Red tape and regulatory uncertainty are among the biggest inhibitors to economic growth and job creation in Greece. Until 2019, the government held a monopoly on the auditory work for business and environmental permits, as well as for quality standards testing of market goods. This resulted in long delays to start a business. It also generated significant regulatory uncertainty, large fixed and compliance costs, and high taxes. On top of all of this, due to the Greek debt crisis of the last decade, the government’s auditory authority has been underfunded and understaffed.
In order to foster economic growth by easing the issues of red tape and regulatory uncertainty, The Center for Liberal Studies (KEFiM), an Atlas Network partner in Athens, laid the foundation for a comprehensive reform proposal with their Greece 2021: Agenda for Freedom and Prosperity. A main goal of the publication was to expand auditory work to Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and private certified auditors, to help create a more effective business environment. KEFiM released the agenda just before the last 2019 general election, resulting in wide discussion of their proposals during the lead up to the election.
By working with top political cadre and policy experts in the preparation of the Agenda—including Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis—KEFiM successfully ushered in new investment and environmental reforms. As a result, private and corporate entities are now permitted to evaluate specific business and environmental permits and create a faster, less cumbersome, and more certain regulatory environment. The recent environmental law passed in May expanded the same reform, suggesting a commitment to overhaul bureaucratic burdens and create a more streamlined, regulatory system.
In the same year, KEFiM released its Regulatory Quality Index, another major feat. The Index is a technical tool used to measure the regulatory performance of a given country, as well as outline the methodological framework for the best practices of regulation. Having an important impact on the public discourse, the guide encouraged lawmakers to critically examine the legislative process—specifically examining its need for quantified data during the lawmaking process. Subsequently, Parliament presented a new way of legislating by deciding to re-introduce revised rules of regulating that are deemed more efficient. Several leaders have applauded KEFiM’s accomplishments.
"KEFiM approaches legislation in a very scientific and interesting way,” said Konstantinos Menoudakos, former president of the Council of State and current Chairman of the Hellenic Data Protection Authority. “Providing this research paper, which will be followed by next ones in the future, since there is no doubt that better regulation is essential for the smooth and proper function of the economy and society."
With still more to accomplish, KEFiM is determined to continue the push for market-oriented reforms. Its team strives for a simpler, more agile, and friendly regulatory environment for businesses and consumers in Greece, with the ultimate goal of enhancing economic and personal freedom.
Atlas Network supported the Agenda for Freedom and Prosperity and the Regulatory Quality Index with a grant.