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Newsletter November 2014

ANALYSIS

Greece Improves in World Bank’s “Doing Business” Report
A new World Bank Group report finds that Greece’s standing on the ease of doing business continues to improve. With the report’s expansion of several indicator sets and change in the ranking system factored in, Greece’s doing business rank is now 61. This reflects a regulatory framework for local entrepreneurs that is gradually aligning itself with other OECD high-income economies.
 
Released on October 29, Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency shows that Greece made registering property easier by reducing the property transfer tax and eliminating the requirement for a municipal tax clearance certificate.

The reform enabled the country to record the most progress globally in the registering property indicator. Last year, Greece was the top improver globally in starting a business in 2012/13.
 
In addition to property registration, Greece made business incorporation easier over the past year by lowering  registration costs so that starting a business now costs 2.2 percent of income per capita, down from 32.5 percent a decade ago. In addition, Greece strengthened legal institutions by introducing an electronic filling system for court users.
 
“Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain—all among the economies most adversely affected by the global financial crisis—have maintained a steady pace of regulatory reforms,” said Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for the Europe & Central Asia Region. “Such reforms can help restore economic growth. In Greece, for instance, by easing business incorporation in the past year, entrepreneurial ideas are now more likely to florish and create local employment opportunities.”
 
Since 2005, the Doing Business project shows that Greece has implemented 20 reforms, making it easier for local entrepreneurs to do business. This gives Greece the fourth largest number of reforms in OECD high-income countries during that period, after Portugal, Czech Republic, and Poland.

Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, a World Bank Group flagship publication, measures the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 189 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.

Data in Doing Business 2015 are current as of June 1, 2014. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why. This year’s report introduces a notable expansion of several indicator sets and a change in the calculation of rankings.
(Source: http://www.doingbusiness.org/)

Annual Report on National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) published.

The National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) published its Annual Report for 2013, presenting the regulatory, supervisory and audit work on two supervised markets. During 2013, the major operations of the EETT were:
• Protecting consumer rights by imposing increased obligations on providers to increase controls in the retail market, and measuring the quality of international postal services and the EETT web applications
• Promoting competition and attracting investment projects, which led to the release of new programs, the reduction of wholesale and retail prices, the deregulation of the retail market for fixed line calls within Greek territory, and the implementation of a new regulatory framework for electronic communications
• Managing resources during the transition to digital terrestrial television, the use of the digital dividend, the simplification of licensing for wireless networks, and the overall efficient supervision of the spectrum

The President of EETT, Constantine Louropoulos, said: "EETT supervises and regulates two markets that are worth about 7 billion Euro and correspond to approximately 3.5% of GDP, and benefit the country's transition to the digital economy. Given that the 2013-2014 two-year period was a period of crucial decisions and developments in the markets for electronic communications and postal services, our work continues to focus on upholding fair competition for the benefit of the market, and the availability of services on the basis of transparency, quality, and price for the benefit of the consumers."
(Source: http://www.eett.gr/)

KEPE Study: 2012-2014 Investments in Greece
Vice Minister for Development and Competitiveness Notis Mitarachi and the President of KEPE, Nikos Philippas, presented a study by the Center of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) for the 2012-2014 period on investments in Greece. The study shows that there is a new mobility in the field of investment and underlines three main points. First, according to the report, companies continued to invest amidst the crisis for the renewal of their capital equipment. There is therefore a spark that despite difficulties, and as we move away from the eye of the storm, there are a number of international organisations with investment interest in the country. The second element is the data on foreign direct investments, which show a significant increase over the last two years. In 2013, according to data from the Bank of Greece, foreign investment exceeded that of 2007. The third element, as Mr. Mitarachi explained, is that the study recorded a resurgence of investor interest in Greece during the last two years. Large businesses have put our country back in their investment plans, while domestic and foreign investors submit bids to join the new development law. The implementation of these projects will certainly help development, and will create new jobs and new opportunities for businesses and workers. To facilitate these prospective investors the Ministry for Development and Competitiveness has taken a series of initiatives such as, among others, the new investment law and the new framework to facilitate licensing.
(Source: http://www.mindev.gov.gr/)

New Development Law and Investments in Tourism
In June of 2014 the General Directorate for Private Investment proceeded to issue the final tally of investment projects submitted in the first half of 2014 for their inclusion in the new development law (3908/2011). In the first phase the new development law incorporated 484 investment projects totaling 2.6 billion Euro. The total aid amounts to 922 million Euro and the implementation of these projects will create 2,491 new jobs. Among the approved projects are 109 new projects in tourism with a total budget of 880 million Euro. This is the first time the procedure for project evaluation has been completed in just three months. The Vice Minister for Development and Competitiveness Notis Mitarachi said: "The record number of requests during the first period of 2014 shows that Greek companies are overcoming the crisis. Our goal for the second half of 2014 is to complete all outstanding issues and file a new development law, in accordance with the new European framework, in order to absorb the available funds."