ATHENS, April 5 The Greek parliament approved
legislation late on Thursday to boost private investment, a key
condition to get the crisis-struck country out of its worst-ever
The new investment incentive law aims to cut red tape by
making a broader range of projects eligible for fast-track
licensing and by creating a new one-stop-shop agency for
Amongst other things, the law sets out for the first time
specific rules for licensing and operating seaplanes. Greece,
which has hundreds of poorly connected islands and a big tourism
industry, says this will encourage seaplane operators and
improve access to many holiday resorts.
"We can't achieve growth and employment with theories alone
... we need new investment," deputy development minister Notis
Mitarachi said during the parliamentary debate.
The global financial crisis and severe austerity measures
imposed under two consecutive EU/IMF bailouts since 2010 have
shrunk the Greek economy by about a fifth in the period from
2008 to 2012. Investment has plummeted by about 60 percent over
Weighed down by red tape, corruption and doubts as to
whether it will manage to stay in the euro zone, debt-laden
Greece is currently seen as one of Europe's worst places to do
business and invest.
The country performs badly in almost all the international
competitiveness tables compiled by institutes and organisations
such as the World Economic Forum or the International Institute
However, Athens and its international lenders expect
investment to rebound strongly after 2014, partly helped by
reforms that have slashed labour costs and eased the processes
of hiring and firing.
Increased investment is seen as a means to drive the
economic recovery Athens needs to become able to service its
debt, which is expected to peak this year at about 175 percent
of Gross Domestic Product.
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by David Brunnstrom)