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Archived news

New real estate developments in Greece

March 1st, 2007 saw the introduction of increases in the assessed values for real estate properties. These increases average about 15% but in some rural or provincial areas they exceed 40%. Transfer taxes based on assessed values are consequently being increased, but additional tax allowances call for careful planning. Our well briefed real estate specialist lawyers would be happy to provide you with complimentary important information on those developments.

Swiss holding companies

Switzerland has been under pressure lately to alter its favourable taxation status on Swiss holding companies which often hold participation in EU companies while they fully benefit from all double taxation agreements between EU members and Bern. An agreement has been reached recently and this favourable Swiss legal structure will continue. These are not offshore companies, they dispose of share capital and their Swiss taxation is fully acknowledged by Greek and other EU authorities.

World's largest tourist fair in Berlin

On the first week of March 2007 a trade fair of a particular interest to Greece has opened its doors in Berlin, Germany. India is the honoured country of this year's world's largest tourist event but Greece displayed very interesting proposals through an aggressive yet well organized approach. As tourism continues on an upward trend, there are still interesting infrastructure opportunities with EU and national subsidies reaching 60% of the value of the project. Our considerable experience on European subsidies in tourism infrastructure can be a valuable tool for anyone interested to enter this well established yet still (cautiously) promising sector of activities.

Legal issues

The EU directive on commercial representation provides important indemnities for unlawful termination of local representatives. In a major case where a prejudicial ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Communities was requested, our offices proposed the establishment of a clear distinction between a dependent representative and a distributor, a line that can not always be easily traced, often bearing uncertainty. In the absence of similar trends in European case law, the outcome of this case is been expected with considerable interest from legal circles across Europe.

Reinforcing business ties with Austria

A very fruitful cooperation has been established some time ago between our offices and one of Austria's top legal addresses the office of Lansky, Ganzger and Partner boosting over 70 lawyers and specialists in Vienna. Now both sides have decided to intensify this cooperation and to jointly organize events in Athens and Vienna. Emphasis will be given on the promotion of comprehensive legal services covering the needs of both countries from minor civil law cases to major corporate movements; be it commercial transactions or financing, mergers and acquisitions. The first of these events is expected to be carried out sometime soon, so please stay tuned.

Arts, Permanent exhibition

Arts altogether continue to expand on popularity but these tend to concentrate in the case of paintings on some classics or more simplistic popular themes. We highly value this form of expression and we are pleased to announce for 2007 a permanent arts exhibition in our offices. Therefore from March to December 2007 there will be no less than three such exhibitions in painting and sculpture of well established international artists starting this time with original paintings in various themes of J. Suter, C. Pajon and D.K. These paintings have added a pleasant well being factor to our redesigned offices by American interior designer L. Jackson.

Global Justice Forum 2007 in Rome: ELC was there

The Global Justice Forum this year took place in the Eternal city in mid-May which saw the gathering of some of the world's most prominent plaintiff attorneys. Amongst this year's interesting topics was the focus on plaintiff practices on international transportation related accidents and on liabilities around the globe from Brazil to the Middle East, Australia the UK and China. The event was hosted by San Francisco's Lieff Global, one of world's top plaintiff attorneys. There were only two Greek law firms participating at this year's important event. We were represented by Evi Routoula and Costas Kokkinos. Mr. Kokkinos was among the speakers on the second day of the Forum and his stand of networking of international law firms received many positive comments from the participants. On the aftermath of the Forum our office had the honor to be proposed as one of the founding charter members of a prominent network of plaintiff attorneys worldwide.

Elections in the air in Greece

According to the Greek constitution, parliamentary elections do not have to take place before March 2008, however, as it is always the case with such political matters, the government appears to be forcing the issue by attempting to bring the date forward by some months in an effort to gain some tactical advantage. The possibility of elections as early as Autumn 2007 is not just a rumour but is gaining momentum judging by government actions such as the passing of laws in favor of the middle classes while it is refraining from unpopular yet necessary measures for the reforming of the Social Security which appears to have been put back until after the elections. For many Greeks and foreigners alike earlier Elections may present an interesting opportunity for the settlement of issues that have not been resolved and remain pending for some years now.

Air carriers are queuing up for Greece to US routes

Olympic Airways for many years was all alone on the ever busy Athens-US route. Then Delta came along and now US Airways and Continental are also proposing direct flights from Athens to some US gateways. These could be signs of reinvented tourism for Greece or reinforcement of commercial relations on top of the sizeable Greek American community returning to Greece for the summer. Open skies is finally a reality between EU and the US, allowing US carriers to rediscover the Greek market. Olympic, which in spite of an in-flight service that needs a much awaited revamp, holds a record as an accident free airline on commercial jets and seems to be already fully booked on its US bound destinations until the end of August 2007.

Le Bourget (Paris) and Tel Aviv

Enhancing our horizons and reinforcing our links for the benefit of our clients is a never ending process that requires resources and energy if we are to live up to our commitment of no less than the best. On 18th June we fly to Paris for the world's most important air show at Le Bourget. After this we are heading for Tel Aviv for an event organized by the German EU Presidency for the European commercial presence in the region in partnership with Austrian commercial interest and many important key participants.