The Strategic Investments Law defines as strategic investments those investments that have significant qualitative and quantitative effects on the Greek national economy, whilst promoting the exit of the country from the financial crisis. Under the Strategic Investments Law, such investments benefit from a more favourable licensing and implementation regime.
In particular, the Strategic Investments Law provides that where any opinions, approvals, authorizations and licences (the “Licences”) are required with respect to any works for the implementation of the investment, especially in connection with planning and environmental aspects, such Licences will be granted within forty five (45) days from the filing of the relevant application by Invest in Greece1 with the competent department of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness. If the above deadline expires and the required Licences have not been issued, then the responsibility for the issue of such Licences is transferred to the Minister of Development and Competitiveness who must issue a decision (either granting the Licences or rejecting the application) within one (1) month. Moreover, the Strategic Investments Law provides that when a strategic investment is planned within approved city limits where special building regulations normally apply, project-specific building regulations which deviate from those normally applicable are possible for reasons of superior public interest, by virtue of a presidential decree to that end. The Strategic Investments Law also provides that any expropriations of land for the realization of strategic investments will be considered to be of the utmost urgency and major importance, and the Strategic Investments Law provides special publicity provisions, special provisions regarding the estimation of the value of the expropriated land, the available legal remedies and deadlines before the competent courts, and special procedures for the identification of the land owners concerned.
For an investment to fall within the scope of the Strategic Investments Law, it must satisfy at least one of the following conditions:
- The total cost of the investment exceeds 100.000.000 Euros.
- The total cost of the investment exceeds 15.000.000 Euros for investments in the industry sector in currently operating industrial zones, or 3.000.000 Euros for investments that are approved projects within the JESSICA2 fund context.
- The total cost of the investment is over 40 million Euro and concurrently creates at least 120 new employment positions.
- At least 150 new employment positions are created from the investment in a viable manner or at least 600 jobs are retained.
- The investment cost exceeds 5.000.000 Euros for the development of business parks.
The decision as to whether a proposed investment will be treated as a strategic investment within the meaning of the Strategic Investments Law is taken by the Strategic Investments Committee of Ministers (the “Committee”) after taking into consideration several factors such as the viability of the proposed investment, the creditworthiness of the investor, the transfer of knowledge and know-how, etc. The Strategic Investments Law has also established Invest in Greece S.A. (“Invest in Greece”), which is a state-owned special purpose company incorporated in the form of a Greek société anonyme. Invest in Greece receives applications for the qualification of proposed investments as strategic investments, assesses the relevant business plans, gives opinions to the Committee in connection with the qualification for or the dismissal of a proposed investment from the scope of the Strategic Investments Law and operates as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for investors vis-à-vis the competent authorities in order for these strategic investments to be licensed and implemented rapidly.