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Ελλάδα - Greece

 
 

General Information


Greece is located in the southeastern edge of Europe, with a temperate climate, sun-drenched landscapes and breathtaking islands. Its capital is the city of Athens, which hosted the 2004 Olympic Games, originated from Greek antiquity and were revived in modern Greece.

This combination of innovation and tradition has been a feature of Greek culture since ancient times, when Greeks led in science, the arts, democratic institutions and bequeathed these and many other achievements to those who followed. A member of the European Union and the Eurozone, Greece is a member of the United Nations Security Council, starting in January 2005 and has attained a leading role through energetic participation in political and economic worldwide developments.

Athens, the capital of the country and the main administrative centre, is built in the Attica region.
Ministries, all the higher courts, the head offices of most banks, insurance companies, other businesses and a large part of Greek industry headquarters are concentrated in the capital area. Moreover, Athens attracts visitors from many parts of the world who are coming to visit the Acropolis, the city's and country's symbol, other archaeological sites and the National Archaeological Museum.
Location: Southern Europe, in the Mediterranean Sea, between the Aegean and Ionian Sea, bordering Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Area: Land area: 130.800 sq. km. It is mostly a mountainous country with ranges extending into the seas as peninsulas or chains of islands. The main land coastline is 4.000 km long, while 9.841 islands, 114 of which are inhabited, add another 11.000 km of coastline.
Climate: Temperate, mild winter, hot, dry summers.
Natural resources:
Bauxite, lignite, magnetite, petroleum, marble.
Population: 10.647.511 (July 1995 est.). More than 4 million Greeks are estimated to live abroad.
Nationality:
Greek
Religions:
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%.
Languages: Greek. The Greek language with a documented record spanning three and a half millennia is a strong element of national continuity. Modern Greek derives from the same idiom used by Homer.


Public Holidays 2006


1 January: New Year's Day
6 January: Epiphany
6 March: Ash Monday
25 March: National Holiday
23 and 24 April: Easter
1 May: May Day
12 June: Whit Monday ( Holiday only for public sector)
15 August: Dormition (Assumption) of The Virgin
28 October: National Holiday
25 and 26 December: Christmas



EDUCATION


The educational structure of the Greek labour force has improved impressively over the last years. In the last decade, the number of students that entered the Greek and foreign universities has doubled.
Traditionally, Greeks have placed education high on the list of priorities for their children. Education has been long recognized as the most valuable asset a person can have to advance and Greeks are eager to invest in training their children. In fact, Greece sends more students abroad to study, per capita, than any other country. Universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, and the United States boast large numbers of students from Greece, many of whom achieve high academic success.
There are roughly 195.000 students enrolled in post-secondary educational institutions in Greece and of these, about 26.000 are in masters or doctoral programs. More than 60.000 young Greek students attend post-secondary institutions outside the country.
Greek students have always shown a strong interest in sciences, medicine, engineering and electronics. In recent years, technology and business administration have become more popular, as new study programmes are offered and more opportunities exist to pursue studies outside Greece.



ECONOMY


Even if Greek Economy has improved in recent years due to tight policy before and after EU' s single currency and the preparation for the Olympic Games of 2004, Greece is one of the poorest countries of the European Union with the second-to-lowest average income.
The improvement of the economy in Greece is: a budget deficit below 1% of GDP and an inflation which fell from 20% to 3.1% from 1990 and 2000.
Nevertheless, the reconstruction of economy and the reduction of unemployment (11.3%) are the major challenges of the country for the time being.

Characteristics: Greece has a mixed capitalistic economy with a large public sector accounting about half of GDP and is blamed for slow economic growth.

It is an agricultural country (with agricultural products such as wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, tobacco, potatoes, beef, dairy products and wine) with 20% of the workforce employed in this sector, 59% of the workforce is employed in the sector of services and the 21% in the sector of industry (food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining and petroleum) and construction.

Even if Greece is an agricultural country, the agricultural contribution to the economy of Greece is only of 15 %. The industry which contributes the most to Greek economy is tourism industry and shipping business. Greece welcomes every year a number of tourists greater than the country's total population and its shipping sector is the most important in the world.

Exportations - Importations
  • Greece exports are around 12.5 billion dollars of manufactured goods, fuels, food and beverages to countries such as Germany, Italy, UK, France and the USA.
    (Exports: Industrial Products (49%), Food products (26%), Petroleum Derivatives (13%), Ores (4%), Raw Materials (3%), Tobacco (2%), other (3%).
  • The imports of the country are higher (around 28 billion dollars), they consist of manufactured goods, foodstuffs, fuels and chemicals. Its imports partners are Italy, Germany, France, UK, Netherlands and USA.
Economic Stability
Greece is a member of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and one of the best performing economies in the Eurozone. Today, Greece has become the economic hub of Southeast Europe and offers a stable and healthy economic environment that is supportive to the needs of business and investors.

Competitive Labor
According to latest data from the National Statistical Service (2005, 3rd quarter), the number of people in the Greek labour force is 4,855.3. Although Greece has a relatively small labour force, there are certain quality factors which make the country competitive and more attractive in this field than most of its European counterparts.

Infrastructure Greece is in the process of completing its vast programme of infrastructure projects with the use of the European Union’s 3rd Community Support Framework. That means that every level of transport and communications is being upgraded on a profound scale. In parallel, the liberalisation of energy and telecoms market leads to the modernization of the existing network and provide new opportunities for development.



