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Greece

Services

Updated 12/2011

Legal requirements

The Directive on services is currently being incorporated into Greek legislation.

The Commercial Law is the main source of the Greek commercial legislation. According to the law, any transaction not involving the delivery of goods is seen as service provision.

It may also include:

  •  transferring or conceding the use of an intangible good - such as intellectual property rights, patents, license agreements for the use of industrial and commercial trademarks, and other similar rights;
  • liability for the omission or tolerance of an act or situation - such as the commitment not to exercise a professional activity at a specific location or across the country, the commitment not to exercise a certain right, etc.

Other activities considered to fall under service provision are:

  • the operation of hotels, furnished rooms and houses, holiday camps and other similar facilities;
  • the operation of parking areas for any kind of vehicle, including caravans;
  • the supply of food and drinks by restaurants, bakeries, clubs and other similar businesses for on-premise consumption;
  • paying compensation by order made by, or in the name of, a public authority or while carrying out the law;
  • the leasing of industrial installations and safes;
  • subcontracting on movable property.

The full text of the law is available below:

Different ways of providing services

Setting up a service business

The procedures relating to the establishment of a new business depend on the type of business.

  •  No particular legal procedures are required for setting up single-member companies.
  •  As far as general partnerships and limited partnerships are concerned, their statute should be submitted to the Court of First Instance.
  •  As far as limited liability companies (LLC) are concerned, their statute should be published in the Government Gazette and the local press.
  •  As far as public limited companies (PLC) are concerned, their statute should be submitted to the local Prefect or to the Prefecture Department of Trade and Public Limited Companies.  Then on, the company should become registered under PLC registries, and a summary of its articles of association should be published in the Government Gazette.

Based on the relevant legislation, it is obligatory to register with the closest Chamber of Commerce in most cases of a company formation.

Finally, as far as the provision of services on a temporary basis is concerned, this type of employment has since 2001 become legally regulated and has started to further develop in Greece in an attempt to adjust labour legislation to new social and economic conditions.

Rights of service recipients

The General Secretariat for Consumer Affairs is the national authority responsible for the rights of the recipients of services, defined according to the following acts:

Labour market

Labour market issues, falling under the transnational provision of services, are defined by the relevant presidential decree:

Issues relating to the recognition of professional qualifications are specified in a relevant presidential decree that incorporates the corresponding EU directive.

The required supporting documents (which must be legally certified or stamped for authenticity), include, among others:

  • licence to practise issued to the applicant by the state of origin;
  • vocational education and training qualifications.

The competent body supervised by the Ministry of Labour is the Organisation for Vocational Education and Training (ΟΕΕΚ).

Administrative procedures

Single Points of Contact

Transactions with the State can be carried out through Citizen Service Centres (KEP), which operate throughout the country.

Interested parties can use the central website of these centres to be informed of the services the Centres provide, as well as the contact details of local Centres: 

Notification

As regards the provision of services by self-employed professionals, there are two categories:

  •  Services exempt from VAT. Services exempt from VAT include those provided by doctors, nurses, lawyers, professors, teachers, notaries public, bailiffs, etc.
  •  Services subject to VAT. Services subject to VAT include those provided by architects, engineers, land surveyors, chemists, agronomists, artists, economists, accountants, consultants, etc.

Social insurance

Social insurance matters are specified under relevant legislation and many of the administrative procedures of the Social Insurance Institute are carried out through Citizen Service Centres:

As regards registration with an insurance body, registration is obligatory for all individuals and members of legal entities that have completed 18 years of age and are employed in a city of more than 2,000 residents.

A large number of new entrepreneurs are mainly registered under the local Professional Craftsmen Funds (TEBE), Traders Funds (TAE) and in specific cases under other funds such as TSMEDE, TSAY and IKA.

As regards issuance of a licence for installation and operation, the Directorates of Industry of local prefectures are responsible for informing individuals under the corresponding categories of the issuance of licences.  They also provide information concerning the necessary documents to be submitted in support of the application.

Other than installation and operation licences, the issuance of a licence to practise a profession is also required for certain profession categories.  Examples of such categories include plumbers, barbers, optical products, dental technicians, repair shops etc.

Each applicant company should also submit a business initiation declaration to the competent Tax Office.

The necessary supporting documents are available and can be submitted online:

Foreign companies opening up branches in Greece submit:

  • A statute officially translated for partnerships.
  • The Official Government Gazette, in which a licence to open up a branch of a foreign company is published, in the case of a PLC or LLC.
  • A certified copy of the legal representative or dealer.
  • Certificate of the competent authority of the country in which the legal person responsible for the company's existence is based.

Proof of qualifications

The National Vocational Qualification is recognised both in Greece and in other European Union member states. The professional rights of vocational qualification title holders are defined under relevant presidential decrees issued after consulting with the OEEK.

Work permit applications

According to the relevant legislation, an alien is allowed to enter Greece for employment with a specific employer and for a specific type of employment, if he/she is granted a residence permit by the prefect, in line with specific procedures.

The residence permit is granted for a period of up to one year and may be renewed for a period of up to one year each time. The Prefect shall forward the work permit to the Greek consulate which will issue a visa and communicate it to the Immigration Office.

An employer wishing to employ foreigners for seasonal work should receive prior OAED approval, upon request to the competent labour service of the Prefectural Administration at least three months prior to the start of the work.

Finally, a foreigner is allowed to enter the country in order to undertake independent economic activity, if:

  • he/she has sufficient resources to complete the activity;
  • the activity contributes to the development of the national economy.

The Ministry of Interior, Decentralisation and e-Government is the competent national authority responsible for this.

Resources

The ermis National Portal for Public Administration, which is the integrated Public Administration Government Portal, is available to provide information to citizens and companies and is responsible for the secure delivery of e-government services. 

Information on all available digital services by the Public Administration depending on the population group, is also available on the website launched as part of the "Information and Public Awareness regarding the Information Society" project.

More information on the rights of service recipients is available on the website of the General Secretariat for Consumer Affairs:

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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