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Archived news

Schengen Space: A Blessing and a Headache

It all started as a great idea: to dispose of borders within the participating countries of the European Union. Altogether it proved rather successful, but it carries many misinterpretations and practical difficulties in its application. Rights and privileges, single right of entry, Schengen visas, etc. Due to high demand we have recently set up a hotline with basic and practical answers to Frequently Asked Questions that we would be happy to share with anyone interested in this matter.

Increased tourism for Greece this summer

With an anticipated 8% increase in incoming tourism for Greece this summer - following a sharp decline last year - the situation remains unclear as to the travel agents commission. The airlines are keen to reduce their costs and to follow the international trend that wants the travel agent's commission to be from 0 to 1% (commission can be replaced by a service fee) whereas some agencies want to maintain their 9% commission over air tickets. An injunction Court hearing this summer is expected with much interest from both sides.

Olympic Airlines privatization

The Olympic airlines privatization seems to finally move forward. The UK financial advisor to the Greek State, Lazard Ltd. is in negotiations with the main bidders over their already submitted binding offers. Ground handling is to follow. This all should enter into a definitive phase before the end of this summer as there is an increasing pressure from the European Union on the matter.

Greek real estate

Real estate remains attractive in Greece; despite prices climbing, the market shows no signs of slowing down. The government has announced its plans to maintain the VAT free on private homes under certain conditions.

Switzerland says "Yes" to Schengen

On June, 5, 2005 the Swiss people has voted for the Schengen and the Dublin EU agreements, in spite of a general scepticism in Europe. The next Helvetic referendum is due for September, 25, 2005 requiring confirmation of the free circulation within their country for the citizens of all 25 EU countries. Switzerland which is not willing to join the EU hopes to benefit from the free circulation of its nationals without the status of a full membership. Swiss citizens residing in Greece have recently seen their status considerably improved with access to the EU 5 year residence permit and procedural facilitation.

Importing foreign currency into Greece

Import of foreign currency maintains its attraction in Greece, despite the abolition of "pink sleeves". It remains tax free for the non-residents and can be used for important purchases, such as real estate, etc.

Greece & EU

Greece seems to lag behind not only in internet use, but also on utilization of European subsidies and access to European resources. In practically all sectors, large amounts fail to be made use of. Although direct access should not be a problem, few people find their way to what they are entitled to.


Following on the success of the musical Chicago, are Theodorakis and Mimis Plessas open-air concerts at Herodion. The variety of choice is huge, ranging from Duran Duran to Ennio Morricone (the movie themes composer famous from his spagetti western) and even the Berliner Philarmoniker. It is a shame that the announced appearance of Agnes Baltsa was cancelled.

Indian summer in Greece

Following an extraordinary summer season with a seven year record of tourist arrivals, Greece is slowly entering the autumn season facing several challenges but also anticipating considerable structural changes. With the oil prices climbing at 70 US $ per barrell, finances need urgent reshaping. The Finance Ministry has announced cuts or postponements on social benefits and/or tax decreases in order to cope with this situation. Heavily dependent on oil, the country is trying to modernize its alternative resources such as natural gas, solar (for water heating) and aeolic power by offering considerable incentives.

Olympic Airways future at stake

It was on sale for some time. Olympic Investors - the Greek American joint venture teaming with York capital - who was backed on legal issues by our offices as well, was declared the preferred bidder last June. However the EU has not granted its approval yet as there are unresolved issues of State subsidies and the future of the flag carrier of Greece, founded by Onassis, seems to be at stake.