ECONOMY

Investors still face myriad obstacles to business

The labyrinth of bureaucracy, corruption and the widespread skepticism of society and the civil service toward entrepreneurship are the main obstacles for investment in Greece, as two stories reported by Kathimerini about internationally acclaimed investment projects confirm.

In one case, the entrepreneur in question found himself mired in the country’s unruly zoning regulations. Once he managed to get his project off the ground, he needed the approval of four ministries, several agencies (competent for antiquities, forestry, agriculture etc) as well as the Hellenic Air Force General Staff for the environmental terms of the investment.

A second businessman returned to Greece after 15 years in the United States, to discover that there is little if any protection for free competition.

“This almost destroyed us; the commercial network was closed to us,” he said. He was even hampered by an outdated royal decree dating from 1922 that forbids companies from proceeding with the production of a pioneering commodity for at least two years.