Special Economic Zones in the cards

The government is about to heed a proposal by the European Commission and introduce Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Greece, with a more favorable tax status for investors, a simpler licensing process and reduced court jurisdiction.

About a month ago the European Union?s Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn illustrated a swing in the Commission?s position on SEZ, branding their creation a good idea, following a proposal by Germany and France, which may be interested in investing in this country.

?In unconventional conditions we need unconventional solutions,? explained Petros Selekos, general secretary of state body Strategic Investments, the unit that has been asked to examine the issue and prepare the relevant demand to be submitted to the Commission.

If the government approves the plan under preparation, then the demand could be forwarded to Brussels for approval in early 2012. The Commission?s approval is necessary as the special incentives the SEZ provides for could otherwise be perceived as state subsidies.

The plan that will be submitted to the competent ministries in the next few days foresees the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace as being the first SEZ. The Germans are said to be particularly interest in it for the development of photovoltaic parks, while sources confirm there is interest in revitalizing the silk industry in the border town of Soufli in Thrace. Epirus will likely be the next region to be chosen, while industrial areas in Attica could follow.

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