SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012 Vol. XI | No. 62
Labor, Insurance & Social Security Bridging Solutions Marketplace
How Can Greece Benefit from Electronic Payments ▼
Information Has a Life of its Own ▼
Affairs of State
Is Bureaucracy the ‘’Thorn’’ of Public Administration? ▼
Plus Biz Buzz Names & Faces Trends & Trade Makers
AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.amcham.gr
The Greek Stock Market Rising Expectations Socrates Lazaridis
Executive Chairman of ATHEX
Volume XI | Number 62
CHAMBER.PRESS ISSN 1109-4990 CODE: 6526
AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE bponline.amcham.gr
AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
4 THE BOARD
6 The Human Age
Negativity Can Kill You; Crisis Cannot! by Dr Venetia Koussia
8 Chamber News
1 1 Washington Outlook
The Strategic Realities of a Greek Exit
Socrates Lazaridis, Executive Chairman of ATHEX, discusses prospects for the Athens Stock Exchange amid a Road Show to New York with the Chamber
by Alexandros Petersen
1 2 In Profile
Krokos Kozanis—aka Red Greek Saffron
1 4 Names & Faces in the News 1 6 Leadership Today Neuroscience and Business
1 8 BIZ BUZZ
Currents in Today’s Business Environment
2 0 Generation Innovation
StartUp Revolution in Greece by Panayotis Tzinis
2 1 Make Innovation Work
Tassos Vamvakaris, Managing Director at Iron Mountain Hellas, on the challenges of storing information
MIW and the Innovation Imperative by Litsa Panayotopoulos
2 2 One World
Diageo Hellas —Celebrating Life, Today and Tomorrow
2 3 TRAVEL usa
2 4 The Interview
Prof. Konstantinos Kremalis, Kremalis-Law Firm, and Chairman of the Insurance, Social Security and Labor Matters Committee of the Chamber, leads a discussion on Labor, Insurance. & Social Security
Socrates Lazaridis, Executive Chairman of ATHEX
2 6 The Workplace
Labor, Insurance. & Social Security—Bridging Solutions
3 6 Information Management Information Has a Life of its Own by Tassos Vamvakaris
3 8 Marketplace Greece
How Can Greece Benefit from Electronic Payments by Holti Banka
B u s i ne s s Part n ers i s the b im o nthly magazin e o f t he A m er ican- He llenic Ch amb e r o f Comm erce DIRECTOR Elias Spirtounias firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER & EDITOR Raymond Matera email@example.com Please Recycle
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OWNER American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Politia Business Center 109-111 Messoghion Avenue 115 26 Athens Tel: +30 210 699.3559 Fax: +30 210 698.5686-7 E-mail: email@example.com BRANCH OFFICE 47 Vassileos Irakleiou Street 546 23 Thessaloniki Tel: +30 2310 286.453, 239.337 Fax: +30 2310 225.162 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 0 Affairs of State
Is Bureaucracy the ‘’Thorn’’ of Public Administration? By Amalia Tzanetou, Anna Angelidaki & Lena Sourdi
4 2 Northern Greece
The Hellenic Institute of Metrology
4 4 Trends & TrAdE Makers 4 6 Business2Business A B2B Toolbox
4 8 Viewpoint
Science—A Powerful Economic Force
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012 | BUSINESS PARTNERS |
Greeceâ€™s new tax legislation should be governed by a new philosophy, consistent with current economic conditions, the demands of a modern economy, and equity. The legislation should provide for equal and fair distribution of the tax burden to all to build trust between citizens and the State, the cornerstone of a well-governed democracy. Taxation must be institutionalized as a tool for generating revenues in a just way, not as a punitive measure. This means that the government is to properly supervise and collect taxes, and not generate revenues from excessive fines. Sound fiscal policy is needed for the development of the country. It should facilitate liquidity, investment, and entrepreneurship, since these lead to business revenues, employment growth, and an increase of the tax base. The new fiscal framework should focus on the following points: A. Repeal of the current Code for Books and Records, an anachronistic and uniquely European code that preserves an unhealthy and non-transparent coexistence regime of entrepreneurship and fiscal control mechanism, and contributes to an obsolete development model. It can be replaced with a simple and understandable code as used in all Western countries. B. C hange of philosophy in tax penalties and fines. Today, crippling sanctions are imposed without benefit. The objective of any government is to collect tax revenues rather than destroy businesses or individuals. Penalties and fines should be realistic and based on international standards. C. 1 00% exemption of expenses incurred by the taxpayer will help confront fraud and tax evasion. That means that a plumber, electrician, doctor or any other service or sales provider would issue an invoice. D. The stability period of the new fiscal law should be significant since this is desirable by foreign or Greek investors who need to forecast costs in budgets, including tax expenditures. Today, these costs are unpredictable due to frequent changes in the tax law. E. A significant tax grace period, with either zero tax or reduced tax, for new businesses will help them develop faster, hire additional staff, and achieve higher productivity. G. S peedy trial tax litigation is an essential component of a modern tax system. These key points, if adopted simultaneously with the implementation of an electronic system (e-governance), combined with bold reform and education within the tax inspection and control mechanism, would help to stimulate entrepreneurship, create a stable fiscal framework, and boost the Greek economy. Elias Spirtounias Executive Director
The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce A Dynamic, Proactive Chamber The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce was established in 1932 and is one of the largest, most active, and dynamic American Chambers in Europe. Virtually all American companies that do business in Greece and Greek companies that engage in trade with the United States are members of the Chamber. The Chamber's membership is comprised of more than 1,000 proactive companies that seek to expand business horizons, create new business partnerships, and take advantage of trade and investment opportunities in today's global economy. The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce is an active mem-
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ber of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. and the European Council of American Chambers of Commerce (ECACC).
Mission Statement The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce strives for continuous improvement of American-Hellenic commercial and financial relations, through increased membership and through the organization of top-quality events, exhibitions, fora, seminars, and congresses on both sides of the Atlantic.
American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee
Gramatidis Yanos President | BAHAS, GRAMATIDIS & PARTNERS
Kyriacou Marios T. Vice President | KPMG CERTIFIED AUDITORS A.E.
Members: Felonis Athanassios, Papakosmas Dimitrios, Sabatakakis Kyriacos | Coordinator: Andriana Chadjianagnostou
Bakatselos Nikolas Vice President | PYRAMIS METALLOURGIA A.E.
Corporate Governance Committee
Karayannis Angelos Secretary General | KARAYANNIS K. GROUP OF COMPANIES Panayotopoulos Litsa Treasurer | BOSTON HAMILTON LTD. Anastassopoulos Simos Counselor | PETSIAVAS N. S.A. Bacacos George Counselor | BACACOS P. CHEMICAL & PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS CO. S.A. Charalambous Odysseas Counselor | CISCO SYSTEMS HELLAS S.A. Papadopoulos Thanos Counselor | CHEVELLAS S.A.
Chair: Papacostopoulos Constantinos | Members: Charalambous Yiangos, Dimou Ioannis, Petalas Apostolis, Siamishis Andreas, Hadjisotiriou Paula, Theodoulidou Maria | Coordinator: Daphne Constantinidou
Corporate Social Responsibility Committee
Chair: Stavridis Stelios | Members: Alexiou Maria, Constantelis George, Lolas Vassilis, Vrachatis Ioannis | Coordinator: Angela Boyatzis
Environment & Energy Committee
Members: Aloupis Constantine, Bakouris Costas, Karayannis Angelos, Manos Alexandros, Melissanidis Dimitris, Mytilineos Evangelos, Nomikos Elias, Papadimitriou Spyros, Papavasileiou Athanasios, Peristeris George, Stefanakis John, Yannopoulos Sotiris, Yiannopoulos Emil | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia
Greek Economy Conference Committee
Spirtounias Elias Executive Director
Chair: Kyriacou Marios | Members: Anastassopoulos Simos, Antoniades Vassilis, Bacacos George, Yannopoulos Sotiris | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia
Innovation & Education Committee
Board of Directors Ahmed Pervaiz | BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB A.E. Antoniades Vassilis | THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP Antonopoulos Constantinos | INTRALOT S.A. - INTEGRATED LOTTERY SYSTEMS AND SERVICES Canellopoulos Paul | CHARTIS GREECE S.A. Costas Stavros | Economist Costopoulos Alexandros | FORESIGHT Strategy & Communications Costopoulos John | HELLENIC PETROLEUM S.A. David George | COCA-COLA HELLENIC BOTTLING COMPANY S.A. Filiotis Dionysios | PHARMASERVE-LILLY SACI Frangou Angeliki | NAVIOS MARITIME HOLDINGS INC. Kartsanis Georgia | CEO CLUBS GREECE Kokorotsikos Paris | EUROCONSULTANTS S.A. Kosmatos Makis | JOHNSON & JOHNSON HELLAS S.A. Kouides Antonis | B.E.R.M.A. A.E. Koutsoureli Eftychia | QUEST HOLDINGS S.A. Kyriakides John | KYRIAKIDES GEORGOPOULOS & DANIOLOS ISSAIAS LAW FIRM
Chair: Panayotopoulos Litsa | Members: Darda Dimitra, Farmaki Teresa, Lelakis George, Makios Vassilios, Makridakis Spyros, Papadakis Georgios, Patakiouti Maria, Pateraki Evangelia, Persidis Andreas, Pilitsis Loukas, Printzos Michael, Raptopoulos Manos, Rizopoulos Yannis, Tsangos Christos, Tsiboukis Antonis, Tsigos Dimitris, Tsoukalis Alexandros | Coordinator: Katerina Tzagaroulaki
Insurance, Social Security & Labour Matters Committee
Chair: Kremalis Konstantinos | Committee Members: Andriopoulos Stavros, Canellopoulos Paul, Christidou Agni, Kollas John, Koussia Venetia, Lisseos Panayotis, Lysimachou Triantafyllos, Mihos Stathis, Oikonomopoulou Antouaneta, Panagiotou Andreas, Pelidis Manos, Sarantopoulos Dimitris, Tzotzos Apostolos, Vlassopoulos George | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou
Chair: Katerina Galanopoulou | Members: John Kyriakides, Antonis Makris, Dora Zachou, Xenophon Paparrigopoulos | Coordinator: Daphne Constantinidou
Chair: Miropoulos Artemis | Members: John Kalligeros, Pavlos Katsivelis, Antonis Kerastaris, Kyriakos Kofinas, Michael Mavropoulos, Spyros Olympios, Aristotelis Panteliadis, Vassilis Rabbat, Emmanuel Raptopoulos, Alexandros Saracakis | Coordinator: Ritana Xidou
Medical Devices & Diagnostics Committee
Chair: Liakopoulos Theodore | Committee Members: Anagnostopoulos Stefanos, Andria Magdalini, Baracos Christos, Boulougouris George, Deligiannis Konstantinos, Derkos Kalogridis, Kartalis Christos, Krinos Gregory, Lindholm Mangnus, Maroutsis George, Nikas Dimitris, Papazoglou Konstantinos, Strouzos Anastasios | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou
Northern Greece Committee
Chair: Bakatselos Nikolas | Members: Accas Ioannis, Alexopoulos Charis, Gigilinis Alexandros, Kafatos Vassilis, Katsaros George, Kokorotsikos Paris, Kouides Antonis, Kouimtzis Thanasis, Koukountzos Konstantinos, Mavroudis Theodoros, Pylarinos Othon, Symeonides Dimitris | Coordinator: Nikos Tsavdaroglou
Manos Alexandros | PIRAEUS BANK S.A.
Chair: Pascal Apostolides | Vice Chair: Filiotis Dionysios | Committee Members: Frouzis Konstantinos, Gerassopoulos Marcos, Charalampidis Savas, Karokis Antonis, Greco Roberto, Kefalas Nikos, Nordkamp Hendrikus Hermannus (Erik), Pateraki Evangelia, Pervaiz Ahmed, Tsoutsias Spyros | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou
Meintassis Harry | HAY GROUP S.A.
Public Affairs Committee
Mamidaki Eleftheria | MAMIDOIL JETOIL PETROLEUM COMPANY S.A.
Nordkamp Hendrikus Hermannus | PFIZER HELLAS S.A. Papalexopoulos | TITAN CEMENT COMPANY S.A.
Members: Anastassopoulos Simos, Kyriacou Marios, Papadopoulos Thanos | Coordinator: Xidou Ritana
Stavridis Stelios | PISCINES IDEALES A.E.
Chair Costas Stavros | Members: Altiparmakis Christos, Ampeliotis Evangelos, Anastasiadis Harris, Antoniou Vassilis, Desipris Antonis, Doucas Spyros, Gigantes Stavros, Goulakos Panos, Gouvaris Vassilis, Kanellatou Athena, Kerameus George, Kyriakides Stelios, Laskaratos Panagiotis, Mavraganis George, Mitsios George, Nasiopoulou Maria, Panagiotidis George, Papadatos Eugene, Papandreou Cristina, Samothrakis George, Sarafoglou Gerasimos, Savvaidou Katerina, Sfakakis Konstantinos, Spyriouni Litsa, Stavropoulos Ioannis, Stavrides Vassilis, Theophilides George, Trakadi Maria, Tsakonas Yannis | Coordinator: Katerina Tzagaroulaki
Symeonides Dimitris | MEVGAL S.A. DAIRY PRODUCT INDUSTRY
Passaris Despina | PROCTER & GAMBLE HELLAS LTD. Plessas Dennys | LOCKHEED MARTIN (INTERNATIONAL) S.A. Priamou John | U.S. Commercial Counselor (ret.) Saracakis John D | SARACAKIS BROTHERS S.A.
Synghelides Polychronis | CHRYSLER JEEP DODGE HELLAS S.A. Tourkolias Alexandros | NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE S.A. Yiannopoulos Emil | PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS BUSINESS SOLUTIONS S.A. Zeritis Panos | THRACE PAPER MILL S.A.
