Firm Profile > Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm > Athens, Greece
Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm Offices
103 VAS SOFIAS AVENUE
115 21 ATHENS
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Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm > The Legal 500 Rankings
Employment Tier 1
Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm fields a ‘top-quality employment law department’, which is noted for its ‘depth, proven expertise and experience’. The team handles the full range of multi-jurisdictional employment issues including regulatory work and restructuring projects. Anastasios Triantafyllos is a leading name with experience in trade secrets, fatalities at work and workplace privacy mandates; he heads up the practice with the ‘outstanding’ Theodore Pistiolis, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and dependable’ and well-versed in new employment legislation. In a recent highlight, the group advised Euler Hermes on new employment agreement templates, acted in an alleged case of sexual harassment and handled a range of day-to-day matters. Senior associate Paraskevas Zourntos is a key name for contentious issues and ‘provides the highest possible level of legal advice’.
Theodore Pistiolis; Anastasios Triantafyllos;
‘Within the company I was solely involved with Senior Associate Mr. Paraskevas Zourntos. Mr. Zourntos played a key part in helping with the startup of our company as he provided impeccable information and services, dealing seamlessly with any employment and workforce-related issues we were facing. I went to Mr. Zourntos by recommendation and I surely will not be seeking relevant legal advice anywhere else and will highly recommend Mr. Zourntos and Andersen Legal as a whole.’
‘We have closely cooperated with the firm for several years. They advise us on employment & corporate and commercial issues. We always receive high level professional services and they take a unique approach to difficult challenges. Overall, the team demonstrates professionalism, deep industry knowledge and strong work ethic values.’
‘The firm has a great reputation in the Greek market in terms of employment law issues. Anastasios Triantafyllos & Theodore Pistiolis both manage the whole team with professionalism, delegate effectively and have an eye in every case. Their dedication made them a trusted partner of ours. Paraskevas Zourntos advises us on several cases. He works in tight deadlines and his advice is always precise and helpful. He is reliable and effective while he delivers great results.’
‘Andersen Legal has a top quality employment law department. The practice has in depth, genuine and proven expertise and experience and has gained a great reputation for its lawyers and for vigorous representation before courts and regulatory authorities. Client service is above expectations with a main focus on meeting client’ needs. The team works with consistency in order to ensure that a client’s competitive advantage is maintained. Furthermore, the firm has strong litigation expertise. We strongly believe that having Andersen Legal by our side makes a huge difference.’
‘The lawyers we are working with are Thodoris Pistiolis and Paraskevas Zourntos. Thodoris is an exceptional consultant with real understanding of client’s needs and requests. He is extremely organised and proactive and he has the ability to put things in a business perspective to ensure that his client is always protected. Paraskevas provides the highest possible level of legal advice, has successfully been involved in all aspects of our firm’s employment matters. You can definitely rely on Paraskevas when you want to get the job done.’
‘Creativity, supportive, acknowledgement of clients concerns.’
‘Paraskevas Zourntos: excellent collaboration, deep knowledge of the Employment Law.’
‘When it comes to employment law issues, our contact persons are mainly Theodore Pistiolis, Tassos Triantafyllos & Paraskevas Zourntos. Theodore is an experienced lawyer, has excellent customer facing capabilities and his focus is always on meeting client’s needs. Tassos is an effective negotiator with rational thinking skills that always come up with a solution for every single problem. Theodore and Tassos are consider top employment specialists with deep knowledge and expertise. Last but not least, Paraskevas is a talented lawyer with great recommendations, hard worker and very effective in everything he is in charge of.’
‘People are excellent, dedicated, aware of every issue and always on time. They treat the issues as their own. They are always available and readily available.’
‘Theodoros Pistiolis is an outstanding partner. Provides high quality advice and supports us. Extremely knowledgeable and dependable, understands our business. Paraskavas Zourdos has been a real support to us and is a key person to turn to for labour advice. Top quality and availability are his key characteristics.’
Allianz Insurance Company
Energean Oil & Gas S.A.
Skai Media Group
Odyssey Venture Partners
Red Path Mining Contractor & Engineering
Water supply and Sewerage Company of Athens
Intracom Defense Electronics SA
Association of Passenger Shipping Companies
Intracom Holdings SA
Intrasoft International SA
British American Tobacco
Enel Green Power
Good Food & More GmBh
L.N.P.T Offshore Hospitality Services LTD
Mantis Informatics S.A.
ITF Hellas Pharmaceuticals
Minoan Lines S.A.
Bank of Thessaly
Environmental Protection Engineering
TMT Tier 1Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm stands out for its extensive expertise in GDPR implementation and counts Gap, Starbucks and Attica Bank among its clients. Practice head Themistoklis Giannakopoulos combines extensive knowledge of technology and EU law; he and the team advise on managing personal data breaches in addition to e-commerce, consumer protection, IT, software and telecoms law. The practice is also increasingly active in the betting, gaming and lotteries sectors. Supervising associate Nicholas Zelios is a key member of the team.
