Here is four of the biggest news events for Greece and Athens in January 2020.
Investors applauded Greek PM for firm anti-smoking stance
The new Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was not bluffing about implementing the anti-smoking laws that were not previously enforced by the Tsipras populist regime. One investor, Alex Bacon from France said: “For the first time, we can buy a property in Greece and live here all year round because in winter time, there will no longer be social exclusion for non-smokers”. Previously, non-smokers were facing severe challenges to find non-smoking restaurants. With the new emergency number that the Mitsotakis government put in place, facilities breaking the law can be reported instantly. According to most Greeks, several Bouzoukia venues are still breaking the law, seems to be the only exception that the government has to bring in line. Nightclubs are largely complying with the law. Greece face a declining population and inability to attract top-tier property investors, however foreign property groups believe that Greece can eventually compete with Spain and Italy to attract more wealthy expats, especially if issues like smoking in public and high air pollution can be curtailed.
Man assaulted violently by an angry women in Korydallos
In the early morning hours of Saturday morning 11th January 2020, police were called to Dilou street in Korydallos. A foreign man of European origin called them from outside the women’s apartment with his shirt ripped apart and multiple injuries. The women opened the house for police, after which both the man and the women accompanied officers to the police station. The man then left for further medical examination. The women is said to be an online shop owner who previously worked in nightclub security and who is recently divorced from the son of a wealthy shipowner. She threatened that she has the necessary contacts and promised to have the man locked up and executed in a Greek prison. The man, who spoke on a condition of anonymity said: “The Greek police acted professionally and can be commended for their quick response and high levels of integrity”. The man did not want to name the women at this stage and says he has empathy with the known anger management problem the women faces.
More British citizens support the return of Greek marbles kept in the UK
Some British tourists who visited Athens voiced their support for the return of Greek marbles kept in Britain to Greece. One visitor, Jane Hughes, said “When you visit Athens and you see incomplete displays, realizing that some important ancient pieces of the Greek culture is kept abroad, it makes you feel the sense of injustice that Greeks voiced over the issue”. Britain and Greece have been locked in ongoing discussions about the Greek marbles, but UK citizens feel that their government has been delaying the issue without cause.
Support for Greece VS Turkey standoff
European partners, especially France, voiced support for Greece in the face of potential Turkish aggression. The Turks who previously threatened Greece with another “Ottoman Slap” are seen as provocative with current moves around Libya. The Greek shipping industry and defence sector is on high alert over potential Turkish aggression. There is hope that diplomacy can defuse the scenario. Ahead of a Berlin meeting, Greece is said to issue an official response to aggressive remarks by president Erdogan. Island residents in Greece also fear the constant presence of Turkish naval boats in their vicinity, particularly those in the Aegean, situated near Turkey.
Greek property seen as attractive by investors
More foreign real estate agents are partnering with Greek property consultants to encourage investment in Greece. Sothebys Realty is expanding in the country with both Zoopla and Rightmove showing higher prices for property in the Athens Southern Suburbs, Corfu and Mykonos. The country experienced a turnaround in house prices – especially in Athens, where Airbnb type investments have driven demand. A lot of Greeks are also now renting their properties to charities who provide accommodation to migrants in Athens. There is concern that wages may not keep up with rent rises in Athens, however Greece is a country with a high home ownership rate and citizens who do not have the privilege to own homes are in a minority. Greek property auctions are set to go in motion as a glut of foreclosures still loom.
In Greece, the economy is on the mend with consumer spending near their pre-crisis highs. The new prime minister promised to stamp out corruption and bring incentives that will spur further growth. Watch this space for more news on the Greek nation.