ECONOMY

Amended bill on societes anonymes becomes law

Both Greece’s major parties, the ruling conservative New Democracy, and main opposition socialist PASOK, yesterday approved a long-awaited amendment of Law 2190 from 1920, governing societes anonymes (SA), Greece’s most prevalent legal form of enterprise, with the government reducing the initially proposed turnover of companies to be exempt from tax inspections. Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou explained that the amendment provides for the exemption of companies with a turnover of up to -1 million per year. The original bill proposed the exemption of companies with trade volume of -1.5 million, but changed after the intervention of deputies from both parties. «We believe the draft law is in the direction of the modernization of SA operation so we are voting in favor of it,» said PASOK Deputy Panayiotis Rigas. The two major parties did trade blows over which of them has adopted the best policies toward the formation of a healthy environment for the development of business activities. Former PASOK minister Christos Papoutsis said his party is against the abolition of checks on small enterprises and accused the government of «making non-transparency legal.» Left-wing parties voted against the bill, with Vera Nikolaidou of the Communist Party suggesting it contributes to the harmonization of the system «with capitalist standards.» Synaspismos Left Coalition Deputy Yiannis Dragasakis accused the government of promoting over the summer a series of bills that create a new framework for the economy «toward forms of wild capitalism.» Parliament also heard deputies suggest that professional soccer and basketball clubs which operate as SA do not adhere to the laws, as Papathanassiou practically admitted. Apostolos Kaklamanis of PASOK said the clubs appear to have huge deficits but are not under any substantial control of the state. Papathanassiou answered that his ministry does its duty and passes the laws but the governors of Greek soccer, in particular, pay no heed of them. He specifically named federation president Vassilis Gagatsis, who has long been at loggerheads with the government.