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Chair: Stylianopoulos Andreas | Members: Ananiadis Tim, Anglos John, Argiri Byron, Marriott Carol, Panayotopoulos Panos, Papadopoulou Catherine, Peressiadis Costas, Van de Winkel Bart | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia
Women in Business (WIB) Committee
Chair Kartsanis Georgia | Members: Adamopoulou Efi, Anagnostopoulou Popi, Athanassoulas Elena, Dimou-Lampadari Maria, Katsou Nelly, Kazakopoulou Betty, Panagopoulou Varvara, Papakonstantinou Ioanna, Sideri Anastasia, Tarou Iphigenia, Thomas Marielle, Tzimea Deppie, Velliotou Peggy | Coordinator: Angela Boyatzis
Θεμελιώδεις λύσεις στην Υγεία
Ε Α Ν Θ Ρ Ω Π Ο Σ Ι Τ Α Ξ Ι Ε Σ Υ Φ Γ Ε Ρ E Y N Μ Ο Α Ν Τ Τ Ο Ρ Α Μ Α Ι Ρ Δ Ε Π Ι Τ Υ Χ Ι Α Ε Σ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ
Μ Ε Ρ Ι Μ Ν Α
✓ ΕΡΕΥΝΑ ✓ ΕΠΙΤΥΧΙΑ ✓ ΟΡΑΜΑ ✓ ΜΕΡΙΜΝΑ ✓ ✓ ΑΞΙΕΣ ✓ ΦΡΟΝΤΙΔΑ ✓ ΕΠΙΤΕΥΓΜΑΤΑ ✓
Για περισσότερο από 120 χρόνια εργαζόμαστε καθημερινά με ζήλο για την προάσπιση και προαγωγή της ευημερίας της κοινωνίας και του ανθρώπου. Σκοπός μας είναι η συνεχής αναζήτηση, ανάπτυξη και προσφορά πρωτοποριακών προϊόντων για πρόληψη, διάγνωση και θεραπεία που αποτελούν τις θεμελιώδεις λύσεις στην υγεία. Με οδηγό τις διαχρονικές εταιρικές μας αξίες, Πρωτοπορία, Αντοχή στο χρόνο, Μέριμνα, Επιτεύξεις και υψηλό αίσθημα εταιρικής κοινωνικής ευθύνης, εστιάζουμε στο μέλλον και υιοθετούμε σύγχρονες πρακτικές, που διασφαλίζουν την πρόσβαση των ασθενών σε υπηρεσίες και καινοτόμα προϊόντα υγείας προσφέροντας μακροβιότητα και βελτίωση της ποιότητας ζωής των ασθενών.
The Human Age
by Dr Venetia Koussia Managing Director, ManpowerGroup
Negativity Can Kill You; Crisis Cannot!
he uncertain economy forced many companies to cut costs in the face of declining revenues. The resulting impact set in motion cycles of disruptive organizational change. How are employees feeling amid this barrage of continual change? Increased workloads, decreased confidence in corporate direction and growing mistrust of leadership have raised employee negativity while lowering productivity. Productivity suffers in a workplace characterized by criticism, spiteful gossip and lack of teamwork. In a recent survey conducted by Right Management1 nearly 2 out of 3 senior executives and human resource professionals indicated that negativity in the workplace makes it difficult for workers to focus on their jobs.
Breaking the Cycle In many cases, negativity is ignored. The worst thing leaders can do is remain silent and tolerate bad attitudes. Rather than being seen as people who can lead others to a better future, leaders who are viewed as contributing to negativity are seen as part of the problem, which can undermine au-
thority, optimism and effectiveness. Therefore, leaders need to develop key behaviors that will help break the workplace negativity cycle, by educating and inspiring others to embrace a positive attitude.
Managing Talent in the New Normal Effectively managing talent through change will go a long way to ensure that employees are aligned with the overall business strategy and are committed to doing their part to achieve business goals. Preparing workforces to respond confidently and competently reduces negative reactions, mitigates the risk of turnover, improves morale and boosts productivity. Some practical suggestions include: • I ncrease collaboration. Work on collaboration skills, such as utilizing cross-functional teams, learning how to manage diversity well or adopting software sharing services to increase effectiveness. • Be realistic. Help employees by setting realistic expectations so they’re more likely to be successful in completing tasks within reasonable time frames. •P romote self-management. More and
Right Management (www.right.com) is a global leader in talent and career management workforce solutions within ManpowerGroup.
| BUSINESS PARTNERS | SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012
Navigating change together requires that we acknowledge and reduce negativity
more, individuals are expected to be selfdirected. Consider the increased ranks of virtual workers and the autonomous skills required to be successful in such an environment. Nurture self-management skills in employees, such as adaptability, autonomy, decisiveness, dependability, tolerance for stress and resourcefulness. •C ommunicate frequently and consistently. Communicate with authenticity and stay in touch consistently and regularly. Hold brief weekly calls or meetings to make sure team members are aware of priorities, updates on the business and their role in making it successful. •B e flexible. Create flexible structures to accommodate different lifestyles and work motivators. Employees want control over where, when and how they work, as well as the career choices they make. Embrace a “one-size-fits-one” approach and understand the different motivators and needs for individual employees. •R eward accomplishments. Don’t focus on rewarding individuals for the time they put in at work, but rather for what they achieve and accomplish. •P rioritize. Equip employees with decision rules to be able to identify what’s important so they can focus their time appropriately. Empower employees so they have the ability to decide the priorities and subsequently have a greater vested interest in what they’re doing. But empowerment turns to abandonment if leaders aren’t providing road maps for people to use in the decision process. For instance, if a company’s values focus on customer service, teamwork, innovation and work-life balance, a leader must inform people which values are the top drivers, otherwise employees may not know how to react when work situations force them to choose one value over another.
Healthworld 2012 The Chamber held its highly successful 11th Annual HealthWorld Conference, “Reviewing and Revising the Memorandum—Impacts on Healthcare,”on September 11, 2012 at the Athens Hilton. Speakers and delegates expressed their deep concerns regarding today’s healthcare environment and focused on the need for a national health strategy and an effective and sustainable healthcare system which, at the same time, is easily accessed by patients. More than 350 distinguished guests, representatives of health agencies, regional health administrations, patient associations, hospital governors, MPs, and representatives of the business community attended the high-level event. Major sponsor of the conference was Abbott Laboratories Hellas; supporters were Amgen Hellas Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson Hellas Medical Products, Pfizer Hellas, Pharmaserve-Lilly, and Sanofi-Aventis; contributors were Boston Scientific Hellas, Gilead Sciences Hellas, Janssen Cilag Pharmaceutical, Merck, MSD, and Novartis Hellas. Communication sponsors were Business Partners, Iatronte, Kerdos, and SBC TV. Yanos Gramatidis
Chamber Preparing Dynamic New Web Portal The Chamber is creating a dynamic new web portal designed to highlight the exceptionally innovative and successful companies and organizations operating in Greece today. The private sector in Greece, as well as a number of active R&D institutes, reflect the Hellenic spirit that overcomes difficulties, succeeds in world markets, and provides Greece with a highly positive identity. Stay tuned!
New Chamber Members The following companies and individuals have joined the Chamber in recent months: Corporate Members
NATASSA N. SPAGADOROU, AURÉLIE VANDEPUTTE, PASCAL APOSTOLIDES, THOMAS CUENI, YANNIS TOUNTAS, THEODORE LIAKOPOULOS
NIKOS FELEKIS, IOANNIS MICHELOGIANNAKIS, KYRIAKOS SOULIOTIS, PANOS KANAVOS
ELENA FYNTANIDOU, KOSTAS ATHANASAKIS, IOANNIS BOLETIS, VASSILIS BARDIS, VASSILIS FRAGOULAKIS
3D MEDIA S.A. AB VASSILOPOULOS S.A. AIQ INTERNATIONAL TRADE CO. LTD. ASTRA ZENECA S.A. BALLAS, PELECANOS & ASSOCIATES LPC. BOSTON HAMILTON LTD. CARGOTEC GREECE LTD. CHANGELAND CONSULTING CREMER & ASSOCIATES CRITICAL PUBLICS LTD. ECHMES LTD. ENEL GREEN POWER HELLAS FLUID POWER ENGINEERING GRANT THORNTON GREECE I.K. ROKAS & PARTNERS LAW FIRM INNOVARTIVE CRAFT KLEOPAS ALLIOTT BUSINESS CONSULTANTS S.A. KOVEOS EFTHIMIOS DR. D.M.D. I.N.C.-COSMETIC IMPLANT & RECONSTRUCTIVE DENTISTRY NEON ENERGY PANAGIOTIDIS SOCRATIS & CO. (PANHOL GROUP) PEOPLE FOR BUSINESS LTD. SCIENTIA LEGIS LAW FIRM, MARGAROPOULOS & ASSOCIATES
Professional Members Batistatos Nikos Bezantakou Danai Panagiotidis George Paparoussi Iphigenia Proedrou Lia Tarou Iphigenia
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Ambassador Daniel Bennett Smith Visits Algae Biomass Production Plant, MIW Winner U.S. Ambassador Daniel Bennett Smith visited the production facilities of the MIW Competition winner, Algae Energy Ltd., on August 29, 2012. The Ambassador was accompanied by the President of the, Yanos Gramatidis and the President of the Innovation, Education, and Entrepreneurship Committee, Litsa Panayotopoulos. At the production facilities of the MIW Competition winner, Algae Energy Ltd. The MIW Competition, which provided a first prize of $100,000, was an initiative of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce with the support of Cisco and other Greek and multinational companies.
House of Hellenes The Chamber was a supporter of the House of Hellenes, a destination at the London Olympic Games that promoted Greece, its products, and its investment potential. The House of Hellenes was a British-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and private sector initiative.
AHEI | Memorandum of Understanding
The President and Executive Director of the Chamber, and executive representatives of Chamber companies, met in August with members of the U.S. Congressional delegation visiting Greece. The Congressional delegation included Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sen Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep Dennis Cardoza (D-CA). The group of U.S. legislators was accompanied to the meeting by Deputy Assistant Secretary at U.S. Treasury Chris Smart, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel B. Smith and staff of the U.S. delegation. At the meeting the Chamber briefed the U.S. legislators on issues concerning the status of the economy in Greece: the diminishing of economic activity leading to severe constrictions caused by the lack of liquidity; the course of privatization; and the planning and implementation of structural reforms and other measures designed to enhance business activity and create a suitable climate for U.S. investment in Greece. The legislators underlined the U.S. support toward Greece, based on the longstanding and deep relationship between the two countries, and assured the Greek side that upon their return to U.S. they will inform the American public, Congress and the U.S. Government about the course of their discussions in Greece and contribute to the facilitation of the Greek efforts.
The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and its American-Hellenic Enterprise Initiative (AHEI) announced that the Presidents Yanos Gramatidis and Christos Papazoglou, representing the Chamber of Artas, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, underlining the efforts to promote regional Greece to U.S. investors and boosting the export potential of Greek companies to the U.S. market. AHEI is an initiative of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce aimed at developing and implementing Greece-US actions that further binational trade, partnerships, investment, technology transfer, green energy solutions R&D and entrepreneurship though combined efforts of AHEI strategic partners. AHEI has now 50 strategic partners, among which are the majority of regional chambers as well as Invest in Greece, Hellenic Export Promotion Organization and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Congressional Delegation meeting with the Chamber
Christos Papazoglou, Yanos Gramatidis
Chamber Hosts Meeting of U.S. Congressional Delegation
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012 | BUSINESS PARTNERS |
Corporate Responsibility: When Businesses Become Citizens The Chamber, through its Northern Greece Committee, in cooperation with ICBS Business College and the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece, hosted the event, “Corporate Responsibility: When Businesses Become Citizens” on September 10, 2012 at the ICBS Conference Centre. The event brought together local businesspeople, consultants, academics and students. Mr. Savvakis analyzed the actions undertaken by the FING Solidarity Network, Ms. Asvesta presented the CSR actions of Kleemann Hellas, which has been nominated as Best Workplace for 2012, and Mr. Malavakis (ICBS) explored the academic aspects of business ethics. Participants were encouraged to support the actions undertaken by the Social Grocery initiative by the Thessaloniki Municipality and Carrefour-Marinopoulos.
Chamber Board of Directors Erik Nordkamp, President & General Manager, Pfizer Hellas, is now on the Board of Directors of the Chamber. Mr. Nordkamp assumed the position of Country Lead and Primary Care Business Unit Head at Pfizer Hellas. This change followed Pierre Gaudreault’s decision to leave Pfizer after 15 successful years with the company. Erik Nordkamp is 43 years old and has been working in the pharmaceutical market for the past 13 years. Mr. Nordkamp is a Dutch national and holds a degree in Life Sciences from Nijmegen University (Netherlands), an MBA from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and a European Masters in Environmental Management from Varese (Italy).
Chamber Supports Ignite Athens The Chamber is Institutional Supporter of Ignite Athens, a dynamic event to exchange information, learn about new business ideas, and network with the “innovation generation” in Greece. Ignite Athens has format in which entrepreneurs present their business ideas in a 5-minute pitch, or presentation, to everyone present. The event is designed to foster the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in Greeks of all ages and to encourage start ups—especially as a way to emerge from the crisis Greece faces today. Business Partners is a communication partner.
President Meets U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Chamber President Yanos Gramatidis met with Assistant Secretary of State Philip H. Gordon during his visit to Greece. The President briefed the Under Secretary on recent economic developments, the course of structural reforms, and the privatization program underway in Greece.
Chamber Calendar October 9 - 11 New York, NY Investment Forum in cooperation with Athens Stock Exchange October Kalamata or Chania, How to do business in US seminar November Thessaloniki, 4th Thessaloniki Tax Forum November Athens, Workshop on objectives and requirements of various funding schemes for startup-businesses November 8 Athens, Conference on unemployment and other labor issues
Demetre Petsiavas, Chamber President 1975-1998 Demetre Petsiavas, President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce from 1975 to 1998, died on September 14. Demetre Petsiavas was a dynamic President of the Chamber who ushered in many new and modern initiatives during his Presidency. He was founder of Petsiavas N. S.A., a pharmaceutical and medical supply firm. He will be remembered for his deep concern for the Chamber, his prescience, and his enduring commitment to the ideals and values of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.
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November 21 Athens, Hotel Grande Bretagne Thanksgiving Dinner November Alexandroupolis, How to do business in US seminar November 26 Athens, Hotel Grande Bretagne WIB Forum 2012: “Women, Business & The Future of Work” December 3-4 Athens, Athenauem Intercontinental, The Greek Economy Conference
by Alexandros Petersen
The Strategic Realities of a Greek Exit
ommentators now expect and openly discuss a Greek Eurozone exit and the return of the drachma. Whatever one thinks of Greek culpability for these dire straits, when one steps back to take a big picture view, it becomes undeniable that a “Grexit” would shock not just global financial markets, but the very fabric of the Euro-Atlantic community. It is therefore unconscionable that Greece’s European and North American allies are not stepping up to the plate to save the great postwar project. As Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of the sprawling investment firm PIMCO put it recently the fate of Greece is, “closely linked to what happens in Italy and Spain, and in a manner that is yet to be sufficiently understood by many.” The Troika wants to look tough on Greece, but it may soon find that it also have to be tough on others along the Mediterranean seaboard. Greece has become the scapegoat, but the Eurozone’s destruction contagion may well come from some of its larger economies. Increasingly, on the economic front, the Euro-Atlantic community is in the same boat. The keepers of its salvation, Germany among them, must begin to see the situation through that lens or risk undermining the economic basis of Western cohesion.
That said, the real question is a strategic one. Greece, and its geopolitically important neighbor Turkey, are integral parts of the NATO alliance, crucial for Mediterranean maritime security (Souda Bay in
It is . . . unconscionable that Greece’s European and North American allies are not stepping up to the plate to save the great postwar project Crete is a vital NATO naval station), but also important for the strength of the European project on its southeastern flank. It was not out of Philhellenism that Winston
The never-ending crisis of the economic downturn has desensitized almost all observers to the profound strategic implications of the turmoil.
