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Greek Country Spotlight

Greece: Country Spotlight

Greece at a glance

Greece, a full EU Member State, scores high on all major factors taken into consideration when choosing a new country for relocating, such as quality of life, regulated environment, secure living conditions in urban and rural areas, access to efficient services, residence privileges for family members, freedom to travel, among others. Despite its small size, Greece features a particularly diverse natural environment, providing many recreational opportunities. This, combined with a spirited lifestyle blending both ancient and modern Mediterranean culture, makes Greece a simply extraordinary place to be – and a wonderful place to call home.

The birthplace of Western civilisation, Greece’s cultural legacy lives on in modern Greek society. While countless archaeological sites and museums offer visitors and residents a chance to experience Greek history in person, the country’s deep heritage is also felt in the spectacular concert halls, the summer open-air theatres, and the bustling neighbourhood art galleries found throughout Athens and other cities. Greece is today, as it has been for thousands of years, an inspiring place to be.

With 300+ days of sunshine per year, the climate in Greece makes living in this Mediterranean destination a year-round joy. The country’s stunning topography and existing facilities offer countless options for recreation and relaxation, such as swimming, sailing, kite surfing, rafting, biking, rock climbing, skiing, golf, spas – just to name a few. For after hours entertainment, restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural venues all contribute to a vibrant nightlife. A modern tourism infrastructure is at your disposal for weekend getaways to some of the world’s most beautiful locales. Whatever you choose to do, healthy and joyful living is part of the Greek lifestyle.

The Mediterranean diet is a global brand that needs no introduction. There is nowhere on earth better suited for healthy, wholesome eating than Greece. With a rich variety of ingredients and traditional products, such as seafood, olive oil, cheeses and other dairy products, tempting pastries and specialty wines that will satisfy every foodie and thrill every cook.

Greece offers a wide variety of international educational options for expatriates, from pre-schools to universities – especially for students seeking studies in English, French and German. Many high schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and have a agood track record in placing students at prestigious universities, both in Greece and abroad. At the same time, many international universities offer unique educational programs in Greece for undergraduates and graduates alike.

Politics

The politics of Greece takes place in a parliamentary representative democratic republic. Thus, the Prime Minister of Greece is the head of government, and of system of multi-parties. Passing legislation is done in both the government and the Hellenic Parliament. Since 1974 and Greek government-debt crisis the party system was dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

 

The Constitution of Greece, which calls Greece a “presidential parliamentary republic”, includes extensive specific guarantees of civil liberties and vests the powers of the head of state in a president elected by parliament. The Greek governmental structure is similar to that found in many other Western democracies, and has been described as a compromise between the French and German models.

Legislative power is exercised by Parliament and the President of the Republic. Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. Judicial power is vested in the courts of law, whose decisions are executed in the name of the people.

 

Although the President of the Republic has limited political power, as most power lies with the government, his duties include formally appointing the Prime Minister, on whose recommendation he also appoints or dismisses other members of government, he represents the State in its relations to other States, proclaims referendums etc.

Greek politics is often described as dynastic, with long-established political families controlling the positions of power. This is certainly true for the Prime Ministers, but there are many Ministers and Members of Parliament with no relation to political families.

Economy

The economy of Greece is the 51st in the world by purchasing power, and is the 45th largest in the world. The Greek debt crisis, which played out after the financial crisis in 2007-8, the Greek economy struggled to meet its repayment schedule. Negotiations between its creditors led to austerity measures; in a popular referendum in 2015, the Greek public rejected the third round of austerity measures. However, the Greek economy is beginning to recover. In 2016, the Greek economy grew by 1.5%, and Alex Tsipras has recently replaced hardline left ministers with newer recruits who are more willing to cooperate with Greece’s creditors.

Furthermore, the launch of the Golden Visa program in 2013 underlines its commitment to opening the country to foreign investment. Starting in June 2013, the Greek authorities issues 983 Golden Visas. Despite the economic problems that have affected Greece in recent years, it remains a viable and popular option for people who wish to relocate to Europe.

Requirements and procedures

Real estate
Greece offers the opportunity to invest in a residency permit. To apply for the permit, an applicant must first apply for a national “D” visa in order to gain entry to Greece. The applicant can then buy a property. The property investment can be a single property or multiple properties, as long as the value of the investment is EUR 250,000 plus VAT. A residence permit can be renewed every 5 years, as long as the holder still owns the property in question, or other properties of the same value.

Investment in industry 
Greece also welcomes investment activity involved in the implementation of the operation of an investment project. Up to ten permits may be issued for an investment project (investors and executives) depending on the investment scale. The investment activity may be implemented through the construction of new facilities or business acquisitions, as well as expansion of current activities, provided it has a positive impact on the national economy. In order to qualify for the residency permit, the investment must equal the value of EUR 250,000.

Benefits

  • Free movement within Schengen area countries, under certain time conditions
  • Very competitive prices compared to other European destinations.
  • High rental yields for quality properties in prime locations.
  • Long-term residence, and thus citizenship status, can be obtained, under specific conditions
  • Favorable vacation destination
  • The property can be rented out
  • No minimum stay requirement
  • Multi property purchase acceptable, provided that the total investment exceeds the minimum amount required
  • Access to the Greek education system
  • Option for time-sharing

 

Posted in Country Spotlights.

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