In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Greece | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information
According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, FDI flows to Greece reached USD 5.7 billion in 2021, above the pre-pandemic level of USD 5 billion recorded in 2019. In the same year, the total stock of FDI stood at USD 45.8 billion. The tourism sector led the way in this investment increase, with dozens of hotel and resort projects incorporated into the government’s strategic investment program which foresees fast-track procedures. Data from the Bank of Greece shows that the countries holding more FDI stock as of 2021 were Germany (18.3%), Luxembourg (17.7%), the Netherlands (16.7%) and Switzerland (8%). Europe as a whole held 87.2% of stocks. In terms of sectors, the ones attracting more foreign investments were manufacturing (17.8%), information and communication (16.2%), real estate (14.4%), wholesale and retail trade (12.9%), and transport and storage (9.2%). As per the latest data by OECD, FDI inflows to Greece totalled USD 4.8 billion in the first half of 2022, a steep increase from USD 1.7 billion recorded in the same period one year earlier.
The country’s strong points include its strategic location, excellent maritime infrastructures (being the world leader in maritime transport), the fact that Greece is one of the main beneficiaries of the Next Generation EU recovery fund as it is set to receive EUR 33 billion (almost one-fifth of GDP) over the next 7 years, and a relatively low labour cost. In recent years, the energy sector attracted considerable investment from Spain, France and China as Greece liberalised its electricity market and reformed its renewable licencing procedure. Furthermore, according to Eurobank, investments valued at EUR 32 billion in infrastructure and real estate, energy and decarbonization, telecommunications and digital upgrades, tourism, and manufacturing are set to drive economic growth in Greece through 2025. Among the country’s weak points, there are the weak performance of the industrial and banking sector (saddled with the largest ratio of non-performing loans in the EU), insufficient investment in R&D, bureaucratic inefficiencies, expensive regulations and uncertainty about the future regulatory regime. Greece does not have an investment screening mechanism; however, the government is currently working on legislation for the development of an FDI screening procedure in line with EU regulation 2019/452. Greece is ranked 53rd out of 82 countries in the Economist Business Environment ranking.
|Foreign Direct Investment||2020||2021||2022|
|FDI Inward Flow (million USD)||3,213||6,328||7,604|
|FDI Stock (million USD)||39,081||42,112||49,245|
|Number of Greenfield Investments*||43||49||63|
|Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD)||2,998||2,411||2,196|
Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.
Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.
|Main Investing Countries||2019, in %|
|Main Invested Sectors||2019, in %|
|Information and communication||15.0|
|Wholesale and retail trade||14.7|
|Transport and storage||9.3|
|Financial service activities||8.0|
Source: OECD's Statistics, Latest data available.
Greece’s main assets are:
Greece suffers from many handicaps :
The Legislative Decree number 2687/53 as well as Article 112 of the Constitution, give approved foreign 'productive investments' property rights, preferential tax treatment and work permits for foreign managerial and technical staff.
Law 4146/2013, entitled the 'Creation of a Business-Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments' is the primary investment incentive law currently in force. It aims to improve the institutional framework for private investments, raise liquidity, accelerate investment procedures and increase transparency. The Greek government also established Enterprise Greece, merging the previous Invest in Greece investment promotion agency with the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board to create a sole point of contact for investors. The business start-up procedures can be carried out online via the Greek General Register of Commerce.
Since the financial crisis, Greece has experienced a significantly degraded business climate. Despite the many structural economic reforms undertaken since then, foreign investors continue to fear the weight of Greek bureaucracy and corruption. The government provides a number of incentives to try to reverse the investment trend (although the country is highly sought-after by Chinese investments) including :
|Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors||Greece||OECD||United States||Germany|
|Index of Transaction Transparency*||9.0||6.5||7.0||5.0|
|Index of Manager’s Responsibility**||4.0||5.3||9.0||5.0|
|Index of Shareholders’ Power***||5.0||7.3||9.0||5.0|
Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.
For further information, consult Enterprise Greece's portal.
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Latest Update: September 2023