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Foreign Investments in Greece Soar by 77% in 2020, Report Finds

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Greece has greatly improved its ranking in foreign direct investments, a report released on Wednesday says. Public Domain

Direct foreign investments in Greece rose by a staggering 77 percent in 2020, a report by multinational accounting firm Ernst & Young Greece (EY) revealed on Wednesday.

The EY report on investments in Greece said that the improved economic picture indicates that Greece is becoming established as an attractive destination for investment.

“All foreign investors that came to Greece in recent years they have already earned a lot of money,” Greek development minister Adonis Geordiadis recently told Greek Reporter.

The EY survey was officially presented on Wednesday at the opening session of the 4th InvestGR Forum 2021: Reforming the Greek Economy, by EY Greece CEO Panagiotis Papazoglou. It was conducted by Euromoney on EY’s behalf through online questionnaires between March 29 and April 28, 2021.

Based on its findings, seven in ten investors acknowledge that Greece is currently following a more effective policy for attracting investments, with the country’s image as an investment destination significantly improved among those in the global investment community.

The results showed a marked improvement in Greece’s attractiveness, despite the increased uncertainty, strong competition and new parameters in play, such as the pressures for more sustainable growth and accelerated digitization of the economy.

According to the ΕΥ European Investment Monitor, the number of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Greece increased 77 percent in 2020, with Greece absorbing 0.7 percent of European FDIs in 2020 — more than doubling its average over the last two decades, but still low relative to the country’s population and GDP.

Greece investment ranking rises

As a result, its ranking rose to 23rd in 2020, from 29th the previous year and 35th in 2018.

More than half of investments were directed toward knowledge-intensive sectors, with 28 percent directed to services for businesses and professional services and 23 percent to software and IT services.

The percentage of businesses that see Greece as a potential investment destination has jumped from 38 percent to 62 percent in the last year, while 75 percent of investors expect a further improvement in the next three years — the highest level among countries conducting similar surveys this year.

The number of businesses that believe Greece is currently following an attractive policy for investments has risen to 71 percent, from 62 percent in 2020 and 50 percent in 2019.

There has also been an increase in those who say they intend to invest in Greece during the coming year, up to 34 percent from 28 percent in 2020.

Sales and marketing firms continue to rank first among planned investments, at 33 percent, while research and development follows with 18 percent, along with industry at 18 percent. While tourism continues to be viewed as a key driver of growth by 51 percent, the number citing the digital economy has jumped to 26 percent (from 14 percent), followed by logistics (25 percent) and energy/ public utilities (21 percent).

Among the country’s advantages, according to the survey, are quality of life (78 percent), transport and logistics infrastructure (76 percent), telecommunications and digital infrastructure (73 percent) and the skill level of the workforce (70 percent).

Less favorable are the assessments for the taxation of businesses (42 percent) and the flexibility of labor legislation (47 percent).

Commenting on the EY report, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greece has become an attractive investment destination.

“Not only because it ranks it, for the first time, among the 10 most promising European countries for new endeavors but also because nearly two thirds of the businesses that participated in the survey consider [Greece’s] image improved in comparison with the previous year, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“Also, more than one third of companies reply that they plan to develop or expand their activities in our country,” Mitsotakis said.

Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis announced that a new digital app will soon be unveiled that allows investors to track their investment file every step of the way.

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