Greece: a friendly relocation framework post-Brexit?

26/10/2020

According to a story published a few days ago in the respected newspaper “Kathimerini”, the Greek government is in discussions with some UK-based investment banks concerning the facilitation of their presence in the EEA via a Greek branch post-Brexit. In this context, the Greek government is considering putting in place tax incentives, with the main idea being the introduction of a favourable treatment for up to ten years for those UK financial institutions wishing to relocate in Greece or maintain their existing presence post-Brexit, as long as certain conditions are met, including the creation of a minimum number of jobs.

Not much detail has been made public on the precise legal framework under consideration, but it is clear that the Greek government, after years of latency, is now struggling to explore the opportunities offered by the upcoming loss of EEA passporting status of UK banks and other financial institutions, either by claiming a position as a destination for those UK institutions interested in maintaining access to EEA countries that have not yet selected their new seat, or (more realistically, might we add) serve as an ancillary EEA hub, in the context of the risk-spreading policy of the relevant institution.

These endeavors appear to complement prior legislative initiatives of the Greek government in Brexit-affected areas, such as e.g. for the attraction of UK retirees, family offices and high net-worth individuals via favorable tax rates etc. As well as attempt to overcome the fact that Greece is definitely in the banking ‘backwaters’ of Europe, possessing just a decent infrastructure and a fair number of qualified professionals, but not much else – other than fantastic weather, that is !  Will they be enough for changing the status quo on the Brexit relocation landscape (if ultimately adopted) ? Or will they prove to be ‘too little too late” for Greece? Only time will show.

For additional information on Brexit-related matters, you may contact Michael Tsibris and Giannis Koumettis of our firm.