PUBLIC PROPERTIES COMPANY (ETAD)
EULER HERMES HELLAS
AEGEAN BALTIC BANK
INTRACOM HOLDINGS S.A.
INTRASOFT INTERNATIONAL S.A.
DIANKO HOLDINGS S.A.
ENCODE GREECE S.A.,
ENCODE M. EAST S.A.
ODYSSEY VENTURE PARTNERS
INTRACOM TELECOM S.A.
PLAISIO COMPUTERS S.A.
PEPPER RADIO S.A.
INTRACOM DEFENSE ELECTRONICS
ANT1 TV S.A.
SKAI MEDIA GROUP
BINARY TREE S.A.
ENEL GREEN POWER HELLAS
ENTERSOFT MIDDLE EAST FZ-LLC
CROWNE PLAZA ATHENS
NEA ODOS (HIGHWAY OPERATION COMPANY)
KENTRIKI ODOS (HIGHWAY OPERATION COMPANY)
QUEST ON LINE
MUNICIPALITY OF AGIOS DIMITRIOS
Real estate and construction Tier 2
The team at Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm is jointly led by Vanita Kiriakouli and Theodore Pistiolis. Kiriakouli is a specialist in transactions, leases, title ownership and property finance, while Pistiolis leads on construction matters, where he is particularly reputed for his energy sector expertise and assists clients from a project's inception through to the related disputes. The group also has expertise in the transport and social care sectors, with blue-chip corporates, developers and investors forming the client roster.
Vanita Kiriakouli; Theodore Pistiolis;
‘The team stands out for its responsiveness, availability and flexibility. It stands out also for the expertise of the team members and deep experience in the relevant fields of expertise.’
‘The team’s members stand out for their attitude and skills. Collaborative, business oriented, experienced lawyers and at the same time, expert in their respective field.’
‘They are extremely professional and capable team. They work hard, they are down to the point and stand by your side at all times. They are considered one of the best teams in real estate in Greece. They handle extremely complex projects and they will insist you do the job the right way. They save a lot of time, money and energy for their clients because of their deep knowledge of real estate market.’
‘Vanita Kiriakouli is the person that everyone wants to work with for real estate matters. She has a unique knowledge of real estate issues and keeps a business view on her cases. You feel comfortable and safe when Vanita handles your case. Managing partner T. Pistiolis is also one of the best lawyers we have worked with. His overview in all cases and his input on how to make things easier is of extreme value. All the team together is unique. Happy to work with them and sure that they know what they are doing.’
‘Andersen Legal has literally supported our company since the first day. Together, we successfully closed numerous investments and construction projects. They are business minded and their work goes way beyond just doing the paperwork. They find smart solutions, have an innovative approach and seek to protect the client not just for the transaction but for its future implications as well. We feel lucky they work for us.’
‘In the real estate sector we work with Mrs. Vanita Kiriakouli. She is one of the most dynamic female lawyers in Greece. She has confidence, knows the details of her practice and follows each project until it is closed. She insists on details and we are extremely happy with her. The Managing Partner Mr. Theodore Pistiolis is also following our projects and makes sure that the job will be done correctly. He knows real estate and construction business and is well recognised for his expertise. The kind of lawyer everyone wants to have on their side. Both are always available and willing to help.’
TOP PROPERTIES SA
INTRA BLUE SA
ALPHA ANAPTIXIAKI SA
BLUE PRO LTD
FTELIA PROPERTY LTD
BITA ANAPTYXIAKI S.A.
KAVOURI RESIDENCES SEVEN
CHRISOPIGI HOTELS SA
VIVATHENS KOUKAKI SA
CHRISOPIGI HOTELS SA
Theodore Pistiolis; Dimitra Gkanatsiou
‘We receive high level professional services and unique approach to difficult challenges. Overall, the team demonstrates professionalism, deep industry knowledge and strong work ethics.’
‘Theodore Pistiolis is our contact for corporate & commercial issues. He has deep knowledge and experience and he is a great negotiator. His passion for this job is obvious in every assignment. Dimitra Gkanatsiou is a corporate lawyer, hard worker and very client oriented. We really appreciate her commitment and her personal attention to every detail.’
‘Very good collaboration between the members of the team, which is reflected in their provision of legal services. Very quick and immediate support and reaction to any questions/issues that may arise, effective cooperation between all parties, in order to provide solutions to complicated and difficult issues.’
‘Deep knowledge of their area of practice, immediate reaction to any problems, which arise, proactivity, effective management of the different legal issues, professionalism.’
‘We work with them basically for every aspect of our business activity. Andersen Legal is our legal advisor for corporate, employment, real estate and tax law issues. The firm has experienced lawyer for every practice. Overall, we value their commitment to excellence, knowing that they are always looking to help us grow our business. Their experience really makes the difference. They are certain one of the best law firms in Greece and I am quite sure that being a full member of an international organization such Andersen Global will give them the opportunity to further expand their expertise to more industries and markets.’
‘Theodore Pistiolis is a best-in-class lawyer. He really knows how to handle a client. He keeps promises and know how to keep every project moving along to meet the business objectives and deadlines.’
