E&Y Survey Shows that Greece Improved Its Position as an Investment Destination

Αssociated Press

A general view of the city of Athens with the ancient Acropolis hill on the background, Tuesday Jan. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS -- The recently published EY survey noting Greece's improved attractiveness as an investment destination confirms the climate of trust prevailing among international media since the spring of 2019, in view of the upcoming political change in Greece, government sources said on Friday.

The sources noted that this trend strengthened significantly after the July 7 elections and the predominance of the New Democracy party. It continued with Greece successfully accessing capital markets, the lifting of capital controls, Greece's improved credit rating and the general improvement of the investment climate. According to the same sources, this resulted, on the one hand, in the decline of 10-year Greek bond yields to an all-time low of around 1 pct and, on the other hand, the recording of the highest return worldwide in 2019 for the Greek stock exchange. But also in 2020, after the first wave of the pandemic, foreign investors positively evaluate the country's choices during the pandemic, the speed of the digitalisation of the state and the measures to support the economy that the government has taken from the first moment.

According to the EY survey, Greece improved its ranking compared to 2018, but also the entire previous decade (2009-2018), as it ranked 29th for 2019, compared to 35th in 2018, and the 32nd place it held for a decade. Also important was the improvement of qualitative indicators, such as the participation of the critical sector of digital technology in total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which stood at 15 pct in the last three years and was approaching the European average (19 pct) for the same period.

More specifically, the EY survey highlighted the following elements, among others:

- 62 pct of investors believe that Greece currently pursues an investment policy, which makes it an attractive investment destination.

- Effective management of the COVID-19 crisis has improved the country's image, according to 41 pct of investors.

- The intention to invest in manufacturing is growing impressively, accounting for 26 pct of all planned FDI, compared to just 9 pct in 2019.

- Quality of life (81 pct), telecommunications infrastructure (69 pct) and the level of skills of human resources (66 pct), are key positive elements of the country.

Also, a remarkable finding of the research is that the stable political and social environment (65 pct) and the policies for sustainable development and climate change (56 pct) are considered emerging strong cards of the country. Top priorities for improving the attractiveness of Greece are the support of innovation and advanced technology, reduction of taxation, improvement of the justice process and strengthening of education and skills.