GREECE INVESTMENT OVERVIEW

Greece offers investors unparalleled opportunities in a variety of sectors, access to regional markets of more than 140 million consumers, highly attractive investment activities, and a vibrant and growing economy.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION


Hellenic Republic (Greece)

 

 
 
 

Area: 131,990 sq. km.

Length of State Border: 1,228 km

Border Countries: Albania (282 km); Bulgaria (494 km);

Turkey (206 km); Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM – 246 km)

Climate

Temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain

Mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands


Elevation Extremes

Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

Highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m


Geographic Importance

Strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and the southern approach to Dardanelles Straits; a peninsular country possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands


Natural Resources

Lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt


Legal System

Based on Roman law, judiciary divided into civil, criminal, and administrative courts


Time Zone: GMT +2

Currency: Euro

Official Language: Greek

Capital: Athens

Government Type: Parliamentary democracy

Legislative Branch

Unicameral Parliament–300 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to four-year terms

Head of State: President

Head of Government: Prime Minister

Memberships

Eurozone, NATO, EBRD, EIB, IBRD, IMF, IMO, Interpol, OECD, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO, WTO, CERN

Greece—The Hub of Growth

 

Greece offers businesspeople a wide variety of investment opportunities that take advantage of the country’s strategic geographic location and unique competitive advantages. Greece is a natural gateway to more than 140 million consumers in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, a region with a GDP of almost €1 trillion. As the hub of diverse emerging markets, Greece provides access to populations with a strong demand for consumer goods, infrastructure modernization, technology and innovation networks, energy, tourism development, and light manufacturing.

 

Greek companies have a strong foothold in the region and are among the top three investors in every market. Over the last few years, more than 4,000 Greek companies have invested more than €15 billion in Southeast Europe. In financial services alone, more than 3,000 branches of Greek banks are active in the region.

 

The dynamic, positive, and confident character of Greece’s economy is matched by the opportunities and optimism in Greece’s investment landscape. Investors are discovering that Greece has a combination of characteristics that are unequalled in Europe. Greece is a leading global tourism destination, an emerging regional energy hub, and possesses human capital that is outstanding.

 

The Economy

 

The Greek economy has grown at an average annual rate of 3.8% from 2004-2008, one of the highest rates in the Eurozone. Despite international economic uncertainty, growth is expected to continue. The European Commission estimates that Greece’s growth rate will be positive (0.2% at constant prices) in 2009 as compared to the projected negative of 1.9% for the Eurozone. Unemployment fell from 11.3% in the first quarter of 2004 to 7.6% in 2008.

 

Major Economic Indicators

 

 

2006

2007

2008

GDP growth rate

4.2%

4.0%

2.9%

       

Inflation

3.2%

2.9%

4.2%

Labour productivity(EU-27=100)

103.8

105

n/a

       

Unemployment rate

8.9%

8.3%

7.6%

Public investments (% GDP)

3.1%

3.0%

2.9%

       

Exports (goods & services)

49.7*

52.5*

56.1*

Imports (goods & services)

69.5*

76.3*

77.6*

       

General gov’t deficit (% GDP)

2.6%

3.5%

5%

General gov’t debt (% GDP)

95.3%

94.5%

97.6%

*billion €

Reforms and Privatizations

 

A wide spectrum of reforms has been implemented in Greece, spurring growth and investment. Among the new initiatives are attractive investment incentives, reduced corporate tax rates, and a new framework for public private partnerships (PPP). Since 2004 the government has privatized a number of key assets, raising more than €6 billion, approximately 75% of which derives from foreign investors. At the same time, deregulated markets in gas, electricity, telecommunications, banking and transport are attracting investors such as Deutsche Telekom, Credit Agricole, Endesa and EdF Energies Nouvelles.