‘Our employment issues are being handled by Paraskevas Zourntos. He advises us in the best possible way, no matter how much effort will be necessary.’
‘For real estate issues we work with Vanita Kiriakouli. Vanita is a passionate, hard working person. She is characterised by high commitment to getting results. A great asset for every law firm.’
‘Working with Martha Papasotiriou is always a great experience: open-minded and flexible, very efficient in the entire working process. She is effective and demonstrates tax law expertise, good business understanding and excellent communication skills.’
‘A dedicated team of lawyers work for us providing advice in numerous corporate and commercial issues of the company. The team is led by Theodore Pistiolis. The firm has a very effective working team. Client services is always of high quality.’
‘Theodore Pistiolis is considered a specialist in terms of corporate & commercial matters. Combining his vast experienced with hard work he really knows how to manage the team.’
‘This team thinks not only as a team of lawyers but also as part of your own team. They want your investments to succeed and they take into account every aspect of each transaction. They come back with ideas, are resourceful and have an eye for detail. Many projects of ours were completed successfully because of their persistence and business mind. Andersen Legal is continuing to be our trusted partner for more than a decade.’
‘Theodore Pistiolis is definitely the lawyer to go to. In spite of his substantial work load, he is always available and committed to making things happen. He is well respected and very creative when it comes to problem solving.’
Enel Green Power
Odyssey Venture Partners
EFKA (Greek Social Security Organization)
Sky Media Group
Athenian Properties S.A.
EYDAP S.A. (Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company)
Union of National Television Broadcasters
Dianko Holdings S.A.
Alpha Anaptyxiaki S.A.
Medical Marijuana Group Corporation
Tax Tier 3
Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm ‘demonstrates the highest professional standards in every case it handles’. Multi-jurisdictional tax matters are a particular focus with the team handling a range of mandates including tax treatment issues for cross-border mergers, transfer pricing work and double taxation treaties. Overseen by Martha Papasotiriou, who has ‘excellent analytical skills’, the team represents a number of high-net-worth individuals along with clients in the TMT, construction, energy, tourism and manufacturing sectors.
‘The whole team demonstrates the highest professional standards in every case they handle. All work is done on time, within strictly stipulated time frames and with proper quality. The team has deep knowledge and expertise and uses the appropriate methodology and tools according to each project specifications.’
‘Martha Papasotiriou handles our tax related issues. She has excellent analytical skills and she offers accurate and effective advice. She is reliable with a prompt response time and impressive deliverables. She always has a positive attitude against every problem, provides innovate solutions and transforms problems to opportunities.’
‘Nikos Siakantaris has a broad industry and commercial knowledge. He is client oriented, he understands business objectives and sets clear goals to each project. He has exceptional team building skills and he can motivate other people to deliver their work on time and with high quality.’
‘We have work with Andersen Legal tax team for many years. They are efficient, fast and business oriented. Together we handled many international clients and they gave solid advice in complicated matters. They know how to give practical advice and at the same time to be on the safe side. I would definitely suggest Andersen Legal to handle tax cases.’
‘Nikos Siakantaris is one of the most important and well known tax advisers in Greece. Martha Papasotiriou has vast experience, she is trustworthy and easy to work with.’
Intrasoft International S.A.
Several Greek Ultra High Net Worth Individuals in relation to Lagarde and other Lists
Eleia Hotel Ltd
Odyssey Venture Partners
B2B Kapital S.A.
Sikyon Beach Hotel
Encode Middle – East FC LLC
Encode UK LTD
Agence France Press
Technincal Chamber of Greece
Apospi Holdings S.A.
Medical Marijuana Group Corporation
Andersen Legal - Pistiolis - Triantafyllos & Associates Law Firm > Firm Profile
The firm: Andersen Legal in Greece (Pistiolis – Triantafyllos & Associates law firm) is based in Athens, with in-depth, genuine and proven expertise in certain areas of law and specific industry sectors. The firm is full member of Andersen Global.
Areas of practice: The firm specialises in the following practices:
Employment: the practice focuses on both the public and private sector, and provides comprehensive services in three areas: preparation of the right documentation; advice on individual issues and disputes; and representation at tribunals and courts. The firm prepares all types of terms and conditions of employment, contracts and service agreements, as well as employment procedures and company handbooks which reflect the particular requirements of clients. It advises on wide-ranging employment issues relating to large-scale restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, redundancies, business transfers and collective disputes.
Telecoms, media and technology (TMT): the TMT practice is built upon a strong regulatory/competition, transactional and litigation foundation. The firm has both substantial industry and government experience and, due to its in-depth regulatory/competition law expertise, it advises government, national regulatory authorities and market players on every aspect of the electronic communications sector.
Commercial and corporate law: the practice advises on a wide variety of commercial agreements and all aspects of trading law. It also serves as general counsel for corporations, representing them in all aspects of their corporate life – from the original establishment of the enterprise through all aspects of its evolution and operation. The practice is also active in corporate transactions – mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, as well as change of control transactions.
