Turnaround 2018: More Greek Businesses Open Than Close

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, FILE)

ATHENS – Losing nearly a quarter of a million businesses which shut down during an economic crisis that began in 2018, there were were openings than shutdowns in 2018 as the government said a recovery is starting to take hold despite ongoing austerity measures.

The Development and Economy Ministry’s General Commercial Registry reported that through Dec. 21 there was a growth of 7.04 percent in all types of businesses that opened while the number of those who couldn’t make it as reduced by 32.67 percent over the previous year.

At the height of the crisis, patches of downtown Athens looked like a ghost town of empty storefronts covered with grime, dusty mannequins inside and For Sale and For Rent signs everywhere across neighborhoods.

While domestic businesses are taking a chance on making it, foreign companies aren’t as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ bid to lure investors is being set back by resistance from elements in his ruling Radical Left SYRIZA who don’t want them.

In November, the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report showed Greece slipped further in the international competitiveness chart in terms of starting an enterprise, dropping five more places this year.

Greece is now below countries including Rwanda, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan and Albania, just as Cyprus has reached 57th place and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia now ranks 10th. New Zealand stayed on top.