other difficulties arise (related to services rendered by the State) that lead to intractable differences, deadlocks, standstills or similar difficulties regarding the investment project.

The Vice Minister for Development and Competitiveness, Notis Mitarachi, opened the press conference on November 7, 2013. In his opening remarks he said “... I strongly believe that, along with vision and the introduction of new initiatives, we must also monitor and track their progress. Because if you cannot measure something, you cannot manage it. Our goal for this new institution was and remains to stand by those who we consider to be the driving force of the real economy—private investors:  [to be] facilitators, supporters, and mediators in their relationship with the public sector; to provide [private investors] which another high quality tool which will support them in their endeavours”.

Invest in Greece CEO Stephanos Issaias then presented the six-month activity report of the Ombudsman. He said that through this very valuable service we “give a human face to the public administration through the account managers who are responsible for each case, and provide an effective tool to deal with what are perhaps the main barriers to investment in Greece: obstacles, bureaucracy, and  complexity”.

The main conclusions of the six-month activity report of the Ombudsman are:
• The Ombudsman handled 36 cases. Of these, 26 were resolved, and 10 are still being processed. 
• Of the 26 resolved cases, 19 were resolved in favour of the investor (73%), and 7 were rejected (27%). It should be noted that even in the cases which were rejected, the fact that the case was resolved is in itself an important and substantial development for the investors, as opposed to the extensive, and occasionally indefinite, delays that they were facing.
• The majority of the Ombudsman’s cases were from the tourism and real estate sector, accounting for 36% of the cases, food and energy production each account for 14% of the cases, technology 11%, 5% of the cases were in the production of construction materials, and 6% of the cases in retail. The remaining 14% of the cases were from a variety of sectors, such as manufacturing shipping and mining, each with a very small percentage.
• The follow-up survey for those who used the service indicates a very high level of satisfaction with the Ombudsman. The responsiveness rate of the Ombudsman and the level of professionalism were rated from excellent to very satisfactory (89% of the cases), and 9 out of 10 investors responded that it is highly likely or very likely that they will use the Ombudsman service again.  

The presentations by three companies from the private sector that used the service of the Ombudsman were especially valuable. Representatives of the companies presented their experience in using this service, and all three positively endorsed the Ombudsman, saying that they will use the service again if similar issues arise. 

Arturo Danesi, representing MEDITERRANEAN NAUTILUS, discussed the expansion of the company’s data centre in Metamorfosi, Attica. Mr Danesi presented the significant activities of his company in Greece, and stressed the importance of Greece as a base for the provision of cloud services to South Eastern Europe. He also noted the company’s intention to use Greece as a centre for the distribution of green energy to the wider region. Through the expansion of the company, they are experiencing a 10% increase in their staff and human resources, and Mr Danesi said that that company is hiring exclusively from Greece. Finally, he said “we want to expand more in Greece, and we will certainly come back to Invest in Greece and the Ombudsman”.

Gerasimos Kavadas, representing VENETIS S.A., mentioned the “quick cooperation and understanding of the problems of the company, in only one meeting with the Ombudsman—without losing time”. He also noted the important benefits and strengths of the service, and expressed the need for the Ombudsman to become more widely known to investors and the public sector services. 

Michalis Amirides, representing RIALA S.A. referred to the “solid, fast and effective response” of the Ombudsman, and he described the service as a “pleasant oasis” in the interactions with the public administration. He concluded by saying “I want to recommend this service to other investors... since it is a unique effort to eliminate obstacles”.

To use the service, investors should submit a special request to Invest in Greece regarding the problem they are facing with State services and State actors. All investments of at least two million Euro are eligible for this service. The service is provided free of charge.

Information regarding the Invest in Greece Ombudsman is available at www.investingreece.gov.gr, where interested investors may send a request for a meeting with the Ombudsman. Meeting requests may also be submitted over the phone, by calling (+30) 210 335 5770.