Churchill demanded Greece stay in the Western orbit as the Cold War began. The geographic realities of the European continent mean that an alienated and excluded Greece exposes the Euro-Atlantic community. Geography aside, the bullying of one of its members risks the splintering of the European project itself. From certain perspective in Berlin, Paris and elsewhere, there are good economic reasons for cutting of a gangrenous limb, but the implications of such a move must be fully understood and spelled out by other members of the Euro-Atlantic community. Is “teaching Greece a lesson” worth undermining the vision of a Europe “whole, free and at peace”? Certainly not from the perspective of anyone looking at the big picture. Certainly not if one considers NATO solidarity important or the development of the EU as more than just a monetary zone. In a global strategic environment where the United States will increasingly “pivot” towards East Asia, Europe faces a choice between increased strategic cohesion or an “every man for himself ” future in which the commitments of the last half century are thrown under the bus in favor of the parochial interests of individual pygmy state governments. Some states may prefer the latter course, but they should be aware of the consequences of their actions. This is not a decision to be taken lightly and it is by no means just an economic one to do with Greek debt.
Alexandros Petersen is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West. His latest research can be found at www.chinaincentralasia.com.
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 11
Although about 20 species of Saffron are native to Greek flora, nowadays Crocus sativus ln. is the only species being cultivated, in the rural area outside the city of Kozani, in northern Greece.
Krokos Kozanis— aka Red Greek Saffron
rokos Kozanis is one of the world’s most precious spices, with scientifically proven beneficial action. Research on saffron’s efficacy is multi-faceted and new findings are constantly being made. In addition to the most recent discoveries, the spice’s beneficial action—anticonvulsive, digestive and antiseptic—known through yesteryear’s traditional use, is now supported by lab experts. Saffron stigmas are proven to have strong antioxidant properties, while also helping neutralize free radicals and boost memory. Saffron quality is determined by laboratory monitoring of a number of variants, such as crocin (colour), picrocrocin (taste) and safranal (flavor) content. Greek saffron is considered the best in the world—scoring significantly higher than the minimum international standards—while as of 1998 it has entered the Register of Protected Designations of Origin. About 150.000 krokos flowers are required for a kilogram of the final product, which consists of the flower’s dried stigmas. The extremely time-consuming and elaborate cultivation and processing methods. along with its unique properties, are factored into the market price of Krokos Kozanis, that
has often been compared to that of gold. In 1971 the Greek saffron growers formed the Cooperative de Safran; since then, the cooperative has had the exclusive responsibility of harvesting, sorting, processing, packaging and trading the entire krocus production.
About Krocus Kozanis Products Krocus Kozanis Products, established in 2007, is a joint venture between the Cooperative de Safran of Kozani and the Greek skincare brand Korres. In addition to developing products based on the beneficial properties of Saffron, the company is also set to promote Greek Saffron globally. Krocus Kozanis Products aims to provide a prosperity framework for the saffron growers’ community through raising income and securing production purchase. The company supports the local economy, representing about 1,500 families from 20 villages around Kozani. It invests on improving those areas that can drive growth, such as production increase in response to the rising demand, innovation and differentiation, both in terms of product development and design as well as targeted market penetration strategy. It has highly contributed to the area’s devel-
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opment, creating job opportunities for saffron growers, while its sound organizational structure and know-how led to unique, added value Krokos Kozanis based-products, and at the same time strengthened the global presence of an internationally recognized and top quality Greek product. A first taste of this ongoing effort is the Krocus Kozanis Organic Herbal Tea Collection that has been awarded with a Superior Taste Award by the International Taste & Quality Institute. Launched in 2008, this organic saffron tea line is the company’s debut in the nutraceutical market. It is also a worldwide innovation, as this is the first time saffron is combined with various organic herbs to create premium taste blends that help establish the precious spice as an essential everyday nutrient. Featuring seven blends, the Krocus Kozanis Organic Herbal Tea Collection is available in more than 15 markets, including Greece [2,500 points of sale], Russia, France, Switzerland, UAE, Qatar, India and Japan. Through the recent 5-year commercial deal with GAEA –a leading fine Greek food distributor- Krocus Kozanis Products aspires to broaden access to international markets, placing priority to the U.S., Germany, United Kingdom, Scandinavia and China.
Greek Investment Forum in NY October 9-11, 2012
Greece Under Reform: Creating Growth Revealing Opportunities tel. 0030 210-33.66.616, e-mail: email@example.com
NAMES & FACES
...in the news Alexandros Tourkolias, CEO, National Bank
Alexandros G. Tourkolias was appointed Chief Executive Officer at the NBG Group in June 2012. Since November 2010, he was Executive Member of the Board of Directors and Deputy CEO of National Bank of Greece, as well as a Member of the NBG Executive Committee. He is President of the Association of Banking and Financial Executives of Hellenic Shipping and member of the Committee of Piraeus Maritime Arbitration. Mr. Tourkolias holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences and Public Administration from Panteion University, a Bachelor’s degree in Economic and Political Sciences from the Law School of the University of Athens, a Postgraduate Diploma in Shipping Business Administration, Marine Insurance and Maritime Law, and a Master’s of Philosophy in Shipping Economics from the University of Wales (UK). Toastmasters in Glyfada Want to be a better communicator at dinner parties or interviews? Join Toastmasters in Glyfada to learn the skills and confidence to express yourself effectively. Whether a professional, student, stay-athome parent or retiree, Toastmasters is the most efficient, enjoyable and affordable way of gaining great communication skills. Meetings are held every second Monday throughout the year at the Alpine Center in Glyfada. We meet every second Monday throughout the year. Email Jill Douka at jdouka@uniquenessdevelopmentgroup. com for details. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. There are currently more than 260,000 members in over 12,500 clubs in 113 countries.
Changes at U.S. Embassy, Consulate At the U.S Consulate in Thessaloniki Catherine Kay was replaced by Robert Sanders as Consular General. At the U.S. Embassy in Athens Paul Malik was replaced David Lippeatt as Counsellor for Economic Affairs and Vaida Vidugiris was replaced by Christina Le as Political Officer. Welcome to all.
Speaker’s Corner 14 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012
Deputy Minister of Finance George Mavraganis, who was a member of the Chamber’s Taxation Committee, was named Deputy Minister of Finance following the June elections. Mr. Mavraganis, a lawyer to the Supreme Court., is a graduate of the Athens Law School (1987), Master George Mavraganis (1989) and received his Ph.D (1992) in “Corporate Τax Harmonisation in the EU” from the University of London (UCL). Prior to his appointment he was Partner in charge of KPMG Greece.
Secretary General Panayiotis (Peter) G. Mihalos, a longstanding member of the Chamber, was appointed Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Mihalos received his MBA from Baruch Panayiotis (Peter) G. College of the City University of New York Mihalos (CUNY) and his B.Sc. from City College of New York (CCNY) of the City University of New York (CUNY). Mr. Mihalos founded Southeast Real Estate, where he was CEO prior to his appointment.
Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship The Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship on the Thessaloniki campus of the American Farm School and Perrotis College is a new initiative focused on strengthening healthy agro-entrepreneurship in Greece. The Center aims at preparing individuals interested in pursuing agriculture as a profession with the Panos Kanellis technical knowledge and skills to succeed. The Center will also provide advice and mentoring in entrepreneurship and the creation of business plans. Dr. Panos Kanellis (photo) is President of American Farm School.
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. —Henry Ford
Facing it, always facing it. That’s the way to get through. Face it. —Joseph Conrad
Hellenic Aerospace Industry-Lockheed Martin:
Stuart M. Smith Press Officer, U.S. Embassy, Athens
Voting in the U.S. Elections
(from left to right) Dennys Plessas, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Tassos Philippakos & Kyriakos Linakis, Hellenic Aerospace Industry.
What do U.S. citizens need to know about absentee voting procedures for this year’s elections? The United States has streamlined absentee voting procedures for U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. U.S. citizens can register to vote and request an absentee ballot from local election officials in their home state by completing a single form – the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Voters can visit the website Federal Voter Assistance Program website, www.FVAP.gov, where an online wizard walks voters through the form process. Most registered voters are able to send the completed signed form via email or fax to local election officials in the United States. First-time voters typically need to send in the signed, original form by mail. The U.S. Embassy in Athens and the Consulate General in Thessaloniki can assist voters to return these forms free of charge. All U.S. citizens who want to vote in the U.S. presidential election should complete the FPCA in 2012 and request electronic delivery of their blank ballot. U.S. states will begin sending out ballots to overseas voters on or about September 22. U.S. citizens who need assistance with forms or ballots may contact the voting assistance officer at the Embassy or Consulate. To contact the Voting Assistance Officer at the Embassy, please call 210-7202415 or e-mail VoteAthens@state.gov. Information on absentee voting for Americans living abroad is available at the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website and at the Department of State’s Overseas Voting Information at http://travel.state.gov/ travel/living/overseas_voting/overseas_voting_4754.html.
What Are YOU Doing Today?
He not busy being born is busy dying. —Bob Dylan
Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) and Lockheed Martin have enhanced their long-standing and multi-faceted cooperation through a series of important agreements. Lockheed Martin, the largest aerospace and defense company in the world, has expanded its cooperation with HAI with and extension of C-130J co-production and a co-production agreement of major sub assemblies for the F-16. Private Insurance Potential Only 8.0 percent of the Greek population has any form of private insurance, according to a report by MRB Hellas. The report confirmed that the private insurance sector has great prospects for development, with life insurance policies lagging significantly in the country. The report showed that the 18-24 age group (7.7 percent of the total) has the smallest percentage of private insurance, and the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups had the highest percentage rates (31.7 percent and 27 percent, respectively). Athens has the largest share of insurance company clients, whose profile shows that they are married and have a monthly income of more than 1,500 Euros. The most popular form of private insurance policies are car insurance, house insurance, healthcare and life insurance. CEO Clubs Greece and Sargia Partners Change
CEO Clubs Greece and Sargia Partners S.A. have moved. The new address is 7b Digeni str.,GR 166 73 Voula. Athens, Greece. Contact info remains unchanged. Repo(we)r Greece Goes Trans-Atlantic Repo(we)r Greece announced that in cooperation with its first international committee in New York, it has created Repo(we)rGreece Inc, a not-for-profit incorporation established in the United States to serve as the cornerstone for all its international initiatives and programs.
It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have found that it bears a striking resemblance to the first. —Ronald Reagan
Go Ahead. No, Really
Change is good. You go first. —Scott Adams., Dilbert cartoon
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 15
Business is the art of combining vision, productivity, innovation, consistency and resilience to achieve the desired results.
Neuroscience and Business
hese factors form the basis on which well-organized companies rely on to move forward. But this is not enough. Success requires the right decision making. Business needs inspired and effective leadership that can lead to success and is battle-ready to face any challenges and take the steps to achieve the highest goals. Timing in business, as in love, is crucial: the right decision at the wrong time can be fateful. And there are cases where this lack of synchronization led to catastrophic results. Another key factor for success is setting the right agenda. This process presupposes a clear mind to evaluate data, and a leadership willing and ready to embrace change. Making decisions and solving problems is just one aspect of leadership’s responsibilities. Others are collaboration with others and the ability to influence others. Above all, staying cool under pressure is the key to success. Effective leadership is tested under difficult situations, and in today’s gloomy economic environment staying cool is not easy. On the contrary; this unstable environment is the main source of uncertainty, stress and fear, which may impact business leadership and business results. To overcome obstacles, it is essential for executives to become stronger and more agile. They need the tools that can help them face reality with a clear mind. These determinant tools can be provided by Neuroscience, the study of the brain and the nervous system. The human brain is the engine that drives the way we think, feel and act. Delving in the brain’s labyrinth, Neuroscience provides answers for many questions. Although a complex field, Neuroscience has clear and well understood consequences on
Srinivasan S. Pillay
“The secret to living life successfully is to recognize that you can be different from what is happening to you” —Srinivasan S. Pillay
everyday experience. Studying the way the brain works makes it possible to understand human behavior. Moreover, by mapping the functions of the brain, scientists are able to edge into the decision making process. Many scientists are working on issues that are central to the world of change, such as expectations, perception, insight, learning, habits, problem solving and decision making, with excellent results. Neuroscience’s potential for enhancing leadership effectiveness is tremendous. Brain science is the means to get the brain
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in the game when destructive and disastrous factors, such as fear and stress, interfere in the decision making process. These two nightmares blur the image of reality and affect the way we act. Fear can lead to no action at all, to a freezing, dead reaction, while excessive, sustained stress can have serious effects on memory and cognition. Neuroscience has the answer. In his book Your Brain and Business: the Neuroscience of Great Leaders, Dr. Srini Pillay, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a brain-imaging researcher, reveals ways that brain science can be used by today’s executives. He suggests: • Using positive, “strengths-based” approaches to encourage the brain to learn • Encouraging more effective relationships through the fascinating neuroscience of social intelligence • Promoting innovation and intuition, and overcoming intangible vulnerabilities in leaders’ brains • Transforming the “idea” of change into crisp, timely execution
The relation between neuroscience and business will be discussed during the Build Resiliency > Get Your Brain in the Game seminar on October 16 at the Athens Hilton. The seminar, organized by the leadership consultancy firm SARGIA Partners, will introduce participants to brain-based techniques and revolutionary neuroscience interventions. w ww.leadershipseminars.gr/en/
Marketers Take Aim at Pinterest Not all marketing departments are taking advantage of Pinterest, but should be, according to Curt Maly, the Co-Founder of Black Box Social Media LLC. Pinterest is a huge online social media pinboard, filled with recipes, art, pets, beauty, DIY, and anything else you can imagine. The social site has been growing quickly (has over 2 million visits per day) and is especially popular with women. “Pinterest is a tricky site for marketers because it’s not designed to be used as a marketing site,” says Mr. Maly. “However, there are certain tricks that you can perform which will allow for you to create value for users and still promote your product or service. The key is to provide value and not just self-promote.” Some Pinterest tips for marketers: • Use Pinterest to locate your most active fans and activate them • Carefully categorize your pins into specific topics to make it easy for visitors • Create an interactive environment, such as a photo contest • Repinning is a great way to get more attention
Fossil-Fuel Free Ships to Transform Global Shipping Industry Development is underway to design the modern world’s first 100 percent fossil fuel free sailing cargo ships. With rising fossil fuel prices and the global challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this project is set to change the shipping industry by providing efficient and affordable low-carbon solutions. The idea combines proven technology, using the state of the art dyna-rig sail propulsion system with an off-the-shelf Rolls-Royce engine powered by waste derived liquid biomethane (liquid gas). “We are designing B9 Ships holistically as super-efficient new builds,” said Diane Gilpin, Director of B9 Shipping. “We are transferring technology from offshore yacht racing combined with the most advanced commercial naval architecture. This approach means financial investment and crucially, garnering understanding with the shipping sector that there is a need for urgent change. Through collaboration, we can create viable commercially successful solutions.”