TAXES


Sources of Income
All natural persons, irrespective of nationality and place of permanent or temporary residence, are liable to tax on income earned in Greece Natural persons residing in Greece are also liable to tax on income earned abroad.
Sources of income are classified as follows: (a) Real estate (b) Securities (c) Agricultural enterprises (d) Commercial enterprises (e) Salaried services (f) Professional occupations.
Taxation of Companies, Associations and Joint Ventures
Also liable to tax are general and limited partnerships, associations of civil law engaged in business or exercising a profession, civil associations of a profit-making or non-profit-making nature, participating companies and joint ventures (of article 2, par. 2 of the Code of Books and Documents). Their net profits are taxed at a rate of 35%, after deduction of profits which are not subject to tax (or which are taxed separately), as well as of profits from the dividends of Greek companies limited by shares (societies anonymes) or mutual funds, while in the case of general and limited partnerships, after deduction of the business fees of up to 3 general partners (those with the highest percentages of participation).
Taxation of Legal Persons
Taxation of legal persons is regulated by the provisions of Law 3843/58, as amended by Law 2065/92. Tax is assessed on the net income (from all sources) acquired by all legal persons. The income of companies limited by shares (societies anonymes) is taxed before the distribution of profits at a single rate of 35% and no other charge is levied. However, income from the real estate of legal persons is subject to an additional tax, assessed at a rate of 3% of total gross annual income.
Taxation of Foreign Construction Companies
Foreign companies and organizations which undertake (in Greece) to draw up studies and plans or conduct technical, economic or scientific research in general, irrespective of whether the studies, research etc. are carried out in Greece or abroad, or which undertake to supervise and co-ordinate projects performed by third parties in Greece, are subject to taxation on the income they acquire from such operations. The taxation rate varies according to whether the principal is a private company or the state and whether the materials used belong to the contractor.



HOW TO SET BUSINESS


The formation of a Limited By Shares Company (S.A.) may be effected by two, at least, or more natural persons or legal entities and involves the following stages:
  • Adoption of the statute
  • Subscription of the share capital
  • Administrative authorization
  • Publication
  • Prevalidation of tradename
  • Draft of Articles of Association
  • Approval of tradename / registration by Commercial Chamber


REAL ESTATE


There is a lot of potential in the Greek Real Estate market. Low interest rates, as well as competitive mortgages, offered by almost all banks, make the family decision to buy a home easier than ever. Buying a property continues to be one of the safest and most stable investments. Huge public construction works were made in light of the 2004 Olympic Games, such as the construction of the new Athens International Airport, Athens Metro, new ports, and a new high speed road network. All these improvements produced new business opportunities and flexibility in travelling, have upgraded the development level of the whole country and changed drastically the map and the interest in the Real Estate Market. Greece is also regarded as the "Sun State" of Europe by many outside Greece who wish to set up a low cost business in the country or just retire in beautiful surroundings.



RESIDENCE & WORK PERMITS FOR EU CITIZENS


Regime
Right of free movement and residence in Greece in order to carry on salaried activity. Family members of the citizen of a Member State are entitled to reside in Greece along with him/her, regardless of nationality.
Work permit – Residence permit

No work permit is required, only a residence permit.
  1. The permit granted shall be valid for at least five years from the date it was issued, valid within the whole Greek territory and shall be automatically renewed, following an application by the person concerned.
  2. Family members who do not have the citizenship of a Member State of the European Communities, shall be granted a residence permit of the same effect as the one granted to the citizen on which they depend.
  3. If the worker has been employed in Greece for a period of between three months and one year, or has been working on behalf of a person providing services in Greece, the worker shall be granted a temporary residence permit which may be valid only for the period of employment foreseen.
Procedure
  1. The permit is granted following submission of an application by the person concerned within a period of three months from the entry date in Greece.
  2. Issuing service: Police Precinct / Aliens Department.
  3. The following documents need to be submitted for the permit to be issued:
The worker
  1. An application form.
  2. A document on the basis of which the applicant entered Greece.
  3. A recruitment declaration by the employer attested by the competent Labour Inspectorate (the declaration includes the duration and type of employment the worker shall offer).
Family members
  1. An application
  2. A document on the basis of which the applicant entered Greece
  3. A document issued by a competent authority of the country of origin or departure showing family ties with the worker or that family members are supported by the worker or live under the same roof.
(Note: the worker has to provide a residence for the family within the meaning of Article 10 (3) of the Council Regulation (EEC) No 1612/1968 of 15.10.68).

Regime Right of establishment in Greece.
Residence permit – work permit
No work permit is required only a residence permit. Procedure: The residence permit shall be granted according to the submission of an application by the person concerned within a period of three months from the entry in Greece.
  • Issuing Service: Police Precinct/ Aliens Department
  • Supporting documents:
The worker:
  1. A document on the basis of which the applicant entered Greece
  2. Documents which show that the applicant falls into one of the categories provided for in Articles 2 and 3(2) and (3) of this Presidential Decree, meaning that is a citizen of a Member State of the EU, or, regardless of nationality, that belongs to the family of a citizen of an EU Member State (spouse, children below 21 years old, relatives in the ascending/descending line) and has lived together or was supported by the citizen of the EU Member State, in the country of origin.
Family members: The same as above.