MFA: Strategic opportunities for foreign exporters
Greece went through a deep fiscal crisis between 2011 and 2018, when it came to the brink of state bankruptcy, which was followed by an economic crisis, during which it lost about a quarter of the domestic product. 2018 indicated the possibility of a return to growth, and 2019 confirmed this tendency.
The driving force of the economy was primarily tourism and related services, which directly contribute 10% and indirectly 25% of GDP. In 2019, a record 33 million foreign tourists visited Greece, and tourism revenues of EUR 19 billion offset the traditionally deep deficit in the trade balance.
The pandemic in 2020 delayed the hope of the economy returning to a growth trajectory. The performance of the tourism industry fell to about a quarter of the performance in 2019, and the expected strengthening of investments in sectors such as energy, ecology, innovation, infrastructure, construction was postponed.
The state spent EUR 24 billion to support the frozen economy and healthcare. According to preliminary data from the Ministry of Finance, the volume of GDP decreased by 8.2% in 2020. However, the Ministry of Finance, the European Commission and rating agencies agree that the country has growth potential and can make up for the losses by 2023.
The recovery package of the European Commission should become a significant help for the Greek economy, from which Greece has the chance to receive up to EUR 3billion (2billion in the form of subsidies and 9.4 billion in the form of a loan), which would allow the government to return to the implementation of a “pre-covid” economic program aimed at supporting business, reducing the tax burden on individuals and legal entities, and increasing investments.
The government intends to use European funds both to support companies and workers affected by the consequences of the pandemic, and to strengthen the country’s healthcare system and develop new promising economic sectors.
The national plan to support recovery and resilience is oriented towards 4 pro-growth pillars: green transformation, digital transformation, social projects & employment support and investment & infrastructure projects. The Greek government is also responding to the economic impacts of the pandemic with a reform program to improve the business and investment environment and support green economy and innovation projects.
Due to the lack of domestic funds and the tying of loans and subsidies from the recovery package to the injection of equity capital, the post-covid period will be an opportunity mainly for exports with an investment share.
A temporary slowdown in investment can be expected in tourism businesses and related sectors such as public catering, which was developing promisingly before the pandemic, but the quarantine closure has deprived them of reserves. Standard sales of goods will probably be temporarily depressed as well.
Roughly half of exports to Greece are traditionally represented by machines and means of transport. Considering the need to renew the company and private vehicle fleet, which has become obsolete, and considering the growing needs of tourist rental companies, there is room for further growth. The strong support for electromobility opens up new possibilities for the export of electric cars and buses, and will probably strongly influence the paradigm in this sector in the future.
Due to the declared intention to reduce the country’s dependence on lignite, support for the production of energy from renewable sources is returning to the scene, small solar and hydropower plants are experiencing a revival, and technologies for storing the produced energy have significant prospects.
According to allcountrylist, the complete decarbonization plan with a horizon of 2028 will bring, in addition to a change in the energy mix, also investments in the reclamation of lignite areas (especially in the region of Western Macedonia). The supported development of electromobility and the necessary recharging infrastructure offers perspectives. The government’s plans include expanding the energy use of waste.
In the production of conventional electricity, new opportunities can be expected in connection with the ongoing full liberalization of the market. New, especially gas-fired power plants are being built. The distribution network calls for modernization, and the underground line has prospects. The construction of the submarine interconnection of the mainland distribution network with the islands continues. The LNG infrastructure sector appears promising in the long term. Exploration of oil and natural gas deposits, on the other hand, will probably temporarily recede into the background.
Equipment for telecommunications and informatics acquires a significant position in Czech exports. Exports of machines for automatic data processing, monitors, memory devices, optical fibers, etc. are growing. The pandemic has strengthened the importance of digitization, IT and telecommunications and created space for the growth of exports of these commodities.
The European Investment Bank will support the modernization of Greek civil defense equipment (firefighters, police, rescuers, etc.). The Greek army is also preparing to modernize its armaments. For Czech manufacturers, a high-quality local representative or partner who knows the legislation and is able to develop contacts with the Greek administration is a prerequisite for success.
The development of tourism has long-term potential for all commodities of the HORECA sector. Glass, glass products and porcelain maintain a good reputation on the Greek market. However, the downturn in tourism in 2020 will delay unnecessary investments. In the medium term, it can be expected that exports will strengthen again with an appropriate pricing policy and a modern design offer.
The government’s intention to privatize and use some spa locations continues. Spa places themselves are interested in revival. The Czech model of using healing springs and technologies is also an inspiration. Unresolved legislation and ownership relations remain an obstacle.
Prospects are in combined transport and transport infrastructure. China’s COSCO International Ltd. manages the port of Piraeus and increases its capacity. The port of Thessaloniki, which has a long-term lease from the international SEGT consortium with a majority share of a Russian-Greek investor, will also be modernized. The construction of transfer stations and combined transport centers is expected. A program to modernize and expand the railway network is being implemented, and from 2022 the construction of another line of the Athens Metro will begin.
