ECONOMY

Greek cuisine to enjoy taste of subsidies

The Development Ministry’s program for boosting competitiveness in the economy, part of the European Union-subsidized third Community Support Framework (CSFIII) massive investment plan for the 2001-2006 period, includes a provision for projects designed to spread Greek cuisine – whether traditional, national, local or creative – and meet the requirements for obtaining the relevant official symbol of approval from the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT). Measure 5.2, Activity 2 of the Entrepreneurial Competitiveness Program aims to promote Greek cuisine in such a way as to make it an important and recognizable part of the overall Greek tourism product. The measure provides for the subsidization of three main types of activity. The creation and modernization of the main areas of catering establishments (restaurants or tavernas), modernization and replacement of equipment of the main and auxiliary outlets, and planning, production and the printing of menus. Value added tax is not included in any category of expenses and is entirely borne by the investor. No other work is considered eligible for subsidy, including any work done before the submission of the application. Applicants must be Greek-based catering enterprises, including those that may operate restaurants in hotels, campsites or on ferry boats. Such enterprises may employ up to 10 people – and no outside enterprise employing more than 10 may hold a share greater than 25 percent in it – and it must have been in business for at least one year. Hotels, camping grounds or other special kinds of tourism enterprises must hold an EOT sign and a relevant license. Applicants must not have received any other type of subsidy for the implementation of the project. Applications will not be considered unless the catering facility has previously been checked by food sanitary authorities and has obtained the special EOT quality sign. Budgets per establishment must not exceed 5 million drachmas and the subsidy amounts to 40 percent. Applicants may submit larger budgets but the subsidy will apply to the 5 million drachma maximum. Applications must concern separate establishments and no enterprise may submit more than two. Implementation of the proposal must take place within 12 months of signature of the contract. The deadline for applications is December 12, 2003. Papantoniou said the second round of structural reforms was critical to strengthening Greece’s competitiveness and entrepreneurship. The program, which focuses mainly on new economy activities, is already under way following the completion of the first cycle consisting principally of equity sales in state-owned enterprises.