Learning a Language, Translating the Web Users of a new, free website, Duolingo.com, will help tackle the gargantuan task of translating the Web, even as they learn a new language. The site, created by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists, features computer tools that enable these foreign language learners to translate text at a professional level. Duolingo, which has been used by more than 100,000 people in a recently completed beta test, offers free language lessons in English, Spanish, French and German. But these exercises do more than motivate the language student. They also generate translated text. Duolingo’s founders have found that these translations match the quality of professional translators and are far better than those generated by automated translation services. Over time, Duolingo’s exercise could go a long way toward translating the Web.
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Recruiters Turn to Social Media Recruiting professionals are increasingly turning to social media sites for clues on how successful candidates might perform in a specific job. Tal Newhart, CEO of ScreeningInterviews.com and the designer of FacebookComparator says, “social selfreportage, such as a Facebook page, if observed in a structured, careful manner, provides many useful clues about who the person actually is and how they might do at a particular new job.” Such screenings can help companies avoid unpleasant human resource surprises from candidates, according to Newhart. “The resume gives you their training and experience, a good interview really explains how good they are at historically adding to an enterprise’s value, but the social self-reporting suggests, down inside, who is doing all this. Social media helps produce a more 3-dimensional rendering of a job candidate that wasn’t reasonably possible before.”
Urban GPS for the Blind Researchers have pioneered a new application for devices with Android operating systems called OnTheBus that helps people navigate around in large cities. The application is based on universal design principles and is therefore useful for any person interested in travelling around a large metropolitan area, especially those with visual, hearing or cognitive impairments. The application, already available at Google Play, allows user to choose from a set of optimal routes to their destination. Once a route is selected, the application guides users to the nearest bus stop and informs them of the time remaining until their bus arrives. Once on board, the app indicates to the user when to signal the bus driver to stop. Back on the street, the application guides users to their final destination. Currently, OnTheBus can be used in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, and will soon be available for the cities of Valencia, Zaragoza and Helsinki.
In Defense of Call Centers To cut costs, many companies have not only moved their production units, but also their customer services departments to cheaper offshore locations. But the question is: what impact does this have on the service performance of a callcenter? “According to prevailing public opinion: a negative one,” says Prof. Gianfranco Walsh from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. In his experience, “most customers contacting a call-center abroad expect communication problems and a lack of customer orientation.” Surprisingly, Prof. Walsh and his colleagues show in a new study published in “International Business Review,” that the fear or suspicion of bad performances from offshore service centers is unjustified. “Contrary to previous assumptions, the results of our study show that the evaluation of the performance of call centers abroad is not necessarily worse than that of domestic call centers,” Simon Brach from Jena University says. “It doesn’t influence service performance outcomes from our point of view if the customers speak to a call center in Germany or abroad.”
Survey Underscores Importance of Intellectual Property New survey results by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that trademarks and trade secrets are the most important forms of intellectual property (IP) protection according to most businesses, followed by copyrights and patents. The findings shed light on the importance businesses place on various types of IP protection for their companies. IP protections are granted to the owners of a variety of intangible assets, such as discoveries and inventions; musical, literary and artistic works; and symbols, names, images and designs used in commerce. “Much of today’s business derives its competitive advantage from the ability to protect and exploit exclusive rights over investments in intellectual property,” said John Jankowski, lead author of the report in NSF’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. “Hence, IP protection is a persistent and recurrent concern of businesses.”
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by Panayotis Tzinis Founder, Ignite Greece
Do we know what we need? Do we know how to get it? Or are we just following the tail of a trend?
StartUp Revolution in Greece
here is a tendency in the startup scene, globally, that sees its members (the startupers) moving toward a “posh” fashion direction, more than establishing a productive “revolutionary” community. Here in Greece the startup phenomenon is fresh, hasn’t fully been launched yet, and hopes are that it will provide a possible exit from this depression! A change is happening and I believe in it; I am just skeptical that it may be inching toward strengthening the existing elitist niche. The startup scene in Greece should start, as it has started in Silicon Valley, by bridging and bringing together new people, linking cultures and different backgrounds to create new initiatives, while solving “ancient,” unresolved problems. Problems can, and must, be resolved by the people who are and have been active in this environment, but we will be only effective if solutions are developed with a mix of new ideas with good old habits. Our approach must be lean, independent of any “clientelism,” and based only upon principled values and impartial judgments. I have been in Greece for only three months and I have been in touch with many, many people and doers in the Greek startup scene. But would have I been able to if I weren’t the founder of Ignite Greece? I doubt it. We need to look at openness, at sharing, at getting together and not fighting each
“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” —William James
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other. We need to open ourselves and open new borders, go beyond them, welcome new initiatives and share our own. This is the way forward! We are not alone! So, yes, I embrace the “Startup Revolution” that we need, that Greece needs, but lets detach ourselves from old, stereotyped taboos! The startup culture is not rich people getting together and “playing” with ideas, dividing up layers of society, old “clients” stealing new ideas and keeping them in the drawer, preventing growth and development. The startup culture is a brand new community of a mix of ingredients and, with the right recipe, is a “social” “re”-generation of ourselves. While fostering individualism it reinforces pluralism—and community itself. We shouldn’t look at each other as competitors, but as members of a community fighting for growth and development to reach a higher status with better values. The startup culture is not only about new entrepreneurs giving birth to new companies, but also of “re”-newed values tied together with human capital and glued together for the good of the whole community. This is the revolution we must create. We must prepare a fertile ecosystem within ourselves—and each other— to leverage to a higher social level. We must not fear failure or fear change. We must, as has been said so often, be the change. We must start a revolution. The time is now.
Make Innovation Work
by Litsa Panayotopoulos Chair, Innovation, Education, and Entrepreneurship Committee, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
MIW and the Innovation Imperative
n a word, yes. Because today we better understand its power. We understand that we all can contribute to the innovation process. We understand that our employees are sources of innovation, and therefore better business practices. But most important, especially for Greece today, is that innovation goes hand in hand with entrepreneurship. And entrepreneurship must be a major catalyst for Greece’s growth, development, and new economic environment. At the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce we understand that the innovation mindset is a new imperative for Greece. That is why we have established Make Innovation Work (MIW), a biannual competition that rewards businesses that operate with inventive minds and an open attitude. We encourage companies to understand that Greek products and services can compete in global markets. We encourage individuals to see that a vibrant business generates multiple rewards, personal and professional. Today, Greece needs new models, new sources of revenue, a new OS—“operating system.” Innovation should be at the heart of the New Greece that transforms young minds from a civil servant mindset to a dynamic, entrepreneurial mindset that
Today, Greece needs new models, new sources of revenue, a new OS—“operating system.”
sees freedom in starting a new business, opportunity in taking a risk, and satisfaction in creating a new enterprise—that meets new demands, serves new needs, or solves new problems. We need not look far to see that a self-determined future is an attractive future. Israel is self developing at a fast rate. India is serving the world with new services. Jordan is becom-
Innovation. We hear it every day. It’s the hot topic. Is it so important as we are made to believe?
ing a high tech powerhouse. Just a few years ago not one of these countries had a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. But with strategic positioning, a supportive State, and a willing populace, each has jumpstarted new economic models that are paying huge dividends and paving the road for a sustainable future. The varied backgrounds, interests, and locations of the Greek population mean that we do not need to focus on one area only. Technology is indeed an important driver and many young people will choose this sector. But there are opportunities in every sector in Greece, from farming to forestry, from carpentry to car repair, and from education to energy. And indeed technology— one of the transformers in today’s economy—is destined to play an integral role in all these areas. A healthy society needs well-trained professionals to serve its needs and Greece’s army of unemployed have the chance to transform themselves into entrepreneurial dynamos. A country with unlimited potential—natural resources, human capital, spectacular topographies, agricultural strength, renewable energy sources, a leading tourism destination—Greece can and must make the entrepreneurial leap, must leverage its competitive advantages, and must fulfill its innovation imperative.
About MIW Make Innovation Work—MIW—is a competition of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, through its Innovation, Education, and Entrepreneurship Committee, designed to reward business plans that are innovative and entrepreneurial. It is also designed to make Greece more competitive. The first MIW was launched in 2011 and the next iteration will be launched in early 2013.
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by Anastasia Aggeli Corporate Relations Director , Diageo Hellas S.A.
Diageo Hellas —
Diageo Hellas is the leading premium drinks business in Greece. As a distributor and marketer of great brands, Diageo Hellas has an effect on many different people.
“Celebrating Life, Today and Tomorrow”
eyond the consumer experience, we affect the lives of our employees, customers, suppliers and those living in the wider community in which we operate, and we want our contribution to be a positive one. This approach is integral to our development as a sustainable and responsible business, and will help us ensure that our purpose of ‘celebrating life, every day, everywhere’ is something we do not only today, but also tomorrow. Along these lines and driven by our aspiration to widen the positive role for alcohol, we promote responsible drinking. We systematically listen to the needs of Greek society, try to maintain an open dialogue with stakeholders, create strategic alliances and develop targeted campaigns aimed at promoting responsible drinking. Furthermore, we have co-signed a self-regulation code on the responsible advertising and marketing of spirits, while since 2005 we have adopted an internal marketing code, the DIAGEO Marketing Code that applies to advertisements and promotions, research and new brand development activities. Recognizing the importance for consumer education on issues related to alcohol consumption such as the issue of drinking and
driving, we have been running and implementing since 2007 a range of programmes in order to enhance balanced consumption patterns. In 2010, we launched a new campaign, the City Walkers campaign, empowered by Johnnie Walker. Using as our key message that “Every step you make is your choice,” we further strengthened our efforts this year by establishing the “10’ Responsible Spots” network - a network of bars committed to the promotion of responsible drinking. At the same time, the role of professional bartenders is critical to promote moderate drinking standards in Greece. To this purpose, we developed The Bar College initiative, which is a training programme that provides, among others, useful insights about responsible serving, perfect serving and bartending. Additionally, we strive to establish strategic alliances and partnerships with key partners that maximize the effectiveness of our actions. We have been working closely with the Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas”, which advises us on the messages we convey to drivers in the context of our awareness-raising campaigns, while we also sponsor the European Programme AVENUE, a road safety initiative aiming to raise awareness and mobilise the public on responsible consumption and road safety issues. Moreover, for the last five years,
The “Strengthening Families Project” is implemented by the Medical Faculty of the University of Athens with overall monitoring and quality control provided by Oxford Brookes University.
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we are the sole sponsor of the «Strengthening Families»1 programme, which is a life skills course for parents and young people, with a proven track record of success in reducing underage drinking. Finally, we take a great care to include our employees in all our efforts, and encourage them to be ambassadors for responsible drinking. The success of our Sustainability and Responsibility strategy relies on our ability to create ‘shared value’, by which we mean bringing benefits both to the stakeholders who are affected by our operations, and to our company. When measuring and evaluating programmes, we consider the extent to which they create this double-sided return, addressing both stakeholder needs and business ambitions. To this spirit, we are proud of what we have accomplished to build a responsible and sustainable company. Following a rigorous assessment of our company’s management practices and performance, we have gained distinction in the in the Business in the Community (BITC) corporate responsibility index survey, granted «GOLD» for the second consecutive year, while we also received a special award for our contribution to society. Though we recognise that there are many opportunities and challenges ahead of us, we remain committed to Sustainability and Responsibility strategies. We will continue to drive these efforts and look for solutions that benefit both Diageo and the community in which we work and live.
On the occasion of Greece’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program, the U.S. Commercial Service of the American Embassy in Athens is showcasing all 50 states and five territories in Business Partners.
Discover America—Kansas ★
ansas has always been a crossroads for explorers, a distinctive place where land and cultures meet. Many important trails during America’s historic westward expansion passed through Kansas….a stopping place in these epic journeys. Today, travelers encounter authentic frontier and western cowboy activities, nostalgic towns, unique ecosystems, and interesting cultures that surround the nation’s finest farm and ranch land. Eleven scenic byways and historic trails zigzag you to stunning places. The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway will place you in the largest remaining native stand of tall grass prairie in America...while the internationally significant Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway is the place to experience masses of sand hill cranes and pelicans, bald and golden eagles, shorebirds, ducks, geese, and whooping cranes. Perfect to relax, unwind, and rejuvenate. A Kansas trip successfully blends historic with current, the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson is rapidly becoming the most comprehensive space museum in existence, whereas the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays recreates the days of Kansas 88 million years ago. Kansas is home to eleven Scenic and Historic Byways, which, when followed, offer travelers a unique compelling story all of their own. When planning a trip to Kansas, the most current information for special events, local restaurants, and interesting routes can always be found at www.travelks.com. Lake Shawnee, Topeka
THE SUNFLOWER STATE Land Area 82,264 square miles Population 2,724 million State Capital Topeka Largest City Wichita Local Time CST – 8 hrs behind Greece. MST – 9 hrs behind Greece in the westernmost edge Climate Kansas has a varied climate from East to West, with an average temperature of 56°F (13°C). The average rainfall is 26.5 inches statewide; however, precipitation decreases as you travel west. There are four distinct seasons with the primary travel season beginning in midApril and ending in early November. National Parks 28 Parks
For more information: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Tel: 00 1 785 296 2009 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.travelks.com
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 23
The Greek Stock Market
Rising Expectations Socrates Lazaridis, Executive Chairman of ATHEX, explains why rising foreign interest and an undervalued private sector bode well for investors, and for Greece.
