ECONOMY

Industry gives nod to new bills

The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) has responded positively to an Economy and Finance Ministry bill to curb tax evasion, as well as to one aimed at promoting research and development. In a statement issued yesterday, the major Greek business group said the bill was a step in the right direction toward combating tax evasion, but that the battle must be waged through an integrated program with a long-term horizon. It is a national issue and requires a long public awareness campaign highlighting the negative impacts of tax evasion on society, it said. The integrated program SEV has in mind would focus on both preventive actions and legal measures, along with efforts to create the necessary infrastructure. Regarding the research and development (R&D) bill, SEV argues that it comes at a time when it is necessary to make significant changes in the direction of promoting research, technology and innovation in Greece. The national target for an increase in resources allocated for research from 0.6 percent of gross domestic product to 1.5 percent within six years is seen as quite ambitious and one that will require reforms in the operation and administration of the overall system. In addition, apart from increasing spending on research, the new strategy must also include long-term objectives relating to fields and domains of research which Greek society considers important for its future, comments SEV. It adds that the regulations proposed in the R&D draft law will change the status quo in the Greek research environment and that some are particularly positive as they address certain needs that have long been neglected. Nevertheless, SEV (formerly the Federation of Greek Industries) criticizes the bill for covering research conducted only by bodies under the supervision of the Development Ministry rather than the overall research effort in the country.