Employers warn of political risk

Greek entrepreneurs warned on Wednesday that political uncertainty may well hamper growth and increase the country risk, as the country is facing the possibility of a long period of turbulence in its governance. Employer association representatives voiced concerns during the presentation of the annual report of the National Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), which showed a split between successful big companies and suffering small and medium-sized enterprises.

“The country’s economic risk remains associated with its political risk. While there are no dead ends in democracy, as they say, in the financial life of a country in recession there may well be a dead end when opportunities are missed and petty political attitudes prevail,” warned Theodoros Fessas, the head of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).

“MPs must do what is best for the country. The Greek market and the real economy has stabilized in 2014 for the first time in years. The turbulence that may emerge from an early election could harm entrepreneurship further,” stressed ESEE president Vassilis Korkidis.

Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis made the dilemma clear: “If a president is not elected, the burden will fall on the shoulders of the citizens. Each voter will have to face his or her own responsibilities,” he stated.

The ESEE report found that this is the first year enterprises will show combined profits of 1 billion euros after years of losses. There has also been a rise in the number of people employed in commerce on Sundays, thanks to the government’s decision since last fall to allow stores to open on certain given Sundays in the year. The rate of salary workers who work on Sundays climbed from 9 percent in 2013 to 12.3 percent this year.

There has also been a significant increase in part-time employment, which this year has reached 8.45 percent, compared with 4.51 percent of all employment in commerce in 2008.

While from 1998 to 2008 employment in commerce rose by an average of 3,780 jobs per quarter, since the first quarter of 2009 employment has shrunk by 11,140 jobs per quarter.