 

Import-Export Data

Greek Exports / Country

 

 

Jan-Dec 2008 (€)

Jan-Dec 2007 (€)

Jan-Dec 2006 (€)

       

Germany

1,821,302,845

1,980,259,847

1,878,461,127

Italy

2,001,859,507

1,841,119,777

1,861,920,367

       

Cyprus

1,102,980,598

1,111,917,134

890,595,341

Bulgaria

1,236,989,886

1,109,921,720

1,052,486,100

       

UK

820,061,877

932,287,663

991,840,629

Romania

772,417,242

774,654,005

595,821,875

       

France

668,378,714

716,174,758

733,289,546

USA

885,416,085

692,619,240

725,842,484

       

Turkey

621,674,009

620,223,658

847,993,556

Others

7,402,065,542

7,369,156,536

7,073,406,618

 

Greek Imports / Country

 

 

Jan-Dec 2008 (€)

Jan-Dec 2007 (€)

Jan-Dec 2006 (€)

       

Germany

7,238,138,117

7,114,440,477

6,339,451,825

Italy

6,918,490,534

6,467,217,495

5,899,518,422

       

Russia

4,454,048,615

3,130,302,437

3,577,081,252

France

3,098,017,174

3,080,507,557

3,006,457,709

       

China

3,347,145,360

2,794,529,586

1,818,715,078

Netherlands

2,806,938,547

2,769,913,511

2,614,899,512

       

Belgium

2,139,897,833

2,124,528,899

1,771,191,620

Spain

2,133,684,559

2,000,836,052

1,796,449,120

       

UK

1,956,907,714

1,998,995,606

1,896,601,120

USA

1,650,730,741

1,260,696,763

891,242,809

       

Others

24,935,472,377

24,040,630,964

22,013,816,072

 

Greek Exports / Sector

 

 

Jan-Dec 2008 (€)

Jan-Dec 2007 (€)

Jan-Dec 2006 (€)

       

Food - Animals

2,710,096,053

2,517,703,043

2,336,032,188

Beverage - Tobacco

578,341,454

500,872,568

508,669,487

       

Raw material apart from fuels

775,375,313

770,307,712

865,314,278

Mining - Fuels - Lubricants

1,902,868,998

2,084,013,682

2,171,028,267

       

Oils & greases of animal or plant origin

328,947,071

350,731,028

485,539,276

Chemicals

2,307,113,322

2,363,150,855

2,179,231,608

       

Industrial products

3,926,616,193

3,730,906,389

3,420,323,720

Machines & Transport equipment

2,431,869,413

2,314,998,868

2,093,311,410

       

Others

2,371,918,488

2,515,650,193

2,390,251,195

 

Greek Imports / Sector

 

 

Jan-Dec 2008 (€)

Jan-Dec 2007 (€)

Jan-Dec 2006 (€)

       

Food - Animals

5,240,870,654

4,984,636,964

4,419,736,450

Beverage - Tobacco

770,411,263

738,390,094

719,357,822

       

Raw material apart from fuels

1,667,436,593

1,582,021,420

1,228,520,675

Mining - Fuels - Lubricants

12,118,128,955

8,396,592,846

9,713,481,595

       

Oils & greases of animal or plant origin

290,359,758

213,419,583

167,189,785

Chemicals

8,308,019,965

7,725,062,314

6,933,306,275

       

Industrial products

8,011,927,143

8,061,515,151

7,193,506,798

Machines & Transport equipment

16,453,025,783

16,455,422,270

14,385,415,489

       

Others

7,819,291,457

7,364,841,942

5,967,859,934

Source: National Statistical Service of Greece

     

 

Human Resources and Labour Costs

 

Population: 11,171,740

   

Density: 84.46/km2

 

Population by age group

       
       
       
       
         

Age Group

Total Number

Percentage of Total

     

0-14

1,596,530

14.3%

15-64

7,501,190

66.7%

     

65+

2,074,020

19%

         
         

Economically-active population

     

4.95 million

Birth rate

     

9.62 births/1,000 population




Representative monthly wage levels (2008)

 
 
   

Labourer (daily)

€33-45

   

Clerk

€790-1000

   

Sales person

€860-1000

Specialized mechanic

€750-1200

   

Secretary

€825-1300

Foreman

€1000-1500

   

Middle manager

€1800-4500

Managing director

€4500-9000

 

Banks

 

The Bank of Greece, established in 1927, is the central bank of the country. The Bank of Greece acts in accordance with the guidelines and instructions of the European Central Bank (ECB).

