Draft bill simplifying bureaucratic procedures welcomed by major parties, business sector at committee level

A draft bill simplifying the start of several types of economic activities was approved in principle by the largest parties during a discussion at committee level in Parliament on Tuesday.

The bill was approved by ruling New Democracy, main opposition SYRIZA, and Movement for Change (KINAL). Communist Party of Greece and MeRA25 voted against it, while Greek Solution reserved judgment.

Regulations proposed act as supplement to Law 4442/2016, reducing bureaucratic hurdles to a simple notification for a series of economic activities that have a low risk in terms of harming public interest, when applying for permission to get approval for setting up economic activity. Some business procedures that are of greater risk in terms of public interest have also been simplified.

Businesses affected by the changes include schools for transportation professionals or lifesavers, car or motorcycle mechanics, parking lots, car washes, long-distance bus depots, and parking areas for heavy trucks.

Businesses with higher risks for the public interest that also benefit from simpler procedures include venues like amusement parks, ice-skating rinks, day-care centers for the elderly or for the disabled, and watersport rentals.

Changes reflected in the bill were welcomed by representatives of several trade organizations attending the discussion, including the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EVEA), the Athens Chamber of Tradesmen, the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), the Federation of Industries of Greece (SVE), and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), saying they were in the right direction.

New Democracy rapporteur Manoussos Voloudakis said the draft bill “sets the prerequisites to attract investments to Greece,” while Syriza MP Ioannis Sarakiotis said “it is obvious this before us is a continuation of previous, successful, legislative initiatives, and we are entering the new phase of reforms by the Syriza government, as established respectively in laws 4441 and 4442 of 2016.”