Real estate and construction: the practice provides legal advice on all aspects of construction and engineering law from the beginning of a project through its completion. It advises real estate funds, project developers, major construction companies, industrial enterprises and their real estate subsidiaries, local authorities, enterprises from the trade sector and leisure industry, hotel enterprises, consultancy firms and awarded projects for institutional private and public investors.
Antitrust, competition and regulatory: the practice provides a high level of services with competition law-compliant solutions which are creative, innovative and business-oriented. The firm advises on all relevant areas of national and EU competition law (antitrust, merger control and state aid). The practice focuses on antitrust investigations, both regarding prohibited collusion and abuse of dominance. One of the practice’s core characteristics is its efficient pre-emptive approach in carrying out antitrust audits, developing compliance programme and training and assisting in the implementation.
Tax law: the firm provides tax consultancy services to its clients on the full range of local Greek tax law, such as corporate taxation, M&As and tax restructurings, VAT and indirect taxes, tax litigation and administrative representation in tax disputes. Furthermore, the firm’s tax law practice has an extensive experience in a vast variety of international and EU tax law issues.
Litigation: Greek regulators have become increasingly aggressive in their enforcement of alleged transgressions committed by businesses in transactions or during the course of day-to-day operations. The practice is noted for its effective compliance, avoidance of regulatory intervention and nullification of potential disputes which are critical for any company with Greek operations. The litigators of the practice evaluate cases at the earliest stage to determine if litigation can be avoided. The firm’s litigation expertise includes, antitrust and competition litigation, arbitration, banking and finance litigation, civil law litigation, corporate and commercial litigation, cross-border litigation, employment litigation and dispute resolution, environment, health and safety, construction and real estate litigation and dispute resolution, insurance litigation, intellectual property litigation, TMT litigation and dispute resolution, tax controversy and dispute resolution.
|Telecoms, media and technology (TMT)||Theodore Pistiolis|
|Telecoms, media and technology (TMT)||Themis Giannakopoulos|
|Commercial and corporate||Theodore Pistiolis|
|Real estate and construction||Vanita Kiriakouli|
|Antitrust, competition and regulatory||Themis Giannakopoulos|
|Mr Panagiotis Datsikas||View Profile|
|Mr Themis Giannakopoulos||View Profile|
|Mrs Dimitra Gkavogiannaki||View Profile|
|Mrs Georgia Gkliaou||View Profile|
|Mrs Filitsa Glymi||View Profile|
|Mrs Lydia Kakourou||View Profile|
|Mrs Vanita Kiriakouli||View Profile|
|Mrs Sofia Kokkinara||View Profile|
|Mrs Kleio Kondi||View Profile|
|Mr Simeon Kretsis||View Profile|
|Mrs Ioanna Legaki||View Profile|
|Mrs Giouli Menti||View Profile|
|Mrs Evaggelia Mprinia||View Profile|
|Mrs Theodora Oikonomopoulou||View Profile|
|Mrs Martha Papasotiriou||View Profile|
|Mr Theodore Pistiolis||Managing Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Tassos Repakis||View Profile|
|Mr Anastassios Triantafyllos||View Profile|
|Mrs Alkisti Zafeirakou||View Profile|
|Mr Paraskevas Zourntos||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of lawyers : 33
MembershipsEuropean Employment Lawyers Association International Bar Association
Doing Business In
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.
Greek is the official language but English is widely spoken and, as in other jurisdictions, the most common lingua franca of doing business.
LIVING IN GREECE
Citizens of EU member-states which have ratified the Schengen treaty are free to move, live and work in Greece (subject to minimal requirements).
Nationals from non-EU countries must obtain an entry visa before arriving in Greece and a residence permit if they are also seeking employment.
Working days are Monday to Friday. Public sector buildings and banks are open from 08:00 to 14.30 while private sector businesses tend to work lengthier hours. The cost of living is just below the European Union average. In recent years opportunities for buying and renting high quality housing have increased. There are many English-speaking private schools for children of foreign parents alongside the normal free state schools.
Greece’s highly developed infrastructure (road networks, airports, ports, energy and telecommunication networks) is comparable (and, arguably in some instances, favorable) to that of any other developed Western European economy. It allows for easy implementation of almost any investment activity.
Greece is a presidential parliamentary democracy. The executive body is the Government headed by the Prime Minister. At the time of writing, the left-wing and right-wing parties, SYRIZA and ANEL respectively, formed a coalition government following the general election of September 2015.
Legislative authority is vested in the unicameral Hellenic Parliament and the President of the Greek Republic. Laws are voted on by Parliament and require ratification by the President to be enacted. Judicial authority is independent of Parliament and the Government.
Greece is a full member of the European Monetary Union. Its currency is the Euro.