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Please provide us with an overview of the Greek stock market Athex is a developed market, operating according with the European regulatory requirements. It has high liquidity â€“ almost 41m shares per day which is 22 percent higher than 2011 and surprisingly enough very close to the 2007 levels - given its access to financial centers in Europe and the United States. A fully transparent and secure investment climate, our market boasts high participation by both domestic retail and foreign investors. It is worth mentioning that according to a survey by Global Custodian, Greece is the third best performing market in the world in terms of percentage of trades that fail to settle on time. Despite the economic crisis, Greek retail investors remain very active. In 2012, their participation in overall trading activity increased to just under 40percent, from close to 30 percent in the last two years. This, in conjunction with a significant rise in trading volumes, reflects the increased confidence that local investors have for our market and considered a very positive development by analysts. What new projects has ATHEX initiated to respond to the pull back of trading interest? Trading activity at Athens Exchange (ATHEX), as expressed in trading volumes, has held up well throughout the crisis and is up in 2012. It is a fact that the share prices have been hit hard taking down both trading values and market capitalization, mainly because of the situation of our economy which of course has as a chargeable event the public debt. Nevertheless this is a situation where investment opportunities are created. Over the last six years, promotion of our market abroad has been a top priority. It is even more so today. Our annual presence in London and New York has helped us attract liquidity from those markets. We held the 7th Annual Greek Roadshow in London on 6-7 September and are very satisfied with the level of participation, both in terms of number and quality of the funds that took part. It is also a high priority for us to increase access to financial centers in Russia and Asia. Therefore
we plan to launch roadshows in Moscow and Beijing in the coming months. Another major initiative coming up is the Greek Investment Forum, co-organized with AMCHAM to be held in New York on 9-11 October 2012. Α key priority for us is to increase the visibility of Greek listed companies that have great profitability and consistent growth – those whose valuations have suffered because of the general climate. We want to attract new domestic and foreign investment, through ATHEX, in new businesses that operate in high potential sectors. What are your plans to attract foreign investors? What about ATHEX appeals to these investors? Foreign investors have maintained a high participation in the Greek market. Over the last five years, on average, foreign investors have held over 50percent of the ATHEX Market Capitalization. In 2012, this participation increased to 52 percent. Throughout the crisis, we have seen increased interest by investors from abroad who are monitoring the situation very closely. As we speak, many of them are doing their due diligence searching for companies that have adapted to survive the crisis and are well managed. The Athens Exchange’s main goal on the other side is to increase the visibility, not only of the already well-known companies, but also of smaller companies, which, we trust they are the backbone of the Greek economy. This is the rationale behind the introduction of the new Mid & Small Cap Factor Weighted Index which will be comprised of the 20 companies of mid or small capitalization that tops the fundamentals’ league table. Can you give us a brief overview of the companies traded on Athens? Traditionally the locomotive of our market is the banking sector. The capitalization of the banks in ATHEX has dropped from 41 percent to 17 percent over the past 5 years. The price pressure decongests, as the Greek economy is stabilizing, the valuation of the government bonds is improving and positive expectations about the incentives that will be given to the private sector for their participation in the recapitalization are created. The impressive fact though, is that of the remainder pool of the listed companies, belonging at non-banking sectors, 2/3 of FTSE20 companies reported profits for 2011 and 33 companies have more than 50% of their activities abroad (not to mention that for 17 of them this percentage climbs up to 75 percent). The above facts drove us to the introduction of the export companies Index. As you see, we are seeking to boost visibility of ATHEX companies through the creation of the various new Indices. What sectors are attractive in Greece right now? Our private sector gained in competitiveness as I already mentioned, due to its low cost, the extroversion of the management and the efforts the companies did to penetrate in the foreign markets. The public sector on the other hand, through the various structural changes taking place at the moment, is struggling to capsize the bureaucracy reputation following it. The fact is that there are important investment opportunities in new sectors of the Greek Economy. These include energy, food processing, ICT, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, real estate. Moreover, Market Cap to GDP in our Market is just over 11 percent a strong indication that there are investment opportunities here. And we need to have in mind that, even if we readjust this number according to the forthcoming recapitalization of the banks, this indicator will still remain at more than 50 percent lower than the European average.
Is Greece a good place to invest at the moment? Absolutely. Greece offers access to high-growth and emerging regional markets, has many sectors that demonstrate significant competitive advantages, boasts a well-developed infrastructure, and offers a highly skilled and well-trained workforce, whose labor costs are highly competitive within the EU – not to forget that by the end of 2012, unit labour costs should have recovered more than 2/3 of the ground lost to the euro area average over the course of the past decade-. Moreover the implementation of important economic policies and the promotion of major reforms aimed at improving the business climate have created significant investment opportunities. What are your expectations for the upcoming New York Roadshow? The Athens Exchange in cooperation with the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and with the support of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund and the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce in New York, are organizing a three day Investment Forum in New York on 9–11 October 2012. The Investment Forum incorporates the annual roadshow which has been successfully organised by the Athens Exchange over three years, but also includes a whole series of events which are designed to highlight the important structural changes taking place in Greece and the significant investment opportunities that arise out of the country’s reorganisation. The purpose of the event is to give Greek companies the opportunity to meet with US investors and also to aid the process of creating institutional trust for Greece at a political, economic and business level.
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Labor, Insurance, and Social Security issues are at the heart of Greeceâ€™s reform efforts. Labor flexibility, pension and private insurance plans, and a challenging demographic profile require new, bold solutions for a sustainable future. Members of the Chamberâ€™s Labor, Insurance, and Social Security Committee offer proposals that can launch a new era in Greece. Raymond Matera
Labor, Insurance, & Social Security Bridging Solutions
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The Impact of New Forms of Work on Social Security Prof. Konstantinos Kremalis, Kremalis-Law Firm, and Chairman of the Insurance, Social Security and Labor Matters Committee of the Chamber, discusses the many challenges of creating an equitable social security system that meets the needs of todayâ€™s evolving labor market.
Kremalis Konstantinos KREMALIS LAW FIRM
What do you consider as new forms of work? New forms of work include atypical employment relations due mainly to the application of new technologies for example new machinery, activities and knowledge, and new labor agreement options for the increase in production and improvement of the national economy. Such employment, promoting new technology and new working agreements, must be understood in its widest sense, and includes occasional, intermittent or temporary work as well as part-time work on a permanent basis. The impact of atypical work on social security services may include problems concerning all kinds of social benefits in cash or in kind. Which are the conflicting interests? The option of reducing oneâ€™s work, for other personal activities and aspirations, is very seldom a personal choice. Usually, it is forced by new company policies, implemented to survive or to improve competiveness. The workers have an interest to delay the entering of new technology in order to save their jobs or have the opportunity to adapt to new employment conditions over in time. The trade unions can neither defend their members against structural unemployment in the long run, nor prevent some of them from creating ĂŠlite-groups. Moreover, one-profession syndicates run the risk of losing power or even the reason to exist. Governments often pretend to decide independently about the favoring of new technologies or arrangements.
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How could the conflicting interests be resolved? As far as the resolving of several conflicts in the field of social protection is concerned, one must say that the traditional earnings-related social insurance systems cannot absolutely cover the risks/needs created by new technologies and agreements. Even the flat-rated social security schemes do not seem to be appropriate for a sufficient protection of the non-typical subordinate workers. In fact, forced decisions have to be taken; the most developed countries cope with the problem of mass unemployment and high social charges; the less developed ones lose the advantage of low labor cost, because machines have similar prices and costs among all competitors. In most countries first reaction to new conditions was the settlement of such conflicts through employment policy regulation, that is, the job financing (maintaining or creating) measures. Labor law regulations alone, however, do not seem to be sufficient for the access to or the distribution of the needed social advantages. Why new forms of work do not fall into the scope of established social security and social assistance systems? Some atypical workers fall under the scope of the existing social protection schemes, others do not. Social security schemes usually have eligibility conditions that many atypical workers cannot fulfill. Such conditions are, for instance, a certain number of working hours per week or a mini-
mum wage per month. In Luxembourg, part-time workers are socially insured if they have worked at least 20 hours per week (art. 11 subs. 2, Law of 30.06.1976). According to a research project in Germany (1989) 2.3 million employed persons were not expected to reach the threshold of social insurance protection. Even home-based workers could be excluded from social insurance affiliation if the lack of “dependency” or of “principal profession” will prevent them being brought under the general social insurance system for dependent workers. That does not mean, of course, the deprivation of any social protection. We must keep in mind, however, that social assistance covers only people with financial (income-property) insufficiency, according to the principle of subsidiarity. Persons with a regular succession of activity and inactivity periods do not, perhaps, fulfill this condition. Moreover, the insurance companies do not cover all kind of risks/needs. They usually offer the most costly insurance plans, while the majority of atypical workers are not able to pay high adjustable premiums. Are there new social security risks or social assistance needs to be recognized due to new forms of work? Generally speaking, as a new form of social security risk could be considered “the short and unexpected periods of inactivity during a worker’s active career” and as a new form of social need “the permanent state of unemployment.” It is difficult to argue that atypical work refers in any case to new risks or needs. I would rather say that employers could easily avoid their legal obligations, arising from the traditional social security systems, due to this kind of work provoked by government or company policies for new technologies or labor agreements. The practice by employers to use the work force of atypical employees, presenting them formally as collaborating self-employed persons, in order to be released from social security contributions, provides such an example. So, an occasional, intermittent or temporary worker is often not able to fulfill the minimum requirements for affiliation in and protection by a social insurance organization (payment of specific contributions during a certain insurance period). He or she can scarcely be qualified as “needy” in order to get social assistance benefits, because
people involved with new technologies are not usually poor; maybe they are “new poor,” with the special meaning of the notion. Under what conditions should a minimum income for atypical workers be guaranteed? This problem, which appears in all kinds of social security systems, is more a financial and less a legal one. To avoid going into details, I would like only to stress some possible legislative interventions under the self-evident need for keeping the rate of social expenses low. The establishment of a guaranteed minimum income for everyone appears to be a radical measure for the solution of problem, provided that the income level would be higher than the living standard. This solution is, by all means, a very costly one. Besides, it constitutes a disincentive for employment or a motivation to circumvent the law, if one realizes that in many cases the atypical workers would receive a higher social benefit than their income from work. Such a solution could be imposed only in societies with a strong social solidarity component. The legislature theoretically can, as well, charge public authorities to finance a social insurance scheme, so that the lower contributions paid by some atypical workers will be (totally or partially) completed. Some early retirement provisions are established on that condition. Thus, a minimum protection in the framework of social insurance can be guaranteed, but such state interventions may have other inconveniences and challenges, i.e. the mobilization of pressure groups to claim similar advantages. Finally, it is possible that a social insurance branch covers a certain amount of wages, if a professional group runs the risk to loose jobs or to be underpaid from atypical work. For example, after five years of participation in an insurance scheme, every affiliated person in the Social Security Organization for Press Technicians could ask for a monthly cash benefit, if his employer, in conformity with new technological production methods (phototypesetting) reduced the working hours and the wage level (art. 5§1 of the Greek Law 1186/81). This social protection was qualified as a social insurance benefit (Council of State decision 3319/83). With similar legislative interventions, however, there could not be established long-term income guarantees for larger professional groups.
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Rebuilding the Labor and Insurance Framework with a Win-Win Attitude
G John Kollas Executive Director, Group HR, Titan Cement
reece is undergoing a seismic shift in its labor and insurance legislation and practices. For many decades, the significant problems of the labor and insurance environment in Greece, although often surfacing, and with their criticality largely recognized by all involved parties, have not been effectively addressed; as a result, we have now come to the point of collapse. Changes which were considered impossible a few years ago are now being implemented in a rather abrupt manner and nothing can be taken for granted any longer. In this era of dramatic change, it is important that any good practices of the past are safeguarded, while long pending anomalies of the system are cured for good. Any effort to address the complex problems becomes even more difficult under the current crisis, due to which many people remain long unemployed and more and more find themselves in need of assistance and health care, while the state funds required are lacking. Demographic trends in Greece make things even more critical since the low birth rates, combined with higher life expectancy, translate into a decreasing active workforce contributing to the support of a growing number of retirees, hence leading the Social Security system to a dead-end. The criticality of the situation calls for a pragmatic view of reality, for courage to make bold decisions with long-term perspective and for commitment to implement the required changes regardless of how unpopular they may be in the short term. All involved parties have to contribute
All parties have to contribute with a winwin attitude, where egos and conflicts give way to a far more socially responsible, cooperative approach
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with a win-win attitude, where egos and conflicts give way to a far more socially responsible, cooperative approach. There are no easy solutions and everybody is asked to contribute with personal sacrifices. In all cases, a successful reform of the labor and insurance framework should be based on these principles: • Fair, socially responsible distribution of contributions and benefits • Balanced addressing of all involved parties’ needs • Flexibility; allowing to address different needs within the framework principles • Incorporation of successful practices implemented in other countries and of innovative suggestions deriving from constructive dialogue with involved parties • Encouragement of synergies and collaboration between private and public sector • Simplicity; easy to understand, monitor and administer (not bureaucratic) • Long term perspective; will not need to change for many years • Compliance encouragement by offering incentives to those respecting the law • Discouragement of non-compliance and abuse by applying immediate consequences and severe penalties to those not following the law The Insurance, Social Security & Labor Matters Committee established by the Chamber can play a key role in the effort to identify the appropriate solutions to the long-lasting problems. Members of the committee voluntarily offer their vast experience and know-how in an effort to make wellintended and well-thought-out recommendations to improve the insurance and labor environment. Besides the practical changes that need to be made though, there is also the strong need for a cultural evolution and a change of mindsets and habits in Greek society that will hopefully soon shift from being a blocker to becoming a catalyst for the successful implementation of the needed reforms.
The Future of Greek Pensions? The Solution May Be Right Next Door
reek state pensions have been under heavy pressure for the last decade and we must be very concerned about their future. Now. as the social security pension system seems to be in a state of “near collapse”, we must think seriously about real pension system reform as a long-term solution. It’s more than certain that the continuous pension cuts during the financial crisis will not solve the problem. Although our situation appears very complicated, UK practice shows that all it takes to solve the problem is decisiveness and long-term planning. Work place pensions are changing in the UK as wide-ranging reforms are put into place, in both state and private work place pensions.
State pensions—providing a solid basis, working longer Most of the state pension changes are making it easier for UK citizens to build up a state pension. These changes are designed to give more people a firm state pension to build upon - and to encourage people to work longer. The main points of this reform are: • The years of work people need to qualify for a full state pension was reduced, from 39 for women and 44 for men, to 30 years for everyone. • A “triple guarantee” promise was introduced: that the state pension will rise by the highest, of wage inflation, price inflation, or 2.5%. • The rise in UK’s state pension age will accelerate to 66 in April 2020. The government intends to bring forward the originally planned changes to age 67, and finally to 68 in 2046. • A new “simplified” or universal state pension replaced the previous complex ones.
Improving private pensions— compulsory pension provision Auto-enrollment was introduced as a compulsory, private workplace pension vehicle which will help all jobholders build up additional retirement income. What is auto-enrollment? • All employers (except single person com-
panies) must automatically enroll all their employees in a private pension plan. • The employer must pay a minimum contribution of at least 3% of a band of total earnings and the individual will contribute 4%. The Government provides 1% as tax relief, making an 8% total contribution. • Pension saving isn’t compulsory for employees as they may “opt-out,” but it will be compulsory for employers to offer access to a pension plan and pay the 3% contribution—but only if the employee stays in the plan. If high numbers of employees continue to opt-out, the government may consider making pension saving compulsory for employees. • Contributions to a workplace pension scheme are 100% tax deductible from income for both employees and employers. There are 1.2 million employers in the UK who will be affected by this change. Some already offer pension provisions to their workforce, but
Andreas Panagiotou Group Pensions Manager & Interamerican OPF Manager, INTERAMERICAN HELLENIC LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY S.A.
UK practice shows that all it takes to solve the problem is decisiveness and long-term planning
maybe not to all their employees, or maybe the contributions are below the new minimum. The conclusions remain the same: • Retirement income is a three-party responsibility: State, employer and employee. • Very structured legislation, tax and financial motives have to be provided by the State to boost private workplace savings. • A real pension system reform will contribute toward the recovery of the Greek economy, as it will revitalize the Insurance, Investment and their peripheral markets and is expected to attract financial investors.
