Fast-track scheme aims to speed up in­vest­ments

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties have been tasked with im­ple­ment­ing a fast-track scheme aimed at al­low­ing much-needed in­vest­ments and in­fra­struc­ture works to pro­ceed quickly, sim­i­lar to one used to com­plete Olympic venues in time for the Athens 2004 Games, Kathimerini has learned.

The Coun­cil of State, the coun­try’s high­est ad­min­is­tra­tive court, and the State Au­dit Coun­cil are to han­dle the bulk of the cases re­lat­ing to ma­jor in­vest­ments or those deemed to be of strate­gic national sig­nif­i­cance.

As re­gards ap­peals, which have slowed down count­less projects in the past, new leg­isla­tive pro­vi­sions will oblige those con­sid­er­ing le­gal ac­tion to pay a charge equal to 1 per­cent of the value of the con­tract, sources said. The amend­ment, it is hoped, will dis­cour­age much lit­i­ga­tion.

The fast-track scheme aims to en­force a pack­age of mea­sures passed through Par­lia­ment and aimed at re­mov­ing ob­sta­cles to much-needed in­vest­ments, which Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras has pledged to pur­sue as part of a bid to re­vive Greece’s econ­omy. The ac­cel­er­a­tion of pro­ce­dures would also al­low Greece to in­crease its ab­sorp­tion of Euro­pean Union sub­si­dies, an­other goal high­lighted by Sa­ma­ras.

Greece’s cum­ber­some le­gal sys­tem has long been re­garded as a dis­in­cen­tive by would-be for­eign in­vestors, along with the ubiq­ui­tous red tape that govern­ment of­fi­cials in­sist has been slashed. The new re­forms aim to in­volve the ju­di­ciary in ef­forts to pro­vide in­cen­tives for in­vest­ments.

The ini­tia­tive comes at a time of an­tic­i­pated up­heaval in the ju­di­cial sec­tor with a large num­ber of top-rank­ing of­fi­cials sched­uled to leave their posts by the end of the month – in most cases be­cause they have ex­ceeded the rec­om­mended age limit of 75.

It is un­clear whether the ex­pected ex­o­dus – along with a broader stream­lin­ing of the civil ser­vice be­ing de­manded by the troika – will pro­voke re­sis­tance among judges tasked with ac­cel­er­at­ing court cases. In any case, sources say, the ap­point­ment of new of­fi­cials in the top ech­e­lons of the coun­try’s ju­di­ciary is likely to cre­ate new ten­sions within the coali­tion govern­ment.

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