In 2016, the Greek economy stabilised remarkably following the much-reported turbulence of 2015 and is expected to achieve a modest recovery. Greece has hastened reform efforts in a number of key economic areas, such as the product and service markets, and is radically changing its pension and social security systems. A number of large-scale privatisation projects are also under way. Current GDP growth is around 0.3% and in 2017 the Greek economy is expected to achieve an increase to the tune of 2.3%. Under current conditions the country can reasonably expect to achieve growth rates of between 2% and 3.5% for the next two years. In 2016, unemployment stood at 23.4% which, though high and well above the EU average, represented a fall for the third consecutive year. However, from an investor’s perspective, high unemployment is a driver of Greece’s well-known reputation for providing an exceptionally highly skilled workforce, particularly in areas such as engineering and technology, at affordable costs. Low OPEXs have led many multinationals to establish shared services and production hubs in recent years. The banking sector is in good shape with capital adequacy ratios above the EU average and expected to improve further, due to a strengthened framework for NPL management and resolution. The capital controls imposed in July 2015 remain in place but have been gradually relaxed to create a more investment and business-friendly environment.
STARTING A NEW BUSINESS
Greece is undergoing a number of economic, institutional and social reforms to foster new direct investment and job opportunities. Starting a new business in Greece takes an average of 13 days. A one stop-shop procedure has greatly streamlined the procedure for establishing a new company and registration costs have reduced significantly. The most common corporate entities in Greece are the Private Company (IKE) and the Societe Anonyme (SA) with the capital requirements for each being €1 and €24,000 respectively. Foreign entities, however, may establish a Greek office and conduct their business through that branch.
A Private Company requires a managing director while a Societe Anonyme requires a Board of Directors (with a minimum of 3 on the board). A branch requires a legal representative with a valid Greek Tax Identification Number.
BUSINESS AND REAL ESTATE TAXATION
CORPORATE BUSINESS TAXATION
Greek companies are taxed on their profits before distribution with the current rate set at 29%. As of 1st January 2017, a 15% withholding tax on dividends also applies. The Greek Income Tax Code incorporates the EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive. According to this Directive, dividends distributed to a parent company, established in another EU country, are tax-free provided that the shareholding is at least 10% and the related shareholding has been maintained for a minimum of two years).
A Greek company can deduct all expenses that are actual and evidenced business expenses from its profits under certain criteria (e.g. they are incurred for the benefit of the business or are carried out in the course of its normal commercial transactions). The Income Tax Code provides a list of non-deductible expenses.
The VAT rate for the supply of goods and services is currently 24%. Certain goods and services have a reduced rate of 13% (e.g. fresh food products, electricity and natural gas) while others are subject to a further reduced rate of 6% (e.g. newspapers, theatre tickets, human pharmaceuticals products and hotel accommodation).
REAL ESTATE TAXES
As a general comment, the purchase and ownership of property in Greece is subject to different taxation types, regardless of whether the purchaser/owner of the property is an individual or a legal entity.
TAXES ON ACQUISITION
REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX
Real estate acquisition is subject either to VAT at a rate of 24% or to a real estate transfer tax (RETT). The RETT is analysed according to either the contract price or the objective value, whichever is higher, and calculated at a rate of 3%. The objective tax value is estimated as the minimum value at which a property will be transferred for tax purposes. In addition to RETT, a local authority surcharge, equal to 3% of the RETT, is also levied. Furthermore, there are certain additional third party costs related to the acquisition of the property.
TAXES ON OWNERSHIP – UNIFIED REAL ESTATE OWNERSHIP TAX (ENFIA)
Ownership of Greek real estate is subject to the Unified Real Estate Ownership Tax (ENFIA), which is calculated on the basis of property held as of 1st January each year. ENFIA consists of a main tax and a supplementary tax. The main tax ranges from €2 to €13 per square meter and depends on a number of factors.
The supplementary tax is calculated at a rate of 0.1% to 1.15% (and for legal entities up to 5.5%) on the corresponding objective tax value.
OTHER ADDITIONAL TAXES
Real estate ownership is also subject to a Real Estate Duty (RED) and other miscellaneous taxes and duties that may be levied by the Municipality in which the real estate is located.
Greece has, and continues to develop, several agreements for the avoidance of double taxation to ensure that income will not be taxed in more than one country. It currently has more than 55 signed treaties with other countries for this purpose.
Formerly, the employment market in Greece was one of the most regulated in Europe. However, reforms have led to significant de-regulation aimed at fostering a more employer-friendly environment for domestic and foreign business alike.
Severance payment on termination of an employment relationship has been reduced, as have the minimum legal wage (currently at 586 euros per month), additional payment for overtime (currently an employee’s legal schedule of work is 40 hours work per week) and payment for working during night hours (22.00-06.00 a.m). Probationary periods have been increased to 12 months during which the employer may dismiss the employee without the obligation to pay severance.
Greece’s legal system has been subject to vast reform in recent years to increase efficiency and speed. It has amended its civil procedure rules and introduced tighter deadlines. Parties may provide their evidence before a judge within 100 days of filing forms. This is expected to significantly shorten the average time taken to achieve first instance court decisions from two to three years to approximately 8 months. The complete judiciary procedure, including court of appeal cases, are expected to take an average of two years (down from the current average of five to six years).
