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Editorial

DOING BUSINESS IN GREECE

Contributed by Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates

Greece lies in South-Eastern Europe covering an area of 130,000km2 with a population of 11 million. It borders Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and has close trade links with Italy and Cyprus (the latter a particularly close trading partner due not only to geography but also the shared historical and cultural links between the two countries).

Greece is a full member of the EU, the Eurozone, the OECD and NATO. The country has a Mediterranean climate with temperatures ranging from 5C0-20C0 during winter and from 25C0-35C0 during the summer.

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Legal market overview

Greece continues to face many challenges, political and economic. The unsettled negotiations between the Greek government and its international creditors have hampered domestic economic activity as well as inbound investment, which of course has had a knock-on effect on law firms. This was compounded in 2016 by a six-month anti-austerity strike by the country’s lawyers, which prevented litigation and reduced advisory work. In addition, low oil prices continue to negatively impact the offshore market, and shipping practices are suffering from the low rates of return on dry shipping.

Many firms have been forced to cut fees as well as staff, and working hours have also been restricted. Despite the difficult market, privatisation has gained new momentum and the state is proceeding with its planned programme. It is also implementing several infrastructure projects, such as the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, and the upgrade and development of 14 regional airports. In addition, a new national support scheme for renewable electricity is expected to accelerate projects in the energy sector. Following the third recapitalisation of the main Greek banks, some commercial banks have started financing renewable energy projects. As a framework for non-performing loan (NPL) management is adopted, many firms are expecting an increase in related work. Insolvency, restructuring and employment matters are also prevalent, and, as tax regulations evolve, firms are advising on a raft of tax-related matters.

Local firms continue to dominate the legal market, including highly regarded full-service practices at Bernitsas Law; PotamitisVekris Law Firm; Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm (KG Law Firm); Dryllerakis & Associates; Karatzas & Partners; and Koutalidis Law Firm.

 

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