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European Commission White Paper Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions. A Significant Emphasis on Private Insurance.
W Triantafyllos Lysimachou Piraeus Bank
ith this White Paper, the European Commission presents a strategy for adequate, sustainable and safe pensions over the coming decades in the light of the demographic changes and the sustainability of public finances. “The current sovereign debt crisis makes it clear how important it is for the European Union that every Member State succeeds in addressing current challenges in their pension systems.” In Annex 1 of this White Paper—EU initiatives in support of Member States efforts— describes in detail how the EU intends to develop comple-
For Greek society, where private pension penetration is one of the lowest in Europe, these comprehensive reforms will lead effectively to a more sustainable pension system mentary private retirement savings. Probably for first time the European Commission refers to the private insurance sector as an effective solution for European pension problems. Specifically it mentions: “The Commission will, by 2013, present an initiative aimed at raising the quality of third-pillar retirement products for women and men and
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improving consumer information and protection standards via voluntary codes and possibly an EU certification scheme for such products, building, where appropriate, on measures to improve information for consumers planned for 2012 on ‘packaged retail investment products.” “The commission will investigate whether the tax rules concerning (i) cross-border transfers of occupational pension capital and life insurance capital (ii) life insurance contributions paid to providers established elsewhere in the EU and (iii) cross-border investment returns of pension and life insurance providers, including their income from real estate and capital gains present discriminatory tax obstacles to cross-border mobility and cross-border investments; where necessary, it will initiate infringement procedure. The Commission will also discuss with Member States how to reduce the risk that cross-border pensions are subject to double taxation (or escape taxation altogether).” “The Commission will explore the need to remove contract low-related obstacles to the design and distribution of life insurance products with savings/investment functions with the aim of facilitating the cross-border distribution of certain private pension products.” These measures, when applied, probably will lead to an exit from the crisis of the European Social Security system. The Occupational Funds and the Life Insurance Programs based on the capitalization system will become more reliable and effective, providing many incentives. For Greek society, where private pension penetration is one of the lowest in Europe, these comprehensive reforms will lead effectively to a more sustainable pension system, providing multiple benefits to the Greek people and the Greek economy.
n 2011, due to the crisis Greece is facing, the State took measures favoring a substantial reduction of social security benefits (Pillar I) and an increase of the retirement age (to be further increased in the near future). There is, therefore, an urgent need for Social Security System reform, similar to the reforms that have taken place in most EU countries. Also, Greece is facing an ageing population, as is most of Europe, with a 4/1 activity ratio expected to drop to 2/1 in 2060. In addition, the Greek Social Security System is complex and suffers from contribution evasion (black market and employment, fake pensioners, undervaluation of wages, poor collection mechanisms), bad management and overall poor quality.
Occupational Pensions Funds – Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (HAIC) Proposals a) Law 3029/2002 “Reforming Social Security System” introduced “voluntary occupational funds.” Execution measures were and still are limited to one particular type of occupational pension fund only, called T.E.A, instead of organizing an open separate pillar. T.E.As are private legal entities subject to structural and operational conditions/constraints, and are burdensome and expensive to create, leaving insurance companies or generally financial entities out of the scope of the law. T.E.As have little success as a structure: only nine funds were created since 2002, with only five providing pensions to a mere 16,500 members or 4% of the working population. b) D irective 2003/41/EC (IORP) was never fully transposed and in particular, its Art. 4, giving the option to Member States of allowing private insurance companies licensed according Directive 2002/83/EC, to provide and operate occupational pensions funds under the regime of Directive 2003/41/EC. Proposals made were about amending local legislation, allowing private insurance companies • To manage T.E.As without abnormal constraints and within a level playing field (law
3029/2002) • To establish and run Open Occupational Pension Funds (A.T.E.S.A.) and group pension plans under specific conditions of operation and administration and under the same tax treatment as T.E.As
HAIC’s Proposal Inclusion in the next EU revision of IORP Directive the explicit capacity for private insurance companies to establish and operate occupational pension funds, providing they fulfill predefined conditions.
Paul Cannelopoulos Executive Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chartis Greece
Benefits from the Participation of Insurer’s to Pillar II Private insurers have the expertise, the “knowhow” and the necessary infrastructure to undertake a complementary role in retirement savings. With the second pillar programs provided by insurance companies, those citizens who cannot join in T.E.A. n.3029/2002 (workers in small- or
Private insurers have the expertise, “know-how” and infrastructure to undertake a complementary role in retirement savings medium-size enterprises not numbering more than 100 members or self-employed) will have the opportunity to receive supplementary pension. Insurance companies already hold the required solvency margin for providing these products, especially after the implementation of Solvency II legislation. Pillar II formation will give a significant boost to a new institution that will strengthen the pension system in our country, bring new funds into the capital market and increase employment opportunities in the sector.
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Solvency II- Where Are Insurers Heading
T Manos Pelidis Senior Partner | Audit, Deloitte. Hadjipavlou, Sofianos & Cambanis S.A.
he article written for the 2011 conference considered the strategic opportunities that could arise for insurance companies from Solvency II. This article considers how insurers are dealing with these and what issues they continue to face as they continue to prepare for the Solvency II regime. The conclusions are based on research conducted by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) during February 2012, by interviewing 60 insurers on behalf of Deloitte (UK). The key findings related as to how during the implementation phase, companies were changing their approach and attitudes and also highlighted the financial and business impact caused by the delay to full implementation. It was also noted, that whilst the majority of insurers expect tangible benefits from their Solvency II preparations, the overriding sentiment is one of growing unease as to whether the industry as a whole will meet the current compliance deadline.
The Solvency II framework presents businesses with an opportunity to better manage risk
Absorbing the Impact
The Solvency II framework presents businesses with an opportunity to better manage risk, and it seems that many insurers have already looked at how to take advantage of this opportunity as they recognized the need of risk identification , risk appetite determination and risk aggregation in order to improve their risk management. However a subtle change was noted in insurers’ strategic focus. As most companies’ Solvency II programs have matured, one senses that their attitude towards Solvency II mitigating strategies has also matured.
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Fewer companies are talking openly about full scale restructuring or re-domiciling than before. The preference now appears to be to concentrate on the more immediate strategies such as re-pricing, de-risking or changing the mix of business. This is perhaps indicative of a greater understanding of the levers that can be pulled to influence the solvency capital requirement under the Directive. Another key issue which has arisen in implementation, is that more insurers are moving towards a full internal model. Whereas previously a significant percentage of insurers (approximately 50%) had chosen to adopt either a partial internal model or the standard formulas almost half of them have changed their views and are now considering moving to a full or partial internal model. In addition, more are moving from a partial model towards a full model. This represents a logical change, as once an insurer has initiated the mechanisms necessary to calculate a partial internal model, it might make more sense to move to a full internal model. These shifts will add pressure on regulators, who must approve all insurers’ internal models . In addition, there were a few companies that were moving from an internal model to the standard formula. These were largely the smaller life companies, where, after deliberations it was felt that the standard formula was sufficient to meet their requirements and there was no need for further sophistication.
Short-Term Focus On a short term basis however, the most pressing area for insurers’ attentions within 2012 is the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA).This is an internal risk assessment designed to capture current and future risks to insurers’ solvency. The ORSA is an important part of Solvency II because it represents a chance for the firm to really show they understand their own risks. They can use that knowledge to feed into their decision-mak-
ing, which should make for a more efficient running of their businesses. Other key areas of attention for 2012 are embedding and use whilst risk appetite remains a key area of focus, since the Directive will force insurers to articulate their attitude to risk and how this translates into business activity. Streamlined information technology systems and data quality and documentation also feature prominently in respondentsâ€™ expected areas of focus within 2012.Insurers recognize the importance of the data quality in achieving Solvency II, but still the volume of the requirements presents a major challenge and risk to many insurersâ€™ ability to meet compliance deadlines. Tax planning also is a critical component in the Pillar I calculations, which could significantly affect the economic balance sheet and consequently the determination of the available capital. Insurers have to consider the tax methodology used as well as the different types of taxes to be included in the calculations as these derive fromk different jurisdictions.
Concerns A key concern however is clarification from European and local regulators of the precise requirements, whilst there is a worry about consistency of approach across Europe. Confidence that the insurance industry as a whole will meet the compliance deadline is waning, particularly as the final regulations have still not been clarified. The Omnibus II Directive, due to be voted on September, will set the date of enforcement of the Solvency II regime. The current working assumption is that the responsibilities of supervisors and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) will take effect on 1 January 2013 and the Solvency II requirements for insurers will be switched on from 1 January 2014. This leaves insurance companies limited time to get their systems and processes ready to meet tough new capital , risk management strategy and reporting requirements, while uncertainty still persists over the final Solvency II framework, and much of the policy is still not finalized. Over the rest of 2012, the level 1 Directive and the Level 2 implementing measures should be approved and Level 3 formal consultations will come to an end, but until Level 3 guidance is released by the EIOPA, insurers are still operating without complete clarity. With so much disruption to the original Solvency
II schedule, unease has grown among insurers as to whether the industry as a whole will meet the compliance deadline, with a significant number of respondents being somewhat or very concerned. Yet in spite of these obstacles, insurers continue to make progress towards compliance, and where possible they have already started putting systems and processes in place. However, inherent dangers remain in implementing and embedding solutions when the regulations have not been locked down.
The key findings related as to how during the implementation phase, companies were changing their approach and attitudes and also highlighted the financial and business impact caused by the delay to full implementation.
Working Together Insurers continue to Solvency II implementation programmes with other parallel European-wide of worldwide regulatory changes. Two-fifths of respondents will have a single integrated programme to implement Solvency II and manage the transition to the new International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), including those on insurance liabilities (IFRS 4 Phase II) and investments and derivatives (IFRS 9) whilst just over one-third (35%) of respondents will not integrate the two programmes.
Capitalizing on the New Regime More than one-half (53%) of the respondents say they expect either some or significant tangible benefits from Solvency II, with an additional 20% expecting some benefits in due course. However, more than one-quarter (27%) of respondents are more pessimistic and say the Directive presents no tangible business benefits either now or in the future. Whatever the perceived benefits brought by Solvency II, the majority expect it to come at an annual additional cost. Two-fifths (47%) of respondents anticipate the additional annual costs of operating Solvency II to be at least 5% of the implementation costs. The emphasis now is on the EU regulators to honour their commitment to the 2013 implementation deadline and give insurers across Europe the promised guidance on the requirements necessary for them to hit their own compliance date in 2014.ďż˝
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Information Management by Tassos Vamvakaris Managing Director, Iron Mountain Hellas
Information Has a Life of its Own
In the current economic struggles Greece is facing, the vast majority of companies have been tasked with continually finding ways to cut costs and mitigate risks, in order to promote sustainable development and growth for their business.
he topic of information and records management has been a focus for companies, from small legal practices, health authorities, and retail companies, right up to the world’s largest banks, global insurance and technology companies. Most recently, even government departments and agencies have been urged to improve their records management policies. Information management has proven to be a complex challenge for many organizations, as they are weighed down by their physical and electronic “paperwork.” Organizing, securely storing and disposing of sensitive information—while making it available for instant access—is a complex task. Getting it right involves significant resourc-
es and is increasingly difficult as legal requirements become more rigorous. Getting it wrong can have expensive consequences.
Business Information Trends In today’s information-rich and increasingly regulated business world, many companies use secure off-site storage. The benefits are clear: increased security, compliance with data protection legislation, more offices space, less in-house administration—the list goes on. But as paper piles up, there is still a major concern that off-site storage will mean that records will be difficult to access quickly. In fact, innovations and technology mean that a good records management provider can offer you better access to your records than if
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you have them stored on-site. The time this can save you means that off-site storage can offer a real competitive advantage. Partnering with sophisticated outsourcing companies and following the pay-as-yougo model, will allow companies to operate in a more flexible way, with lower costs. As a leading information management company, Iron Mountain helps companies manage this challenge. With solutions such as records storage and management, off-site data protection, scanning and destruction, Iron Mountain provides customers an information advantage allowing them to: • Reduce their costs and risk • Know what information they have and manage it appropriately •R ealize greater value from their information
• Safeguard their information with confidence Iron Mountain has entered the Greek market because we believe that information management is so critically important, now more than ever before. We have made significant investments in infrastructure, including a brand new state-of-the-art records management facility. Our strategy is to deploy and build industry-leading facilities which exceed the legal requirements for storage.
Information mismanagement may expose your business to security risks, fines and hidden costs
Secure Chain of Custody As information is increasing exponentially, smart businesses should not delay in addressing their challenges. We take security seriously and have robust measures in place to meet the responsibilities placed upon us. Indeed, Iron Mountain’s primary core value is security and our success in this area has been built up over decades of ongoing investment and the strict observance of detailed processes and practices covering: • Physical security of our facilities • Vehicles equipped with the latest high-security features • Robust screening and re-vetting of all personnel • Secure systems and IT infrastructure Information is always in flux. It can start on paper or as an electronic file. Throughout its lifecycle, it will be stored, retrieved, discovered, recovered and finally destroyed. Information has a life of its own; and Iron Mountain has the breadth of experience and expertise to provide a comprehensive service in-house. In this way we, not only reduce costs, but also have total control over the service delivery cycle to ensure accountability and minimize the risks associated with third party disclosure.
deletion, identity fraud and even non-compliance. Furthermore, access to the right information at the right time transforms the work place. Mismanaged information can take a long time to find, reducing efficiency and customer satisfaction. The hidden costs of storing and retrieving information are rarely considered but can be significant. Businesses should prepare for the worst to ensure fast recovery from data breach, failure or disaster. Not only can financial penalties be severe, but information breaches can also result in reputational damage. The protection and privacy of information has become a public concern. And with greater media scrutiny and waning customer tolerance, a reputational crisis can cause serious and lasting damage to your brand. Like it or not, these threats are very real and
must be taken seriously. Businesses have to choose how to address their unique challenges, and the risks are particularly acute for companies with large and growing collections of paper and electronic records. Some of the most successful companies find that tackling the issues head on, with the help of a specialist information management provider, mitigates the risk and significantly reduces their costs. Finding Value in Information Management For growing businesses, dedicating appropriate resources to implement best practices can appear as a major distraction from the core business. But information mismanagement may expose your business to security risks, fines and hidden costs. A simple solution may be partnering with trusted third party to store, manage and destroy data in ways that help ensure compliance with increasingly complex and stringent legislation. No business wants to fail, and certainly not as a result of something as avoidable as a data breach. With information volume rocketing, you don’t want your costs to rocket as well. The pressure to keep costs down and do more with less remains unrelenting. Records management is more than just filing—it’s really about organizing, protecting and, when it really works well, getting the most value from the information you own. Information is one of the greatest assets of any business. It pays to look after it.�
Information Management: A Risky Business? Today’s operating environment poses a number of risks. The unexpected can and does happen. To decide how best to deal with your information management it is crucial to understand the risks involved. Common information risks include damage from fire or flood, data loss, theft, data breach, corporate espionage, accidental or malicious
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Marketplace Greece by Holti Banka
How Can Greece Benefit from At a time when Greece is facing a massive debt and where tax evasion appears to have contributed significantly to its accumulation, the state is trying to find ways to deal with the bitter reality of revenue shortfalls.
t is commonly agreed that restructuring the tax system is necessary in order to restrict tax evasion in Greece, but at the same time parallel steps can be taken to reinforce tax collection, especially from businesses. One of those steps is increasing the use of electronic payments. E-payments
Electronic Payments can contribute to transparency and cost efficiency, in ways that will benefit the Greek government, through an easier tax collection process, and other segments of the Greek society and the economy overall. A broad definition of e-payments classifies them as non paper-based payment instruments, which require the support of mobile phone or computer technology to operate. The main forms used in Greece are debit/ credit cards, pre-paid cards, and mobile phone payments.