Greece has several competitive advantages, under international standards, which make investment in certain sectors extremely attractive. More generally, significant investments (above €40m) attract substantial tax relief and are subject to a fast-track process which greatly reduces bureaucracy and streamlines the obtainment of licenses.
Profits earned by Greek companies from the operation of ships registered under the Greek flag are subject to a special tonnage tax, which satisfies the income tax obligation of the ship owner and shareholder. An exemption can apply to income derived from operating a ship, profit on the sale thereof and receipt of insurance claims. The tax is assessed on the basis of the capacity and age of the vessel. Exemptions from, or a reduction in, the tax are granted in certain circumstances such as when the ship is built or repaired in Greece.
With its 16,000 kms of coastline, more than 6,000 islands and an ancient cultural civilisation, Greece is renowned as one of the premier tourist destinations, not just in Europe but, in the entire world. Investment in Greek tourism is therefore one of the most attractive options available.
In the upcoming years, Greece is poised to make significant investments aimed at shifting the tourist’s focus on the traditional ‘sun & beach’ image of Greece to a variety of higher-value, higher end experiences such as:
- Thematic tourism where specific ‘themes’ such as wellness, romance or luxury are used to add value and extend the scope of typical sun and beach holidays.
- Nautical tourism aimed at attracting more cruise liners and improving current yachting and sailing offerings.
- City-break tourism focused on Athens and Thessaloniki.
- Cultural and religious tourism targeting restoration of Greece’s world-leading historical heritage.
- Medical tourism which presents an exciting growth opportunity if Greece’s highly skilled medical workforce can leverage investment in existing facilities and infrastructure.
- Meetings and Incentives (MICE) – tourism positioning Greece as a major meeting and conference centre for regional associations and companies.
- Integrated resorts – new developments in existing and new tourism destinations taking advantage of new legislation for the development of integrated resorts and the acquisition of residence permits by non-EU citizens who invest in Greek real estate.
Located at the crossroads between East and West, Greece is strategically positioned to play a significant role in the region’s energy sector. Ample renewable energy potential (wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, solar and solar thermal) combined with ongoing large-scale infrastructure projects (e.g. the TAP Gas Pipeline and other oil and gas exploration projects) make the country a key player in the formulation of Western European energy policy, as well as providing significant investment opportunities.
The energy sector in Greece is poised to grow significantly in the upcoming years driven by a number of factors:
- The optimisation of energy supply requiring a reduction of fossil-fuel generated electricity and increase of renewable energy.
- The state-planned privatisation of major energy assets such as PPC, the Natural Gas distributor (DEPA) and Hellenic Petroleum.
- Liberalisation of the electricity and natural gas markets and the further separation of production and supply from transmission networks.
- The potential for Greece to become a European gateway for natural gas and oil resources through such projects as the TAP gas pipeline, and oil and gas exploration opportunities in the Aegean and Ionian seas.
- Efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs driven by technologies such as smart metering, smart grids, LED lighting and energy-efficient buildings.
- Major infrastructure initiatives such as the interconnection of the Greek islands.
Greece can become a key player in the transportation of energy from East to West through pipeline projects, electricity grid interconnectivity and alternative means of ensuring security of supply through Mediterranean offshore reserves (e.g. LNG terminals).
Due to its climate, enjoying more than 250 days of sunshine, or 3,000 sunny hours, per year and with many high wind regions, Greece has significant untapped generation potential, particularly in renewables, which can potentially enhance the energy mix for the whole of Europe.
Main investment opportunities:
- Privatisation of state assets.
- New infrastructure for natural gas transmission (liquid gas terminals, gas pipelines, gas distribution systems).
- International public tenders for hydrocarbon exploration in suitable Greek regions.
- Renewable energy projects (wind, solar, biomass, small hydro, geothermal etc.).
- Energy efficiency businesses and investments.
- Grid connectivity for the islands (PPP).
The ICT sector is a major player in the Greek economy and driven mainly by demand for automation and digitalisation in the public and private sector.
The number of ICT business opportunities is expected to increase significantly in the upcoming years driven by:
- Further automation and digitalisation in the public sector.
- The speedy adoption of new technology by the Greek public.
- The significant growth of technology clusters, incubators, accelerators and technology-focused VC activity, as well as the large number of Greek ICT entrepreneurs.
- Ever-increasing innovation and research activities.
Recently Greece was the subject of several new investment initiatives announced by some of the largest global ICT players including Nokia, Microsoft and HTC.
Greek engineers have been included in the top 20 global ICT human resources pool by The Economist and have topped the ITUICT development index. Furthermore, over 70% of the Greek population speaks English.
ATTRACTIVE FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Investments in the Greek technology market can benefit from several funding opportunities from both public, EU structural funds and PPP initiatives, and private sources.
Greece can cover all infrastructure necessary for a major ICT investment from telecommunications (fixed, mobile, data) to hosting and server facilities.
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
Greece possesses an extensive network of Science and Technology Parks and Higher Education Centres.
Greece is the EU country with easiest access to major Eastern ICT producers such as China, Japan and Korea.
