News in Brief – February 2022
- Greek Economy – Greece’s economy is expected to grow at a 4.9% rate this year, according to the latest forecasts by the European Commission, and following an upwardly revised 8.5% rebound in 2021. The latest Commission forecasts also see growth of 3.5% in 2023. A separate estimate by Greece’s IOBE think-tank sees growth of between 4.5% and 5% this year, after a 9-9.5% jump in 2021, while Germany’s Scope Ratings forecasts GDP growth of 4.4% in 2022 and 2.5% in 2023.
- Foreign Investment – Net inflows of foreign direct investment to Greece rose to approximately €5.0 billion in 2021, up more than 70% from a year earlier, according to provisional Bank of Greece balance of payments data. Net FDI inflows last year were also 13% higher than a previous record of €4.5 billion set in 2019. Final FDI data are expected to be released in the Bank of Greece’s upcoming annual report.
- Debt Repayment – Greece will repay the final €1.8 billion in loans owed to the International Monetary Fund by the end of March, two years ahead of schedule, said Finance Minister Christos Staikouras. In an interview with Reuters, he said that Greece will also return to a primary budget surplus by next year.
- Property Taxes – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a 13% average cut in the unified tax on real estate assets, or ENFIA, effective this year. The tax cut follows a 20% reduction in property taxes in 2020, and fulfills a pledge by the current government to reduce taxes on real estate assets by 30% during its term.
- EIB Financing – The European Investment Bank and its affiliate, the European Investment Fund, supported Greece with a record €4.85 billion in financing last year. The funds helped finance projects ranging from the digitization of the public sector, to urban renewal and the transition to clean energy. Separately, the EIB announced this month €125 million in financial support for projects by the Ministry of Digital Governance, including the creation of 3,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around Greece. The Bank also agreed to €580 million in new financing for the construction of the Athens Metro Line 4.
- EastMed Power Project −The European Commission has approved €657 million in financing for the construction of a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable that will link the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece. The project is part of broader efforts by Europe to exploit the hydrocarbon resources of the Eastern Mediterranean and to end the energy isolation of the islands of Cyprus and Crete.
- Natural Gas Project – Shareholders of Gastrade SA gave the greenlight for a planned €360 million project to develop a liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline near the northern port of Alexandroupolis. With the approval of the Final Investment Decision, the project now moves to the construction phase and is expected to be operational by the end of 2023. The facility is seen as key in developing Greece as an energy hub for Southeast Europe.
- Insurance Deal – Germany’s Allianz, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, has acquired Greek insurer European Reliance for €207 million, the latest deal heralding changes in the Greek insurance market. Allianz will combine European Reliance with its existing Greek unit to create the country’s fifth-largest insurer. Last year, private equity fund CVC Capital Partners acquired the insurance unit of National Bank of Greece, the country’s largest insurer.
- World Expo − The Greek Pavilion at the World Expo 2020 Dubai has welcomed close to 1 million visitors since the launch of the World Expo late last year. The Pavilion, organized by Enterprise Greece, showcases the country’s progress in eight key sectors ranging from sustainability to shipping under the motto: Greece Tomorrow. Today.