 

Major Greek banks

National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Eurobank, Piraeus Bank

Major foreign banks in Greece

HSBC, Citi Bank, Millennium bank, BNP Paribas

 

Key Economic Sectors

Tourism

Representing 18% of GDP, tourism is a key sector and one of the most dynamic for growth and investment. Greece is among the top 15 destinations worldwide, the tourism sector employs more than 913,000 people, and annual visits are expected to reach 20 million by 2010, up from 17 million in 2007. Global interest in Greece has investors focused on integrated resorts, golf courses, spas, theme parks, marinas, and a wide variety of agrotourism and alternative tourism. In addition, Greece is becoming a favorite destination for conferences and congresses, where delegates and their families are able to enjoy add-on holidays throughout the year.

 

Energy

Greece occupies a geostrategic position as a vital transit hub in the energy markets of Southeast Europe. The construction of the Turkish-Greek-Italian TGI natural gas pipeline, the Greek-Russian-Bulgarian Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, and the Greek-Italian-Russian-Bulgarian South Stream natural gas pipeline have positioned Greece at the center of South-east Europe’s energy equation. In addition, energy giants such as EdF (Electricite de France), Enel and Edison of Italy are capitalizing on the de-regulation of the domestic energy market, where the production, transmission, and distribution of energy are open to private investors. The already sizeable investments that have been made are expected to peak in the next decade to €25-40 billion. This amount includes the combined investments of the Public Power Corporation, the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator and investments in renewable energy sources (RES).

 

Developing RES is a major priority of the Greek government. The total energy production by RES is slated to be 18% by 2020. With more than 1,000 islands registering high sea-wind speeds, an average of 300 sunny days annually, and a large number of geothermal wells, Greece offers ideal conditions to harness wind, solar, and geothermal energy. In addition, favourable investment incentives and high feed-in-tariffs, guaranteed for 20 years, attract foreign investment to RES. According to recent projections, wind and solar parks of over 8000 MW will be installed by 2020, attracting investments of over €12 billion. To date, major investments have been made by Enel, Iberdrola, Acciona, Gamesa, Cesa, and EdF Energies Nouvelles

Food and Beverage

Food and beverage is the strongest sector of Greek industry and offers numerous advantages for investors. Representing roughly 25% of the Greek manufacturing sector, food and beverage continues to be a growth area with multiple opportunities. With low operating costs and abundant raw materials, the sector has established a large production and sales network in Southeast Europe, and there is considerable direct and indirect support from the government for further cross-border investment. The Mediterranean diet is recognized as one of the most healthful, boosting demand for a wide variety of traditional products from Greece, which enjoys Protected Designation of Origin status for such items as feta cheese and ouzo. The conditions to grow organic produce are highly favourable and demand for traditional, convenience, and value-added products in local, regional, and global markets is strong.

 

Banking and Financial Services

Following Greece’s entry to the Eurozone, Greek banks have become regional leaders and have established a strong presence throughout Southeast Europe. After intense consolidation, the Greek banking sector is poised to develop strongly, especially in retail services, and has estab-lished more than 3,000 branch offices in the Balkans. In addition to serving the needs of Greek investors in the region, who have invested more than €15 billion, Greek banks have gained the trust of domestic clients in each of their markets. The growth and sophistication of a wide range of financial services in both Greece and surrounding emerging markets translate into unparalleled opportunities in insurance, advisory services, private banking, and taxation.

