Wide range of market reforms agreed with lenders

Wide range of market reforms agreed with lenders

Radical changes in retail trade, such as the derestriction of sales periods and pharmacy ownership and the prohibition of transporting bulk spirits without documentation are in immediate effect with the new memorandum agreement.

The above measures include, among others, the two competition tool kits of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the adoption of which are a prerequisite of the agreement.

Regarding Sunday trading, the government and the creditors agreed to await the decision of the Council of State. If Greece’s highest administrative court accepts the appeal of trade associations and annuls the decision to pilot Sunday trading all year round in 10 regions of the country, then Athens and its creditors will only review the rules that apply for opening hours in tourist areas.

If there is no opposition, the government will proceed with piloting the measures.

The Greek government is requested to legislate by December this year regulations allowing the sale of nonprescription drugs in stores other than pharmacies so the measure can come into force from June 2016. Other previously closed professions up for deregulation are engineering, notary services, actuaries and bailiffs. A reduction of bureaucracy in licensing low-risk business and investment is also on the table.

The prerequisites, which are to be voted on and implemented immediately, will be included on the basis of what is in the memorandum draft. These include the derestriction of sales periods, allowing businesses to hold sales whenever and for as long as they wish and not as dictated by the state, the establishment of a pharmacy by a non-pharmacist, the lifting of restrictions on what qualifies as a bakery, the revision of the Food and Drink Code and the deregulation of short sea shipping.

Further measures include streamlining the excise tax imposed on brewers, banning the sale of unbottled tsipouro and reducing the minimum period for keeping petroleum stocks when outsourced.

By the end of 2015 the government must create a toolbox of similar measures in other sectors and adopt a roadmap for licensing enterprises, as well as making foreign trade easier.

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