Reuters has an instructive story about how Greece is in some ways its own worst economic enemy. It seems that a Greek-Australian man returned to Greece to start a shrimp business. Or to make the attempt, anyway. Excerpt:
A process that would take just two or three months to complete in Australia got stuck in a maze of official opinions and permits across several ministries. Greek politicians assured him that the paperwork would be done in 18 months, but that date came and went with no progress.
A year into the battle to obtain both an environmental permit and zoning permission for a three-hectare farm in the western coastal town of Igoumenitsa, Tsanis’s project was sued by a group including Pavlos Alexiou, an engineer with the local Thesprotia district administration which is responsible for granting licenses in the region.
“He was of a communist ideology and objected to most investment projects,” said Tsanis, who had, tongue-in-cheek, named his company Albatross Investments.
Contacted by Reuters, Alexiou said his objections were environmental: the area is a protected habitat and “shrimp is not an endemic species.” He and about a dozen others took the project to the high court that deals with administrative and civil disputes.
Alexiou said the group could not pursue the case financially and in 2009, seven years after it was filed, the court dropped it.
By then, though, another law change that sought to keep aquaculture projects small meant Tsanis had to break up his farm into sections to go ahead.
Tsanis said politicians from both the socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy parties did nothing to rein in the suffocating public sector during the decade he fought to open his farm. At one point he told a Greek politician that it was ridiculous for the country to be fighting a project that would create jobs and generate growth.
“He gave me the best advice I ever got,” Tsanis said. “He said: ‘These people don’t care about the future, they only care about what you can do for them now.'”
Read the whole thing. That poor man. Can’t blame this one on Germany.