 

ICT & R+D

Technology, responsible for 4% of GDP, continues to drive economic growth and development. More than 2,000 specialized large and medium size companies, employing in excess of 80,000 professionals, have enjoyed a 7% growth rate from 2002-2007 in a sector that continues to expand. The investment law supports software development, broadband services, the establishment of R&D facilities, and benefits investors as a priority sector. R&D priorities include food technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, microelectronics, health, security, the environment, energy and transport, space, cultural heritage, and finance. With mobile phone penetration at 150%, opportunities in this sector are in value added services. Broadband services represent a strong growth area following more than €500 million invested in infrastructure. In addition, a Fibre -to -the -Home project worth €2.1 bn. will be launched by 2010.

 

Innovation

Major efforts are underway to capitalize on the country’s considerable intellectual capital. New incentives to expand domestic R&D are producing positive results. Science and technology parks such as the Science and Technology Park in Crete, the Thessaloniki Technology Park, the Lavrio Technology Park, and the Patras Science Park are attracting high-level talent and are home to some promising start-ups. In addition, the research facilities under the aegis of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology are home to many excellent scientists that are expanding their programmes to include international partners. A recent initiative, Corallia, targets the creation and advancement of technology cluster initiatives that can compete at a global level and attract FDI to Greece. In 2008, Bill Gates established Microsoft Innovation Centre in Athens. Greek research institutes have signed a number of innovation and cooperation agreements with countries around the world.

 

Greece operates TANEO, a new economy development fund, or “fund of funds” that sup-ports the development of SMEs, especially in innovative ventures (http://www.taneo.gr/ welcome_20.htm).

  

Environment and Waste Management

Sustainable development practices translate into business and investment opportunities that include waste management, pollution control and a more efficient built environment. Today, Greece is embarking on a long-term plan to overhaul its waste management practices. New technologies are needed to deal with an increasing burden of waste that include disposal, energy generation, recycling which increased from 6% in 2004 to 25% in 2008, and building new closed loop systems that limit waste generation. In addition, opportunities exist in dealing with hazardous waste, marine pollution, water treatment, and industrial pollution.

 

Shipping

Shipping continues to be one of the country’s most successful sectors with revenues reaching a record €16 billion in 2007. The Greek fleet represents almost 20% of worldwide tonnage, almost 200 million DWT, and more than 50% of the EU fleet. The government is putting measures into place to turn Piraeus into a global maritime hub, a move that would significantly enhance the Greek port’s international position. In 2008, Cosco was awarded a 35 year concession for the container operations of the Port of Piraeus. Ranking 5th in the world, the Port of Piraeus handles almost 16 million passengers annually.

 

Real Estate

The Greek real estate market has undergone profound changes in the past decade, with building activity fueled by an expanding economy and the development of second home and leisure home markets. In urban areas, developers are finding success with new large-scale integrated shopping centres and office space. Of particular interest is the potential to build extensive residential real estate projects (governed by new legislation) for both domestic and foreign buyers, on the mainland and islands, in highly attractive locations. Like-wise, there is a demand for large, upscale integrated resort projects and small, boutique projects that focus on niche markets. Greece favours the development of eco-friendly real estate; developers with expertise in green building will find a welcome environment.

 

Logistics

The logistics sector, especially in intermodal hub and warehouse development and integrated 3PL (third party logistics) services, is a growth sector. The government is promoting Greece as a main logistics centre in Southeast Europe due to its strategic location, with easy access to the markets of the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, the Balkans, and Western Europe.