With its highly-skilled workforce and established R&D and manufacturing capability, the Greek life sciences and pharmaceuticals industry exhibits significant growth potential both domestically and internationally.
The Greek pharmaceutical sector has traditionally been a strong contributor to the Greek economy, focusing mainly on domestic markets. However, the shift towards generics provides a strong opportunity for the sector to leverage its know-how both in Greece, where cost pressures are creating a major shift towards generic drug consumption, and in European and other international markets.
Investments in the Greek life sciences sector will be driven by:
- The export potential of Greek generic pharmaceutical products due to the expected growth of European (particularly CEE) markets and the competitive advantages and know-how of the Greek players.
- The high number of new R&D start-ups and research efforts focused on innovation in the biotech and life science sectors.
- The leveraging of synergies with the tourist industry for the development of specialised medical tourism and medical care facilities.
REGIONAL MARKET POTENTIAL FOR GENERIC PHARMACEUTICALS
The CEE market doubled in size between 2010 and 2015, growing at twice the annual rate of the rest of Europe.
A regional hub for clinical trials: Greece has established itself as a major hub for clinical trials with most major international pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical trials in the country.
Life sciences research and pharmaceuticals manufacturing are well-established in Greece, demonstrating market-leading know-how and world-class collaborations
SKILLED MEDICAL PERSONNEL
Greece has a substantial number of expert physicians whose skills are sought after across the world.
MEDICAL TOURISM MARKET POTENTIAL
The development of new medical tourism products, combining healthcare and holidays, is expected to dramatically increase.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
Food and agriculture has traditionally been one of Greece’s major export sectors with an established European presence, continued growth in the US and a number of companies exhibiting high export growth. From olive oil and flour products to honey and processed meats, Greek companies have leveraged the competitive advantages offered by Greek primary production in order to enter, and remain, competitive in global markets. Food and agriculture is therefore one of the most dynamic and high-growth sectors in Greek manufacturing.
Greek companies have also managed to innovate and differentiate themselves, both in terms of the product and packaging.
The Greek food and agriculture sector is expected to be a significant contributor to GDP growth, driven by several key market trends and competitive advantages:
- The recent shift towards organic, natural ingredients where Greek products are highly regarded and often command a higher premium.
- The prevalence of the Mediterranean Diet as a paradigm of healthy eating across the world.
- The key drivers of health, ethics, physical fitness and pleasure that affect consumer preferences in developed economies.
- The increased drive for self-sufficiency and food safety which is one of the key social challenges of the EU’s ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.
- The potential for clusters of innovation and R&D in several specialised Greek food supply chains combining EU funding, the work of research and academic institutes, and the interest of industrial champions in the application of new technologies.
Many multinationals are enjoying the benefits of being based in Greece. Giants such as Nestlé, Kraft Foods, Barilla, Cadbury, Unilever, General Mills and Friesland Campina manufacture a wide range of products and find that Greek markets are receptive to new product lines (as well as established favorites).
BRAND VALUE AND POSITIONING
The Greek diet is one of the pre-eminent examples of the Mediterranean diet and is accepted as one of the healthiest and most nutritional in the world.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE CONDITIONS
Greece’s climate can sustain some of the most diverse, high-quality natural raw materials and produce, including exotic ingredients such as saffron and truffles.
TRADITIONAL HIGH-QUALITY INGREDIENTS
Greece has a number of recognisable and local ingredients, the quality of which is acclaimed by some of the greatest chefs in the world.
SPECIALISED KNOW-HOW AND EXPERTISE
Greece has a longstanding, world-renowned reputation for agriculture and food production.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Greece’s universities and research institutes focus heavily on providing assistance to the food and beverage industry. A number of highly specialised research centers, such as the University of Thessaly, the Food Industrial Research & Technological Development Company (ETAT), the Institute of Agrobiotechnology and the Institute of Aquaculture, assist manufacturers and processors developing innovative solutions to meet the needs of today’s marketplace.
Standing at the crossroads of three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa) Greece has, since early antiquity, been a strategic node for the transportation of people, goods and entire cultures. More specifically, maritime transport is the most important mode of global freight transport, accounting for 80% of global trade by volume and over 70% by value. According to a recent study, containers throughout European ports are growing at an annual rate of 6%, while traffic through South-Eastern Mediterranean ports has been growing by more than 8% annually. In upcoming years trade flows between Asia and South-Eastern Europe are expected to increase by 7% annually.
Greek ports are strategically located and could easily be transformed into regional logistics hubs for goods travelling from Asia to the EU. Piraeus is Greece’s main port with significant capacity both as a container port and as a car terminal. It is also close to the main Mediterranean maritime route (210 nm) and provides access to the huge Thriassio logistics center and a high-speed cargo train route into the heart of Europe.
Other Greek ports with the capacity to become gateways to Europe include Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli and Patras.
There are several opportunities for investment in the Greek logistics sector, driven by:
- The growth of Greek ports as gateways from Asia to Europe.
- The planned privatisation of critical logistics assets such as the Port of Piraeus (OLP), Port of Thessaloniki (OLTH) and the Greek train operator (TRAINOSE).
