Greece Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022
Basic data
Capital Athens
Population 10.82 million
Language Greek
Religion orthodox
State system parliamentary republic
Head of State Katerina Sakellaropoulou
Head of government Kyriakos Mitsotakis
Currency name Euro (EUR)
Travel
Time shift + 1 hour
Economy 2021
Nominal GDP (billion USD) 333.6
Economic growth (%) 8.3
Inflation (%) 0.6
Unemployment (%) 14.8

The Hellenic Republic is located in southeastern Europe in the south of the Balkan Peninsula, and its total area is 132,000 square meters. km 2. It borders Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey on the mainland. In addition to the mainland, Greece includes thousands of islands in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Ionian seas, but only 223 of them are inhabited. The largest are Crete, Euboea, Rhodes and Corfu. The population at the 2011 census was 10.8 million. Properly speaking, Greece is divided into 13 regions (regions), the largest of which is metropolitan Attica, where roughly half of the population lives and works. The official language is (new) Greek.

Greece is a parliamentary republic. The parliament is unicameral with 300 members elected for four-year terms. The head of state is the president elected by the parliament for a period of five years. From 2020, for the first time in history, the head of state is a woman. The powers of the President of the Republic are limited. Among the main ones is that he appoints the Prime Minister and entrusts him with its composition. The number of members of the government and its structure largely depend on the decision of the prime minister. The country has been a member of NATO since 1952, a member of the EU since 1981 and a member of the Eurozone since 2001.

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The Greek economy is one of the weakest in the EU. It is highly dependent on tourism and transport services, especially maritime services, which directly or indirectly produce roughly 25% of GDP. Important industries include the processing of domestic agricultural production, oil refining, mining and processing of raw materials such as bauxite, aluminum, non-ferrous metals, marble, and pharmaceutical production. Due to significant dependence on imports, the balance of payments is negative, although a high deficit in the trade balance partially eliminates the surplus in the balance of services. The EU is Greece’s largest trading partner. The core of exports from the Czech Republic has long been machinery and means of transport, especially passenger cars, which represent roughly 20% of exports, as well as chemicals and industrial consumer goods. Prospective sectors for Czech companies are, for example, energy. ICT, defense and pharmaceutical industries.

Greece went through a deep economic crisis between 2010 and 2018, losing about a quarter of its gross domestic product. The year 2019 signaled the onset of massive economic growth. The results of the tourism sector were record. However, the pandemic in 2020 interrupted the promising growth trajectory. Greece’s service-dependent economy was hit hard by the quarantine measures, and the volume of GDP fell sharply. Planned investments in sectors such as energy, ecology, innovation and infrastructure have been postponed. In 2021, tourism and the Greek economy were partially revived. In a year-on-year comparison, even with the economically weak year 2020, the increase in GDP was significant. The attractiveness of Greece for investors has increased and with it the inflow of foreign direct investment.

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The outlook for 2022-23 has so far been positive. The Ministry of Finance, the European Commission and rating agencies saw significant growth potential enhanced by investments from the Recovery Fund. The Greek government is trying to consistently implement its reform program aimed at improving the business environment and respecting fiscal discipline in order to strengthen investor confidence and achieve the inclusion of government bonds in the investment rating band. However, the promising development of the economy is threatened by international risks stemming from post-pandemic inflation and the energy crisis, exacerbated by the economic effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Culture of business dealings

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays

Introduction

Greece is a country located at the crossroads of trade routes with a long tradition in trade and hospitality services. In addition, the Greeks have been skilled rhetoricians since ancient times. All this is reflected in the culture of their behavior and business dealings. They are always pleasant, hospitable and accommodating, but at the same time they are goal-oriented and tough businessmen.

Addressing

Finding a partner to enter the Greek market is not easy. The local branch of the Czech Trade agency does not operate in the area, and the embassy has not had a separate trade department since 2011. Nevertheless, the embassy tries to map opportunities for Czech exporters and provide them with contacts. We can also recommend a separate search on the Internet and direct electronic contact with partners.

Since the Greek market is saturated in many ways, it is necessary to convince a potential partner or customer of the exclusivity of the offer. It is therefore necessary to pay due attention to the first steps and prepare well for them.

Formal address is Ms./Mr. and surname. Greeks don’t tolerate being called “Mr. Doctor” or “Mr. Engineer” and often don’t even list academic titles on their business cards. Very soon they freely move to touching and calling by first name, which is a sign of warmth and friendly atmosphere and is not good to resist, unless it is a meeting where you want to keep a stern tone.

Business meeting

A business meeting can be arranged in the same way as anywhere else in Europe by phone or e-mail. The meeting place can be an office, cafe or restaurant depending on the nature of the meeting. It is best to arrange the first meeting at the partner’s headquarters, which will provide information about his business, and continue the discussion over coffee, lunch or dinner.

A suitable time is roughly from 9:30 in the morning until late in the evening. Expect to be invited to a hearty late dinner, which can (especially in the summer) start at a time when Central Europeans usually go to bed. An invitation after 11 p.m. for a drink or a joint weekend lunch with the family is no exception. During the day, alcohol, including beer, is served rather as an accompaniment to food and not on its own, but it is not prohibited or prohibited.

Greeks put up with appropriate clothing. For negotiations, a formal look, which does not necessarily have to be a dark suit, should be preferred over a summer sports outfit, which can be demeaning in the eyes of a Greek partner.

There is no recipe for the appropriate composition of the negotiation team. It varies according to the size and type of business and the type of contract.

As there are traditional business ties to “strong” partners such as Italy, Germany and France, it is necessary to thoroughly prepare for the negotiations and to present the offer/intent in a high-quality way. The relationship to the Czech Republic is generally positive, most Greeks have visited Prague, which they love, and some of them have studied there at Anglophone universities. This facilitates communication and rapprochement, although sometimes the stereotypical perception of the former “Eastern Europe” has to be faced. An invitation to visit a company in the Czech Republic is recommended because it can change the perception of the Greek partner.

Communication

The official language is Modern Greek, but most Greek businessmen communicate and deal in English without problems. If the partner makes it clear that he prefers negotiations in Greek, it is good not to resist and find an interpreter in Greece, for example in the community of Czech expatriates. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Greece culture and traditions.

Electronic communication by e-mail is possible, a telephone conversation is especially suitable before a personal visit to Greece or a partner in the Czech Republic.

It can be stated that the digitization of public administration and the availability of information in English improved during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recommendation

The Greeks excel as savvy traders and build on their history. Showing respect and interest in Greece’s past and present can be an important element in business negotiations, and the rivalry between Greece and its regional neighbors must be approached with respect. Rushing, coercion, persuasion or displays of superiority are not appropriate during negotiations. At the same time, it is necessary to keep in mind, especially during the opening meetings, that the Greeks are good speakers. A prerequisite for success is purposefulness and prudence (including sufficient verification of the real solidity of the company).

Public Holidays

An overview of Greek holidays and non-working days is available on the website of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Athens.

Greece Culture of Business