 

Transportation & Telecommunications

 

Railways

total: 2,600 km

Roadways

total: 117,000 km

 

Major highways

 

Egnatia Highway

 

Attiki Odos Motorway

PATHE Motorway

 

Rion-Antirion (Bridge)

     

Ionian Motorway

   

 

Major Ports [12 international ports]

 

Piraeus

 

Iraklio

Thessaloniki

 

Kavala

     

Volos

 

Kalamata

Patra

 

Lavrio

     

Alexandroupoli

 

Chalkida

Elefsina

 

Astakos

     

Igoumenitsa

   

 

Major Airports

 

[15 international airports, 25 domestic airports, 20 million passengers annually]

 

Athens International Airport

 

Chania

(Eleftherios Venizelos)

   

Thessaloniki

 

Zakynthos

     

Iraklio (Crete)

 

Samos

Rhodes

 

Mykonos

     

Corfu

 

Santorini (Thira)

 

Kos

 

Telecommunications

 

Telephones – main lines in use

6 million

Telephones – mobile cellular

Approx.16 million

   

Mobile phone penetration

150%

Mobile phone operators

Cosmote, Wind, Vodafone

   

Internet penetration

40%

Broadband

15.6% (Q2 2009)

 

 

Major Greek Cities

 

 

Population

   

Population

Athens

3,761,180

 

Iraklio

137,711

Thessaloniki

1,057,825

 

Volos

85,001

Patras

191,058

     

 

A Framework for Investment

 

The framework for investment support in Greece revolves around three institutional pillars: the Investment Incentives Law, the National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-13, and Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

Investment Incentives Law

 

Greece’s Investment Incentives Law governs the terms and conditions of direct investment in Greece and provides for the incentives available to domestic and foreign investors. The incentives on offer are among the most competitive in the European Union.

 

Investment incentives are applicable to primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors and cover a wide variety of business activities. For the purpose of promoting investment in outlying and less developed regions of Greece, the country is divided into three zones, A, B, and C, with A being the most industrialized areas of Greece, including the prefectures of Attica and Thessaloniki, and zone C being the most remote and less developed.

 

Investors may take advantage of: cash grants or leasing subsidies, wage subsidies for employment created by the investment, or tax benefit of up to 60 percent of the overall investment cost.

 

Investment Incentives

For investment projects that fall under the provisions of the law, the following incentives are available:

 

Cash Grant, that covers part of the expenses for the investment project by the State; and /or

 

Leasing Subsidy, that covers part of the payable installments by the State relating to a lease that has been entered into for the use of new mechanical or other equipment; or

Wage Subsidy, provided for employment created by the investment; or

 

Tax Allowance, that allows income tax exemption on non-distributed gains. The allowance is effective upon completion of the investment for the first ten years of operation and is created through a tax-exempt reserve.

 

Terms and Conditions

• Participation by the investor must be at 25% minimum

 

• Approval is given within two months from application

 

• 50% of cash grant is released upon completion of 50% of the project or advance payment with a bank guarantee and the remaining 50% is released upon full completion of the project

 

• Cash grants for wages are released every six months, following an application submitted by the investor

 

A summary of the Investment Incentives Law is available on the Invest in Greece website: www.investingreece.gov.gr

 

National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007-2013

 

A Promising Era

The National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-13 follows the successful completion of the 3rd Community Support Framework and provides for €31.9 bn. for public projects in Greece. Private participation is estimated at €7.5 bn., for a total budget of €39.4 bn.

 

NSRF Focus

 

Environment & Sustainable Development

€2.8 bn.

Infrastructure Improvements

€7.5 bn.

   

Competitiveness & Entrepreneurship

€1.7 bn.

Digital Convergence

€1.2 bn.

   

Education & HR

€5.2 bn.

Public Administration

€0.7 bn.

   

Additional Regional Funding

€12 bn.

Total Government Grants

€31.9 bn

 

Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

The framework for Public Private Partnerships provides for collaboration between public and private sector organizations for the financing, construction, maintenance, operation/ exploitation of infrastructure projects or for the provision of services.

 

PPP projects no longer need to be ratified in parliament. All PPP projects are approved, monitored, and coordinated by a special interministerial PPP Committee, and supported by a PPP Secretariat within the Ministry of National Economy.

 

PPP projects fall into one of two categories: Projects directly reimbursed by the State.

 

Projects reimbursed by end users (for example through tolls).