Water management and waste industry
The exhausted capacity of landfills and the European Commission’s sanctions for unsatisfactory waste management call for a long-term change in the solid waste processing model (municipal, industrial and hazardous).
The government supports modern ecological solutions and a cyclical model of waste management, but there are local disputes about the mix of technologies (yes recycling and composting, mistrust of incineration) and the location of plants, against which many communities protest. Technologies for processing recycled material, reclamation of old and construction of new landfills have potential.
Projects aimed at improving water management (biological treatment plants, groundwater management, desalination, etc.) are expected to be strengthened, but these are also often hampered by local interests.
Strategic projects will be partly financed from European funds and implemented in the form of a public-private partnership (PPP).
Healthcare and pharmaceutical industry
The need to renew the equipment of state and private medical facilities after the austerity years of the economic crisis, which was confirmed by the pandemic, creates opportunities for the export of modern medical technology, equipment, material, rehabilitation aids, chemical and pharmaceutical products. The strong Greek pharmaceutical industry offers the potential for collaboration in research and joint production of new drugs.
- Contacts to Czech embassies in the territory
- Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firefighters, information lines, etc.)
- Important Internet links and contacts
Contacts at the embassies of the Czech Republic in the territory
Embassy of the Czech Republic in Greece / Greek: Presveia tis Tsechikis Dimokratias stin Ellada/
6, Georgiou Seferi, 154 52 Palaio Psychiko – Attica
Tel: (+30) 210 67 13 755, 210 67 253 32, 210 67 29 914 (consular section)
Fax: (+30) 210 671 06 75
E-mail: [email protected]
Embassy opening hours: Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Official hours of the consular department for the public: Tue-Fri 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
In cases of emergency and in the event of a threat to the health and life of a citizen of the Czech Republic, you can contact us outside of working hours by phone (+30) 6944 733769.
Connection to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Athens.
Honorary Consulate Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki) Consular District Northern Greece, Province of Macedonia and Thrace
57, Leoforos Nikis Ave., 546 22 Thessaloniki
Honorary Consul: Mrs. Margarita Ignatidou
Tel: (+30) 2310 222376
Fax: (+30) 2310 224116
E-mail: [email protected]
Honorary Consulate Piraeus
98, Naiadon Str., 175 62 Palaio Faliro – Athens
Honorary Consul: Mr. Andreas Lionis
Tel: (+30) 210 9813351
E-mail: [email protected]
Honorary Consulate of Heraklion
Consular District of Crete
Giamalaki & Sof. Venizelou 50, 712 02 Heraklion
Honorary Consul: Mrs. Maria Nistazaki
Tel: (+30) 281 022 2306
Fax: (+30) 281 024 2373
E-mail: [email protected]
Honorary Consulate of Rhodes
Consular District Dodecanese and Cyclades Islands
26, Lohagou Fanouraki, 85 100
Rhodes Honorary Consul: Mr Emmanouil Makropoulos
Tel: (+30) 697 811 0633
Email: [email protected]
Honorary Consulate of Kerkyra (Corfu)
K. Zavitsianou 3, 491 00 Corfu
Consular District Ionian Islands
Honorary Consul: Ms Elissavet Dellarta
Tel: (+30) 266 102 0761
Fax: (+30) 266 103 7754
E-mail: [email protected] gmail.com
Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)
- Greece: +30
- Emergency call: 112
- First aid – rescue service: 166
- Police: 100
- Firefighters: 199
- Tourist police: 171
- Harbor Police, Coast Guard: 108
- Anti-terrorist police: 10414, 1014
- Forest fires – firefighters: 191
- Emergency hospitals and pharmacies: 14944
- Coronavirus hotline: 1135
- Paid medical emergency “Doctors SOS”: 1016
- Poison Center: 210 7793777
- ELPA roadside assistance: 10400
- Athens International Airport: 210 3530000
- Rail transport (TRAINOSE): 14511
- Bus service: 14505
- Transport (trains, buses, ships, planes): 14944
Information on telephone numbers: 11821, 11880
Important web links and contacts
- President of the Republic
- Prime Minister
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of National Defence
- Ministry of Interior
- Ministry of Civil Defense (Police, Fire Brigade, Crisis Staff)
- Ministry of Migration and Asylum
- Ministry of Development and Investment
- Ministry of Tourism
- Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport
- Department of the Navy and Island Policy
- Ministry of the Environment and Energy
- Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food
- Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
- Ministry of Health
- Department of Justice
- Ministry of Education and Church Affairs
- Ministry of Culture and Sports
- Ministry of Digital Policy
Largest electronic media in English:
- Athens Macedonian News Agency
- THAT’S OKAY
- PETROLEUM BORIC
- GTP – Greek Travel Pages
- Embassy of the Czech Republic in Athens
- Hellenic Organization of Tourism (EOT)
- Business Register
- Business support agency Enterprise Greece – Invest & Trade
- Startup portal Elevate Greece
- Greek Statistical Office EL.STAT.
- Central Bank of Greece
- Hellenic Bank Association (links to Greek banks)