Greece: Behind in E-Payments Even though Internet and computer based technologies have been around in Greece for a while, the country has fallen behind in terms of e-payments. According to the 2011 World Payments Report, an annual report of world payment statistics and trends by Capgemini, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Efma, Greece has the lowest number of noncash transactions per inhabitant within the
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Eurozone. Specifically, the study shows that less than 50 non-cash transactions per inhabitant are performed annually in Greece, while the equivalent average number in the Eurozone is around 200 transactions. These statistics show that Greeks trust cash more than anything else. In fact, the use of cash is so deeply rooted into the Greek society that paradoxes such as paying in cash for online purchases occur. Stores that operate through the Internet offer a pay-cash option for the shoppers upon the delivery of products to their homes.
The Trouble With Cash Such behaviors result from the lack of information and incentives for people to use more e-payment instruments and less cash. It is worth noting that not only is the use of cash and other paper based payment instruments, such as checks, costly to process, but it is also correlated with bribery, tax evasion, and corruption.
Specifically, the shadow economy–the term for the economy based on unreported revenue–has been a major threat for the formal economy of the country. Economists estimate the size of the shadow economy in Greece to be around 20% of the country’s GDP. As a consequence of the unreported economic activities, there are significant tax revenue losses for the Greek state. The widespread use of cash has certainly helped the shadow economy sustain itself. For instance, in many transactions of legitimate businesses with customers, no receipts are issued, with street kiosks the most evident example. While most of these kiosks are equipped with machines that issue receipts, these are frequently not used because most of the transactions occur in cash. As a result, revenue is hidden from tax authorities while some shoppers, especially tourists, fall prey to price discrimination in the process.
No Cash, No Problem Such phenomena could be avoided if the kiosks were equipped with machines that read e-cards. This is because when using debit, credit or pre-paid cards, the system will issue a receipt by default, and, as such, will make it more difficult to deceive the customers and the government in the tax collection process. The Greek state has to use both stick and carrot in this transformation process. That is, it needs to not only audit and impose fines on violators, but also offer incentives to businesses in order for them to accept more electronic payments. One incentive would be to offer tax credits for businesses accepting 50% of overall payments in electronic forms. A similar practice has already been successfully implemented in countries like South Korea. It is effective for the government, as it can limit tax evasion on what revenue businesses declare, but it is also beneficial for the businesses themselves. This whole incentive scheme, which has to start from the Greek state, can prompt a chain reaction. In other words, it can in turn motivate businesses to offer incentives for their customers in order to attract more card and other non-cash payments. Further, it can soothe the concerns of businesses that accepting debit and credit cards
would be expensive for them, as they pay a range of 2-3% of each transaction value in fees to card companies and banks.
Costs and Benefits Yet, simply citing the costs of accepting electronic payments does not tell the entire story, as they have to be compared to the equivalent costs of accepting cash or checks. According to the European Payments Council, the annual cost of distributing, managing and accepting cash payments in the Eurozone is in the range of 85 billion Euros. A significant share falls under businesses and other actors in Greece, given the wide use of cash in the country, proving that cash is indeed expensive, among other negatives.
Preventing Leakage in the System In addition to incentivizing businesses, the Greek government itself should set an example of using electronic payments. Given the large public sector of Greece, a significant flow of payments takes place among various public agencies in the country. There is fraud that has been observed in intra-governmental flow of cash funds, because of the difficulties in tracking these payments. The Greek government has to restrict the leakage of funds in the house as a first step, and the establishment of an e-payment platform can certainly be a nudge in that direction.
Welcome to e-Greece Among others, it should be highlighted that tourism, the main export of Greece, can benefit immensely from e-payments. The fact that Greece is part of the Eurozone and the fact that most of the tourists in Greece come from Eurozone countries works to Greece’s advantage. There are no transaction costs for payments made by tourists electronically, as they have Euro accounts, and a lot of them do come with debit and credit cards. Not only is it risky for tourists to withdraw cash from ATM and walk around with large amounts of cash, but it is also costly, in that they are charged withdrawal fees. As such, knowing that they can use their e-cards for payments anywhere in the country, can serve as an additional incentive for tourists to choose Greece as their holiday destination.
The Euro Stops Here E-payments can contribute positively to the Greek economy, but the participation of the Greek citizens is also needed in the process. It should be made clear to the Greek consumers that as long as they insist on using cash, they will sustain the shadow economy, even if unintentionally. And, while the shadow economy may be habitual and even convenient for some at the moment, everyone in Greece will bear the consequences of a damaged economy in the end.
Holti Banka is a PhD candidate at the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, specializing in international development and payment systems. email@example.com
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Affairs of State βυ Amalia Tzanetou, Anna Angelidaki & Lena Sourdi Students in the Depatment of Public Administration, Panteion University of Athens’’
the ‘’Thorn’’ of Public Administration? For years, the vast majority of the population shares the opinion that the public sector in Greece suffers from mismanagement and corruption, which has led to harmful consequences, for both the functioning of the State and the economic and social development of our country.
dditional inefficiencies have presented themselves in the public sector and it is said that the proper operation of public administration is doubtful. However, the real “thorn” of the Greek government, which has hampered the relationship between the state and its citizens, is bureaucracy.
Bureaucracy in Context Nowadays, the concept of bureaucracy in everyday usage has lost much of its original meaning and official context and has been associated with inefficiency, formalism, the alienation of the worker, the lack of flexibil-
ity, the abuse of power, and the suffering of the people. Bureaucracy, which is pervasive in most areas of public administration, has a major impact on the economic development of our country by causing inconveniences to citizens, as it slows their interactions with the State. Indeed, people trying to access the various services of the state encounter many difficulties, leading to an increase of time and expense required to attend to their needs. There are also instances when people end up becoming “paper carriers,” forced to run from service to service to provide documentation needed for the processing of their case. Many times they feel forced to resort to illegal tactics, which may also be punishable.
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An Inefficient Model The bureaucratic model creates difficulties and delays in decision-making while leading to wasteful management of resources and increased operational costs of government services. It has been reported that in Greece the number of public employees exceeds the average number of employed civil servants, per capita, in EU countries. In fact, many civil servants could achieve the same results as part-time employees. Another inhibitor that contributes to the worsening of bureaucracy is the tendency of public officials to react negatively against new initiatives. Many remain fixated on what they learned empirically when they entered the service,
with the guidance that was given to them, while others, usually the oldest, are not familiar with the electronic age and many are unable to handle computers. It can be concluded that the deliverables in public administration do not meet the requirements of our time, and as was mentioned, in many cases legitimacy is not being respected.
The bureaucratic model creates difficulties in decision-making and leads to wasteful management of resources and increased operational costs
Results: Corruption As a consequence, bureaucracy often leads to the corruption of public officials, which is another serious blow to the smooth operation, growth, and development of public administration. Unfair means that were used for private gain is often the subject of lively debate. Providing money to civil servants to process State cases is an act done to gain an advantage, which is not consistent with official duties and the rights of others. The civil servant, taking advantage of his/ her prestige or status, attempts to receive benefits for himself or herself or for another person, regardless of whether this practice is fraudulent or abusive of its position. Kickbacks from development programs or multinational companies, the diversion of public funds for private use, ignoring illegal activities, the intervention in the administration of justice, ‘bloating’ a payroll, and fraud committed in valuation and tax collection are the most frequently encountered types of corruption in the public sector, which lead to the reduction in revenue and the distortion of government spending. In addition, cronyism, favoritism and nepotism are commonly found in the Greek public sector. As in the United States, where the “American Dream” exists, according to which hard work can lead to a better life, usually through emoluments, so in Greece there is a belief that a position in public sector can lead to a “welfare dream,” mainly due to the stability of emoluments and tenure enjoyed by each individual civil servant. For this reason a posting in the civil service has become popular. But the cronyism that characterizes today’s public administration has led to an erosion of institutions and the degradation of rules, legality, and legitimacy. This eliminates the sense of social justice because citizens, after witnessing such abuses, lose confidence in
the principles of the rule of equality and meritocracy. This can easily foment tensions.
Citizen Pain The impunity of public officials in cases of disciplinary and criminal offenses has disappointed citizens and has discouraged them to make complaints—because they believe that eventually no one will be punished. Widespread corruption in the public sector makes life unjust for many people, consistently becoming discontent against the government and those who govern, losing trust in political parties, the government and its legitimacy, even in democracy itself. Consequently, social unrest and political instability result, leading to an increase in the informal economy that is often tolerated, or even supported directly, by the State.
Politics As Usual? It is also vital to discuss the so-called “customer relations” between citizen and the State. In Greek reality, the separation between the institutions of public administration and the government is very unclear. The role of public administration has been weakened due to the increased number of instances in which the government has intervened, thus hindering the proper functioning of public administration. This results in public administration pursuing a partisan policy or serving a political party, without observing the political neutrality and impartiality required. The resolution of a number of cases is too often based on social and political criteria, and quite often the issues of citizens are resolved on the basis of their political beliefs, rather than on objective criteria. The serving of party interests undermines the public interest and merit-based procedures, from the recruitment process for an official
position to the future promotion to a higher position. Pressure groups or interest groups, depending on their power, have the ability to pressure the political leadership, who then pressure civil servants to promote economic decisions in their interests and, in turn, encourage their participation in the political process: a self-feeding public partnership loop. In this way the public authority acts against the general interest and promotes the interests of particular groups.
A New Model All in all, bureaucracy is the major cause of mismanagement in public administration, since often times it is unable to perform its task—which is to stand by the side of the citizen and to facilitate the handling of his or her interactions with the State. For this reason, there has been a lot of discussion concerning the reforms and measures that need to be taken to restore the proper operation of the public administration. The redefinition of some of its principles, and their simplification, by applying modern management principles, especially with the help of technology, combined with ensuring the independence of management by the political leadership, are some of the reforms that should be implemented.
Civil Service as it Should Be In the end, reducing bureaucracy and simplifying bureaucratic procedures will be the biggest reform, since that would reduce corruption and decrease the cost of the public sector. Education is a key factor in this process, because through proper education a keen sense of political and democratic consciousness can be achieved, resulting in well-integrated civil servants who cannot easily be corrupted. And who take pride in the profession—serving the public.
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GREE N CE Northern Greece
The Hellenic Institute
of Metrology Have you ever wondered how the public and private sector go about measuring the volumes of what we consume and experience every day, from gasoline to canned food, from sound to force, to ensure what the “label” says is accurate?
he Hellenic Institute of Metrology, EIM, is the National Metrology Organization of Greece and the official advisor of the Greek State in issues related to metrology and measurements. EIM is a legal body ascribing to private law, supervised by the General Secretariat of Industry of the Ministry of Development. The headquarters and the facilities of EIM are located in the Industrial Area of Thessaloniki. The main scope and the responsibilities of EIM include: • The realization of all basic and derivative units of measurements of the International System of units (S.I.) through the use of the respective national standards • The development of measuring methods and techniques • The support of a national metrology system • The operation of calibration laboratories and the issue of calibration certificates • The testing of measuring devices for type-
approval through the state-appointed body • The promotion of science of metrology • The development and the provision of certified reference materials • The national representation to international metrology organizations and fora
Measuring Mechanical, Physical, and Electrical Properties EIM is responsible for the scientific/industrial metrology in Greece and operates the national metrology laboratories for maintaining the national standards in the fields of: • Mechanical Measurements (Mas, Force, Pressure, Volume, Density, Flow) • Physical Measurements (Dimensional quantities, Thermometry, Humidity, Acoustics & Vibrations) • Electrical Measurements (Low Frequencies, High Frequencies, Time-Frequency) A peripheral/regional national laboratory of EIM (EXHM/GSCL–EIM) in the field of chemical metrology operates in the facili-
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ties of the General State Chemistry Laboratories of Greece in Athens for the realization and the dissemination of the basic unit of mol. A second peripheral/regional national laboratory of EIM (HIRLC/HAEC-EIM) in the field of ionizing radiation operates in the facilities of the Hellenic Atomic Energy Commission (HAEC) in Athens for the realization and the dissemination of the S.I. units of Sievert (Sv) and Gray (Gy). Most of the central and peripheral national laboratories of EIM possess state-of-the-art equipment, consisting mainly of primary standards, as well as secondary standards and in some cases of working standards to cover the calibration needs of the country and to meet the requirements of internal operation of the laboratories.
State-of-the-Art Facilities EIM operates in modern facilities, comprising state-of-the-art building and supporting installations. It occupies two separate buildings, of 4.500 and 1.500 sq.m., with excellent
environmental conditions, appropriate for the maintenance of the national standards. Most of the laboratories are underground, protected from vibrations and noise, thermal effects and electromagnetic interference and meet the most stringent requirements for temperature, humidity, vibrations and electromagnetic interference, as prescribed by pertinent international standards and specifications.
Role and Mission The main activities of EIM in the framework of its role and mission within Greece include: • Calibration services within the country to support the national metrology system, providing measurement traceability to the national standards. • In this respect, the laboratories of EIM issue on the average 600 calibration certificates per year. • Organizing inter-comparison schemes to support accreditation of calibration laboratories. • In this respect, the laboratories of EIM organize on the average up-to 10 bilateral and multilateral interlaboratory comparison schemes per year. • Implementing training courses in metrology and related issues aiming at promoting metrology and supporting the metrology system. • EIM has organized more than 30 different programs and courses in metrology and related issues and trained more than 300 individuals, mainly scientists and engineers from industry, laboratories and other sectors. • Consulting in metrology and related issues, aiming at the support of the metrology system. • EIM has conducted several consulting projects aiming at the support of calibration and testing laboratories in implementing ISO 17025, selecting and evaluating equipment, establishing methods and procedures. • Expert studies, proposals and advices to the State on issues related to metrology and affecting quality, industry and economy. • EIM provides experts studies and proposals
to the State for several issues related to metrology and measurements. More recently, EIM has developed a software application for the calibration of big fuel vessels in gas stations and the required calculations according to the implied legislation. • Cooperation with universities and research institutes to conduct research, co-supervise graduate projects and programs, receive study visits and provide information and know-how on issues of metrology. • Close cooperation with the Hellenic Accreditation System (ESYD) for the support of the national metrology system in Greece by the issue of several guides and instructions, the participation in working groups and committees.