 

As of December 2008, 52 projects with a value of €5.7 bn. have been approved and more than 100 Greek and foreign companies have participated in PPP tenders.

 

PPP projects focus on specific areas and sectors that include:

 

Infrastructure (motorways, parking) Education (schools, universities)

Environment (waste management, wastewater treatment, desalination) Health (hospitals)

Ports (infrastructure) Public sector buildings

(courthouses, prisons, municipal and regional buildings) Projects repaid by end users

Public sector real estate development

For more information please visit www.ppp.mnec.gr/en

Taxation

 

Companies that have a “permanent resident” status in Greece, those that are incorporated or are effectively managed or controlled from Greece are subject to Greek taxation. Corporate tax is imposed on total annual profits, before distribution of dividends, profits, fees to directors, and remittances to employees.

 

These provisions are superseded by Double Taxation Treaties that Greece has with other countries. Dividends, distributed from after tax profits, are not subject to further taxation by the recipient. Capital gains are taxable as regular business income. Losses may be carried forward for five years but not carried back.

 

Rate: The tax rate is 25 % for Corporations (SAs and LTDs) and 20% for Partnerships.

Tax allowances: Investors who qualify for tax allowances may take advantage of this incentive under the Investment Incentive Law. This incentive allows income tax exemption on non-distributed gains. The allowance is effective upon completion of the investment for the first ten years of operation and is created through a tax- exempt reserve. Tax allowances can reach up to 100% of the investment.

A number of other taxes are imposed, including a 1% Capital Duty Tax, Real Property Tax (flat rate of 0.826% on the appraised value of real property that exceeds € 243,000.) Other real estate taxes may apply.

 

Social Security: Payment of social security of employees equals roughly 28% of gross pay. Normal business expenses are deductible and should be explicitly identified.

 

The accounting year in Greece generally ends on December 31 or June 30. There is no taxation available to a group of companies; each company is required to file a separate return.

 

The use of IFRS is mandatory for companies with listed shares or securities, corporations that are consolidated for accounting purposes with a company that uses IFRS if it represents a minimum of 5% of the consolidated turnover, consolidated assets, or consolidated results (after minority rights). For other SAs and LTDs, IFRS is optional. Otherwise Greek GAAP is applicable. Financial statements must be prepared and published annually.

 

VAT (Value Added Tax)

 

Greece imposes Value Added Tax (VAT) on the sale of goods, the provision of services, and the construction of new buildings.

 

The standard rate is 19%; a rate of 9% applies to goods and services seen as necessities (basic food products, transportation, utilities, professional services) as does a rate of 4.5% (newspapers, books, periodicals, theatre tickets). For certain islands (generally those identified as isolated) rates of 13%, 6%, and 3% apply to select goods. Some goods are exempt on these islands.

 

In addition, some transactions are exempt from VAT: certain medical or education services as well as insurance, financing, and banking. Export transactions are likewise exempt from VAT. Businesses must file a monthly or quarterly VAT return, depending on the type of accounting books held. In addition, an annual VAT return must be filed.

 

Setting up a Business in Greece

 

There are three principal forms of business operation: the corporation (SA or Société Anonyme); the Limited Liability Company (LTD), and the partnership, either general partnership (OE) or limited partnership (EE).

 

In practice, most large companies are formed as SAs although many companies are finding the LTD an attractive alternative since they offer added flexibility and are less expensive to operate. An LTD does not declare dividends and is taxed on entire net profits at the company level, regardless of whether the net profits are distributed or retained. An LTD may not issue bonds. Single individuals are able to establish an LTD. Within the General Partnership, partners may be held liable without limit, including personal property. The liability of limited partners is equal to that of their paid capital. In addition, Greece has enacted EU legislation permitting the new form of Societas Europaea. Similar to the SA, the SE is recognized throughout the EU, can transfer its registered office to member states, and may freely enter into cross border acquisitions and mergers.

