The Investment Myth in Greece

Even the last of the politicians – and mandarin government bureaucrats – know that foreign investments, along with exports and tourism, comprise the road which leads to growth, to new jobs, to increased revenue for the country.

They know this so well, that they harp on about it in every statement, every speech in Parliament, election campaign, and article.

They promise to increase investments – foreign, naturally – to create “one stop shop” – how many times have I heard that expression – to bypass the slow-grinding gears of bureaucracy, to provide motives, etc, etc, in order to attract investors.

They have been making these promises for years. And they continue to make them today.

And – as you guessed – they either do nothing, or – even worse – do the exact opposite.

And who else but the expatriate Greek should the government be targeting for investments in Greece?

Yet, there are many examples of expatriates attempting to invest in Greece only to hit a wall of bureaucracy, corruption, closed markets, and unfair competition.

If these phenomena were considered condemnable in the past, then today, with the unemployment rate at 24% and with the country gathering money from hospitals, schools and Parliament in order to pay pensions, it is a crime.

And yet…

The latest infuriating example is the case of the Greek-American businessman Merkourios (Mike) Angeliades, who made a serious investment in the Golf – North Afantou property in Rhodes, during the Samaras government, and who, meanwhile, developed plans to invest a total of 400 million dollars to develop the property.

The master plan, legal fees, etc. alone must have cost him a considerable amount of money during this time.

Yet, now comes this government, namely the Archaeological Service, post-hoc, and characterizes the property as an archaeological site.

In other words, they are radically changing the terms under which Angeliades made the investment.

For besides altering the building potential of the property, it also means years of delays, for those who are aware of the pace at which the Archaeological Service works.

Naturally Angeliades is furious: Here is part of the statement he made to this newspaper:

“I want the area just as it was when I purchased it. Just as it was. The way it was when I bought it, just as it was then, when I put my money on it and made plans to invest 400 million. If they change it, I don’t want it. I will depart… What should I stay and do there? With a government that can’t communicate with each other?”

So that’s that, in regards to the loudmouthed declarations about attracting investments in Greece.

However, until they change that outdated mindset, until the word profit becomes a widely accepted notion, as it is in Western countries, until they manage to “communicate with each other” in the government, they will continue to provoke ridicule when speaking of investments to the expatriate community.

And the Greek people, those whom they are supposed to be serving, they are the ones who are paying the price of this stupid behavior.

 

1 Comment

  1. The true “investment myth” was initiated and perpetuated by the Troika, and consecutive Greek administrations. To whit; that over $300 billion of Euro taxpayer subsidized “bail-outs” and worthless memorandums would allow the Greek economy to grow and slash miles of red tape, in order to ultimately avoid a “catastrophic” default. The truth is that only Greek default can truly change the “outdated (investment) mindset” we all lament. The Archaeological Survey, like many other bloated bureaucracies, would either cease to exist, or would be drastically atrophied since there would no money to pay. Now, you simply have another inefficient, sometimes even useless, government bureaucracy with a vested interest to grow and/or maintain the economic status quo; not to serve , but to exploit.

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