Greece is at the centre of investors’ attention

Despite the increased uncertainty prevailing in Europe, the country seems particularly resilient while maintaining its attractiveness

In an environment of increased uncertainty in Europe, but also throughout the world, the attractiveness of Greece as an investment destination is proving resilient.

37% of businesses plan to invest, or expand their activities in Greece, during the next year, while three out of four investors (75%), estimate that Greece’s attractiveness will improve further in the next three years.

These are some of the findings of the fourth major survey of EY Greece, EY Attractiveness Survey Greece 2022, on the attractiveness of the country as an investment destination, conducted by Euromoney, between March 15 and April 15.

The official presentation of the survey was made by the CEO of EY Greece, Mr. Panagiotis Papazoglou, at the opening session of the 5th InvestGR Forum 2022: A New Greece Emerges, which took place on Wednesday, July 13.

The timing of the investigation and the consequences of the war in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine created, inevitably, a negative psychology in the global investment community. The survey on Greece captures this climate more vividly, as it was one of the last surveys conducted in Europe, when the long duration of the conflict and its economic consequences had now become a common consciousness.It is characteristic that one in three companies (32%) says that they have delayed their immediate investment plans for Greece until 2023, or even later, as a result of the war. However, more than half of the respondents (54%) answer that no changes have been made to their design, while 13% of respondents report that they are proceeding with a small (<20%) increase in planned investments.

Second best year in terms of the number of FDI in Greece, while the improvement of the qualitative composition of investments continues

According to the EY European Investment Monitor, an extensive database processed by EY, in 2021 30 foreign direct investments (FDI) were made in Greece, which is the second best performance of the country since the start of the survey in 2000, after last year’s record number of 39 investments. Cumulatively, the investments of the last two years represent 24% of the total investments made in the last 22 years. In 2021, the shift towards high value-added investments intensified. Based on the type of activity where investments are directed, 30% concern investments in headquarters, compared to only 4% between 2000 and 2020, and 7% in the whole of Europe in 2021, while in second and third place are respectively industrial activities (20%) and logistics activities (17%). Based on the sectors of the economy, at the top of the ranking are agri-food (20%), transport and logistics (20%) and software and IT services (17%), three sectors associated with significant comparative advantages of the Greek economy: the quality of its agricultural products, its geographical position and the skills of the human being.

Growing mood for investment and optimism for the future

The percentage of companies planning to invest, or expand their activities in Greece, during the next year, despite the difficult geopolitical conditions, increased for the second consecutive year, reaching 37%, from 34% last year and 28% in 2020.

At the same time, 58% of respondents to the survey state that their view of Greece as a place where their business could develop or expand its activities has improved in the last year, a percentage marginally reduced compared to 2021 (62%), while three out of four investors (75%), estimate that Greece’s attractiveness will improve in the next three years, percentage that ranks Greece in the first place among the countries under comparison, but also compared to Europe as a whole (64%).

Vote of confidence in individual policies on attractiveness

A significant improvement is recorded in the views of the investment community on the policies followed to improve individual aspects of the country’s attractiveness.This finding seems to confirm that investors attribute the improvement of the country’s image to the implementation of specific policies and no longer to the timing and the end of the period of uncertainty caused by the economic crisis.Specifically, policies for attracting businesses (81%), attracting human resources (78%), attracting innovative activities (75%), attracting capital (65%), attracting central offices and decision-making centers (58%) and creating competitiveness centers & hubs of global reach (55%) are evaluated positively.

Comparative advantages and weaknesses of the country

As strong cards of the country’s attractiveness are, again, the quality of life (75%), transport and logistics infrastructure (73%), telecommunications infrastructure / digital infrastructure (72%), the internal market of Greece (72%), as well as the skills of human resources (70%).On the other hand, the flexibility of labor legislation (46%), the geopolitical position of Greece (47%), the education system (48%) and access to finance and the availability of capital in Greece (48%) are highlighted as less attractive elements.

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