 

The minimum capital share requirement for a SA is €60,000.00, and for an LTD €18,000.00. The minimum capital share requirement for a SE is €120,000.00.

 

In addition, Greek law provides for the establishment of Joint Ventures, Branch Offices, and Foreign Companies.

 

Branch or Representative Office

A Branch of a foreign company may be established either as a SA or an LTD, with the same share capital requirements. The Branch is administrated by an individual appointed by the foreign company by virtue of a Power of Attorney. If the individual representative is not an EU national, he/she must obtain a residence and work permit before arriving in Greece.

 

Joint Venture

Joint Ventures may be formed for the purpose of carrying out a specific project and are not recognized under law as separate legal entities. A Joint Venture may be recognized as a fiscal entity for tax purposes. Special rules apply to the keeping of accounting records of a Joint Venture.

 

LAW 89 Companies

 

Under the provisions of Law 89/1967, a foreign entity may establish an office or company in Greece that provides to their head offices or to their foreign affiliates advisory services, centralized accounting support, quality control services, project planning services, research and development, advertising and marketing services, and data processing serv-ices. These “offshore” companies must employ at least four persons and the annual operating expenses of the Law 89 company must be at least €100,000.

 

 

Sole Proprietorship

A Sole Proprietorship company may be established by investors wishing to establish a personal business.

 

Living in Greece

 

Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and has a well-spring of superb natural resources. Greece’s extraordinary topography, with dramatic mountains, lush valleys and groves, and a coastline that extends more than 16,000 kilometres (9,940 miles), provides residents and visitors with a wealth of leisure options. The treasure trove of museums, archaeological and historical sites, theatre, dance, and musical performance satisfies all tastes. The Parthenon, perched on the Acropolis in Athens, is the crown jewel of Greece’s archaeological splendour.

Weekends are easily used to escape to the islands in the summer or a variety of mountain destinations. The sea is never more than 80 kilometres (50 miles) from any point on the mainland. Greece has relatively little crime, even in the major cities. The wide selection of excellent Greek and international schools, teaching in numerous languages, responds to the needs of the substantial foreign community. Many foreign institutes, clubs, and associations help pave the way to integration for newcomers.

 

Useful Information

 

Getting to/from the airport

The Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) is roughly a 30 – 45 minute drive from the center of Athens. A taxi will cost between €25-30, but a shuttle bus is also available, costing €3.5.

 

Taxis from Thessaloniki’s airport to the city center take between 20 and 40 minutes depending on traffic and cost around €10.

 

Electricity supply                                                                                220 volts

 

Public holidays

 

January 1

New Year’s Day

January 6

Epiphany Day

   

March 25

Independence Day

May 1

Labour Day

   

August 15

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary

October 28

Ochi Day

   

December 25

Christmas

December 26

Boxing Day

   

 

Useful Links

 

Invest in Greece Agency

www.investingreece.gov.gr

Ministry of Economy and Finance

www.mnec.gr

   

Ministry of Development

www.ypan.gr

Ministry of Tourism

www.mintour.gr

   

Bank of Greece

www.bankofgreece.gr

National Bank of Greece

www.nbg.gr

   

National Statistics Service

www.statistics.gr

 

Invest in Greece Agency

 

Invest in Greece is the official Investment Promotion Agency of Greece that promotes and facilitates private investment. Invest in Greece identifies market opportunities and provides investors with assistance, analysis, advice, and aftercare support free of charge.

 

Invest in Greece identifies potential partners, locates sites, assists in legal and licensing procedures, analyzes investment proposals, furnishes pertinent economic information, and fully explains incentives available to investors.

 

The professionals at Invest in Greece guide investors at every step of the investment process and provide essential support for ongoing operations or expansion projects.

 

Invest in Greece is committed to helping business-people discover the many opportunities in Greece, the gateway to Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

Sources: Invest in Greece Agency | Bank of Greece | Ministry of National Economy and Finance | National Statistical Service of Greece | Eurostat | 2009  

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