Foreign property developers urge Greece to cut red tape

Foreign property developers urge Greece to cut red tape

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ATHENS, Greece An international group of developers urged Greece Thursday to ease foreign investments by slashing red tape and revamping laws on property development.

Eleven mid-sized companies from Europe, Africa and Australia announced the formation of an association to lobby the government for reform.

“Greece is the ideal place for large-scale investments,” association president Clemente Pinedo said. “Our role is to be a conduit between foreign investors and the Greek government to help solve the problems faced by foreign investors.”

Despite drawing more than 14 million tourists a year, Greece has failed to attract investment in vacation homes, golf courses and resorts, because of hidebound bureaucracy and dated laws, Pinedo said.

Greece is the only country in the 25-member European Union with no national land registry, and has just 5 18-hole golf courses nationwide in contrast to Spain, which boasts over 300 and adds 20 new ones a year.

According to Pinedo, foreigners last year purchased 400,000 vacation homes in Spain, whereas only 50,000 vacation homes in Greece are owned by foreigners.

The group complains of fragmented Greek regulations on planning permission, which involve up to a dozen different ministries and government bodies and lead to long delays.

There is also no legal framework for multipurpose developments encompassing vacation homes, hotels and golf courses together.

These are not separate pieces,” said Pinedo. “They must be all together. You must have clear rules of the game.”

Source: IHT

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