An International Framework In addition, the main activities of EIM in the framework of international cooperation include: • Participation in EURAMET and MRA which is necessary and leads to the international recognition of the technical capabilities of its services. • This participation includes several activities, such as, participation in technical committees, participation in intercomparison schemes and other projects, assessment of the technical competence of the laboratories of EIM. • Calibration services to NMI’s and other laboratories in Cyprus, FYROM, Albania and other countries in the region for the establishment of measurement traceability to SI units • Organizing inter-comparison schemes for calibration laboratories and NMI’s of the region (FYROM, Bulgaria, Albania, Cyprus) to establish technical competence. • Services for metrological support (training, consulting, transfer of know-how) offered to other NMI’s in the region. Namely, services of metrological support were offered in the past in Turkey, FYROM, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Montenegro, Malta and Cyprus. In addition, new projects are prepared for a new cooperation with the NMI of United Arabic Emirates and other countries in the Middle East region.
In the anechoic room of the acoustics laboratory free acoustic field measurements are performed
• Organizing several study visits, from NMI’s and other interested parties from abroad (close region as well as from countries like Bangladesh) to exchange know-how, information, knowledge and provide support. Overall, more than 40% of the activities of EIM are related and include cooperation in the international environment.
Quality Control The main management of EIM, as a quality infrastructure, is based on a quality management system (QMS) that meets the requirements of: • The ISO 17025 standard for calibration and measurement activities. • The ISO 9001 standard for the rest of the activities • EURAMET and MRA regarding measurement and calibration capabilities • National and EU legislation. The Quality Management System covers the operation and the activities of all laboratories involved in calibration services, as well as all CMC’s (Calibration Measurement Capabilities) submitted and published to EURAMET and BIPM. All services and activities are evaluated according to specific and standard criteria set by the QMS. The results of this evaluation are processed and analyzed in a quantitative way to provide objective and reliable evidence of the performance of EIM.�
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TRENDS & TRADE MAKERS
This Year’s Top Trends in Food and Beverage Dr. Wilford Gardner, Earl F. Cook Professor of Geosciences and Oceanography, Fulbright Fellow, 2009
Dutch-firm Innova Market Insights has released its list of five trends that will drive the food and beverage market through 2012 and beyond. Key among them are purity, authenticity and sustainability, as consumers continue to look for products with added value, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty. 1 “Pure” is the New Natural: Natural products are becoming the rule rather than the exception in most western markets. One way around this has been marketing the “purity” of a product. 2 Green is a Given: Corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies have taken on an increasingly important role. 3 Location, Location, Location: Interest in where their foods are coming from has never been higher among consumers. 4 Premium Stands Out: Despite austerity measures topping the agenda, a premium positioning provides many benefits. 5 Seniors Draw Attention: Companies are starting to address the needs of an aging population, both in terms of packaging functionality and of health concerns.
Pirates Beware! U.S. Navy unmanned aircraft will be able to distinguish small pirate boats from other vessels when an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded sensor starts airborne tests this summer, officials said recently. Called the Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS), the sensor is a mix of high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and laser-radar (LADAR) technology. It will be placed on a robotic helicopter called Fire Scout. Carrying advanced automatic target recognition software, the sensor prototype will allow Fire Scout to autonomously identify small boats on the water. “Sailors who control robotic systems can become overloaded with data,” said Ken Heeke, program officer in ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. “The automatic target recognition software gives Fire Scout the ability to distinguish target boats in congested coastal waters and sends that information to human operators, who can then analyze those vessels in a 3-D picture.”
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Tell us about your Fulbright project in Greece. Dr. Aris Karageorgis and colleagues of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research have collected hundreds of water samples in the Mediterranean for many years. They measured the amount of carbon particles in each sample - an indication of the plankton biomass in surface waters, a food source for fish. My Fulbright project was to compare those sample carbon concentrations with archived satellite data that record the amount and wavelengths of sunlight reflected back into space at the location/time where water samples were collected. Equations were derived from the correlation of the measurements. We apply those equations to satellite data in marine areas of interest to understand how plankton distributions change seasonally, spatially and inter-annually. What were the primary benefits of the project? By using satellite data we can monitor plankton biomass in a region without having a ship trying to measure many different parameters everywhere in an area throughout the year. Following your research, do you have suggestions? It is important to continue financial support for ships to make measurements in the Mediterranean because satellites sense conditions down to only 40 m or less. It is important to know conditions in deeper waters to manage the ecosystem in terms of sustainable fisheries, pollution and climate change. F or more Info on Fulbright: www.fulbright.gr
Responding to Bomb Threats, with an App In the first chaotic moments after suspicion of a bomb threat, first responders have a myriad of questions, assessments, and decisions to make all at once. A breakthrough App, designed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), allows them to get all the information they need in one place. The so-called First Responder Support Tools (FiRST) helps responders instantaneously make calculations such as safe distance for cordoning-off around a potential bomb location, rough damage and injury contours, locations for appropriate roadblocks, as well as determine when mandatory evacuation or shelter-in-place circumstances apply. “Bomb threat scenarios do not reflect a onesize-fits-all approach,” said Christine Lee, FiRST program manager. “This app allows users to customize information to help them make informed decisions for response.”
Drivers, Say Goodbye to Blind Spots! A side mirror that eliminates the dangerous “blind spot” for drivers has now received a U.S. patent. The subtly curved mirror, invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion. Traditional flat mirrors on the driver’s side of a vehicle give drivers an accurate sense of the distance of cars behind them but have a very narrow field of view. As a result, there is a region of space behind the car, known as the blind spot, that drivers can’t see via either the side or rear-view mirror. Hicks’s driver’s side mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat driver’s side mirror. Unlike in simple curved mirrors that can squash the perceived shape of objects and make straight lines appear curved, in Hicks’s mirror the visual distortions of shapes and straight lines are barely detectable.
Follow the Footer
. U . E EU Organic Logo Up and Running T IRtheEEUCorganic After a two year transition period, on July, D 1 2012 logo became obligatory on all pre-packaged organic food products produced in EU Member States. In addition to certifying that the product meets all EU organic standards, the logo will also show consumers the code number of the control body and the place of farming of the agricultural raw materials. The logo has already contributed to a strong EU organic brand, according to a recent EuroBarometer report on “European Attitude towards Food Security, Food Quality and the Countryside.” The report noted that the logo has already gained recognition among a 24 percent of EU citizens. “Our hope is that the EU logo can further develop into a widely recognized symbol of organic food production across the EU, providing consumers with confidence that the goods are produced in-line with the strict EU organic farming standards,” commented EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Dacian Ciolos.
US-based email signature firm, Exclaimer, have released research suggesting that using social media in email signatures can help increase traffic and engagement by 17 percent. The findings are included in Exclaimer’s recently published Guide to Using Social Media in Email Signatures. “Every company has masses of followers, fans and advocates ready and waiting: their email contacts,” explains Neal Stanborough, Exclaimer Marketing Manager. “With a Facebook ‘Share’ or Twitter ‘Follow’ button under everyone’s signature, you instantly reach a totally new but already informed and interested set of followers with your social media activity. “And by displaying your latest Tweet, update or blog post in your signature, every email encourages them to keep coming back for more.”
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@ fo in
Over 10% of US employees now regularly work from home (WFH), but there is widespread skepticism over its impact highlighted by phrases like “shirking from home”. A Stanford University study reports the results of a WFH experiment in a 13,000 employee NASDAQ listed Chinese multinational. Call center employees who volunteered to WFH were randomized into home or office working for 9-months. Home-working led to a 13% performance increase, of which about 9.5% is from working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick-days) and 3.5% from more calls per minute (quieter working environment). Home workers also reported improved work satisfaction and their job attrition rate fell by 50%. After the experiment, the firm rolled the program out to all employees, letting them choose home or office working. Interestingly, only half of the
volunteer group decided to work at home, with the other half changing their minds in favor of office working. After allowing employees to choose, the performance impact of WFH more than doubled, highlighting the benefits of choice alongside modern practices like home working.
Home-working led to a 13% performance increase Working from home (WFH) is becoming an increasingly common practice. In the United States, over 10% of the workforce reports working from home at least one day a week, while the proportion primarily WFH has almost doubled from 2.3%
Does Working From Home Work?
in 1980 to 4.3% in 2010. At the same time, the wage discount (after controlling for observables) from working exclusively at home has fallen, from 30% in 1980 to zero by 2000 as WFH moved from being prevalent in only low-skilled jobs to becoming a more widespread practice. Home-based workers now span a wide spectrum of occupations, ranging from sales assistants to managers and software engineers. The trade-off between home-life and work-life has also received increasing attention as the number of households in the U.S. with all parents working has increased from 25% in 1968 to 48% by 2008. These rising work pressures are leading governments in the U.S. and Europe to investigate ways to promote work-life balance. S ource—http://www.stanford.edu/~nbloom/ WFH.pdf
Dining: For Business and Pleasure Alatsi—
Salt of the…Sea Alatsi, the award-winning restaurant serving inspired Cretan cuisine, is a charming spot to celebrate the island’s rich gastronomic heritage. Alatsi prepares its dishes with select produce from Crete and maintains the traditional—simple and healthful—approach to dining. Sharing kaltsounia (cheese pies), staka, the rich Cretan specialty served with fried eggs, stewed spit peas with caramelized onions and capers, and lentil salad with basil, mint, tomato and goat cheese are a wonderful way to begin a meal at Alatsi. Dolmadakia, dakos, greens, salads, and saganaki all vie for attention. Snails, homemade pasta with sundried tomatoes
and dried goat cheese, and apaki, smoked pork with wild mushrooms, aged gruyere, peppers and pita bread suggest it is a good idea to visit Alatsi with a hearty appetite. Main courses of chicken, pork, lamb, beef or fish filet—all prepared in the traditional Cretan manner—combine ingredients in
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novel ways and are reminders of how innovative the island residents have been and what a wealth of produce, meat, and seafood they have had to work with over the years. Bougatsa, loukoumades, halva, ice cream, and Cretan wheat with pomegranate pearls and black raisins, suggest a tasting dinner may be the most enjoyable Altatsi experience. In fact, the tasting menu concept that has become de rigueur in North America is a way of eating that Greeks have enjoyed for centuries. Altatsi Vrasidis St. Hilton area T: 210 72XXX
The Business Bookshelf
Physics for Future Presidents
The Science Behind the Headlines
A data mining technique that reveals undiscovered affinities and associations, for example, between the purchase of canned fruit filling and pie shells.
Richard A. Muller, WW Norton
Learn the science behind the headlines—the tools of terrorists, the dangers of nuclear power, and the reality of global warming. We live in complicated, dangerous times. They are also hyper-technical times. As citizens ,need to know—truly understand, not just rely on television’s talking heads—if Iran’s nascent nuclear capability is a genuine threat to the West, if biochemical weapons are likely to be developed by terrorists, if there are viable alternatives to fossil fuels that should be nurtured and supported by the government, if nuclear power should be encouraged, and if global warming is actually happening. This book is written in everyday, nontechnical language on the science behind the concerns that we face in the immediate future. Even active readers of serious journalism will be surprised by the lessons that the book contains. It is “must-have” information for all presidents, prime ministers—and citizens—of the twenty-first century.
Relevancy In computer searching, “relevancy” measures how closely a document or Web page matches a user’s search query.
ROE A business measurement calculated by taking a year’s worth of earnings and dividing it by the average shareholder’s equity for that year.
Webify To convert information from its original format into content that can be displayed on the Web.
EDR A device in an automobile that tracks driving behavior.
Also known as “soup-to-nuts” it is an acronym for a sector of the industry that specializes in providing end-to-end solutions.
By Andreas Stylianopoulos President, Navigator Travel & Tourist Services Ltd
So close. The home of Greek shipping. A seafront with an ever-changing character. Called gritty and down to earth. For centuries, Piraeus has played a defining role in the identity of Athens. It is a city unto itself of course. Visit. The PORT
Eat Dourabeis Vasilenas Jimmy and the Fish Ouzo & meze in the Piraiki Dourabeis
Archaeological Museum of Piraeus Maritime Museum Public Library Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation Sunday outdoor bazaar
Those aspects about your idea, product, service, or business model that make it unique and different from the competition.
Road Builders Office slang for the people in an organization who come along behind the arrow shooters and pave the way for profitable applications.
Honeypot An e-mail server intended to attract and trap spammers. Reproduced by Permission © 1994-2010 NetLingo® The Internet Dictionary at http://www.netlingo.com
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 47
Science Diplomacy is a central component of America’s twenty-first century statecraft agenda.
Science—A Powerful Economic Force
merican leadership in global technological advances and scientific research, and the dynamism of our companies and universities in these areas is a major source of our economic, foreign policy, and national security strength. Innovation policy is part of our science diplomacy engagement. More than ever before, modern economies are rooted in science and technology. It is estimated that America’s knowledge-based industries represent 40 percent of our economic growth and 60 percent of our exports. Sustaining a vibrant knowledge-based economy, as well as a strong commitment to educational excellence and advanced research, provides an opportunity for our citizens to prosper and
enjoy upward mobility. America attracts people from all over the world—scientists, engineers, inventors, and
U.S.- EU scientific, research and development cooperation is increasingly key to many of the issues facing us today, including fostering economic growth and creating jobs
The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
entrepreneurs—who want the opportunity to participate in, and contribute to, our innovation economy. At the same time, our bilateral and multilateral dialogues support science, technology, and innovation abroad by promoting improved education; research and development funding; good governance and transparent regulatory policies; markets that are open and competitive; and policies that allow researchers and companies to succeed, and, if they fail, to have the opportunity to try again. The U.S. has Science & Technology (S&T) agreements with a variety of countries including Greece. The EU and the US have a very vibrant S&T relationship. “U.S.- EU scientific, research and development cooperation is increasingly key to many of the issues facing us today, including fostering economic growth and creating jobs in our countries in emerging sectors. Pursuing regulatory and standards-setting cooperation will benefit our economies” said Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert Hormats. Twenty-first century statecraft also requires that we build greater people-to-people relationships. Science and technology cooperation makes that possible. Today we are highlighting innovative programs as well as efforts by the U.S. Government! S ource: The U.S. Mission to the European Union, Brussels
Become a Member
To become a member of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, one of Greece’s most preeminent and proactive business organizations, apply on the Chamber website at www.amcham.gr, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call the Chamber at 210-699-3559, or fax the Chamber at 210-698-5687-7 and request an application form.
To subscribe to Business Partners, send an e-mail to email@example.com, call the Chamber at 210-699-3559, or fax the Chamber at 210-698-5687-7.
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Pay just â‚Ź1.09 a day to get the International Herald Tribune and Kathimerini English Edition and enjoy daily morning delivery to your home or office. Call 210 480 8222 today.
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