- Continued investment in the improvement of rail and road infrastructure, including the recent recommencement of several major motorway projects.
- The opportunity for major global manufacturers to use Greece as an assembly, logistics and quality assurance center for products manufactured in Asia and sold in Europe.
COMPETITIVE FREIGHT COSTS
The location of Greek ports offers competitive sea freight costs for containers and access to a number of growing economies in the region.
Continuing infrastructure investment means that Greece’s major ports are now directly connected with modern road and rail links, facilitating intermodal transport of cargo to their final destination quickly and cost effectively. Under the new European Infrastructure Policy (TEN-T), more than €26bn will be invested in European infrastructure, including Greek railways, roads, ports, airports and multimodal infrastructure projects
Greece is part of the EU’s Orient/East-Med Corridor which connects the North, Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas.
WORLD-LEADING SHIPPING SECTOR
Greek ship owners control the world’s largest merchant fleet.
KNOW-HOW AND SKILLED LABOUR
Greece’s manufacturing and maritime tradition ensures the availability of skilled logistics and assembly employees for the staffing of local distribution centers.
EFFICIENT GLOBAL LOGISTICS PROVIDERS
Several global third-party logistics providers such as Kuhne & Nagel, DHL, Schenker, Geodis, Panalpina, and Express operate in Greece. A logistics network funded by the Hellenic Federation of Industries (SEV) was recently created to improve collaboration between these providers and the rest of the Greek economy.
GOLDEN VISA PROGRAM
The government of Greece instituted a procedure for the obtainment of permanent residence permits, renewable every five years, for foreign owners of Greek real estate exceeding €250,000 in value. Beneficiaries of this new right of entry and residence, for a period of five years, are:
- third country citizens who own Greek real estate property with a minimum value of €250,000;
- third country citizens who have signed a timeshare agreement (lease) for a minimum of 10 years where the value of the lease is at least €250,000;
- third country citizens who purchase a plot of land or acreage and erect a building where the cumulative value is at least €250,000;
- third country citizens who have signed a ten-year timeshare agreement (lease);
- family members of the third country citizens described above.
Privatisation is a key part of the financial, economic and social reforms currently underway in Greece. The portfolio of privatisations is a diverse one, affecting the corporate, infrastructure and land development sectors. Major projects include privatisation of the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company; the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator; Hellenic Petroleum; Hellenic Post; and e-auctions for real estate owned by the Greek State (among several others). All these projects are either in progress or completed, each offering a remarkable opportunity for direct or indirect investment in Greece. Please note that industry analysis is from ‘Enterprise Greece’, which belongs to the Ministry of Economy and Development.
Theodore Pistiolis, Managing PartnerAndersen is an international firm. As such, it combines global reach with local expertise and like-minded professionals that share the same values and are eager to offer outstanding client service
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Andersen Legal from your competitors?
Our firm is part of an international organization with a presence in 147 locations worldwide and more than 4.500 professionals. This allows us to follow our clients’ needs and support their development plans across the globe. At each location our clients receive local expertise along with best-in-class seamless service.
Our team in Greece is dedicated to providing high level expertise in specific sectors and industries. We offer a broad range of services in corporate commercial and M&A, employment, tax, regulatory, telecoms media & technology, construction and real estate sectors.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Andersen Legal, Greece is focusing on specific areas of law related to business operations and investment. Current economic and business trends show that regulatory, project financing, data protection and corporate and M&A will be the sectors that will see the highest development within the year to come in Greece.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
As of January 2019, our firm became part of Andersen Global. This provides us with the necessary international footprint that enables us to offer our clients seamless services worldwide as well as access to the global market of legal services.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Technology is part of our job. Clients need innovation, solutions and value for money services through new systems and tools. Our firm is participating on the new environment of legal services and developing unique solutions for its clients and its operations.
vCan you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
We see our clients as our business partners. We work together and become part of their team and even create solutions for in-house legal departments. We also follow developments in our clients’ industries and provide all necessary information with regard to the legal, regulatory and investment environment. Our relationship with clients
is not a ‘one off’ business transaction but rather a long-term collaboration whereby we offer support at various stages of their development.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Clients need partners that will see things they didn’t see themselves and will think out of the box. Clients need a view from outside, someone to watch over their back, prepare for the unexpected and make sure that they will be able to focus on their core business. Trust and loyalty are some of the most important words for clients.
Hopefully, within the next 3 years, our firm will offer state of the art, value for money, innovative business solutions that will facilitate clients, lift barriers and open up and materialize opportunities for them.
Greece: Employment & Labour Law
Published: March 2020
Authors: Anastasios Triantafyllos Paraskevas Zourntos Sofia Kokkinara Giouli Menti
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Employment & Labour Law laws and regulations that may occur in Greece.
Greece: Data Protection & Cyber Security
Published: April 2020
Authors: Dr. Themistoklis Giannakopoulos Kleio Kondi Simeon Kretsis Nikos Zelios
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Data Protection & Cyber Security laws and regulations that may occur in Greece.