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In accordance with Law 4442/2016, «A new framework for economic activity and other provisions», which is concerning the simplification of the licensing procedure, modifies and establishes the institutional framework for the performance of an economic activity.
Based on the new provisions, the procedure of the registration of economic activity is facilitated and accelerated. Furthermore, it foresees the elimination of the licensing process in advance (ex ante) and the introduction of both, the notification process regarding the start of economic activity, as well as the system of subsequent monitoring (ex post) during the operations of a business.
The reform initially covers three sectors of economic activity, namely the Food and Beverage Industry, Sanitary Facilities, and the Tourism Industry, (tourist accommodation), while the majority of economic activities will be integrated gradually into the new framework, this integration process is expected to be completed in 2018.
Economic activities are classified, according to risk assessment based on scientific data, into three categories with respect to the starting conditions of their operations:
(α) Activities with a low level of risk, which provide for the free practice of activities,
(β) Activities with an average level of risk, which provide for a notification, namely the provision of a document, according to which the entrepreneur informs the administration regarding the beginning of company operations,
(γ) High-risk activities, which foresee a prior approval (ex ante).
The classification of activities into three risk levels will be based on the health risks for consumers, the health and safety of workers and nearby residents, as well as of the natural and cultural environment.
The new regulations provide for automated notification/approval procedures, claims management, audits, and the possibility of electronic submission of applications for the establishment of entrepreneurial activity. For this reason, the operation of an Integrated Information System of Activity Implementation and Inspections is planned, where all the required notices and statements will be stored, included in the e-filing procedure until the approval is granted in an e-form, the management and supervision of which is assigned to the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Economy and Development. The implementation of the comprehensive information system is aimed at reducing the workload of administrations, implementing effective control, and minimizing discretionary exogenous interventions.
It should also be noted that the follow-up process will be comprised of on-site inspections, provided recommendations, and the provision of guiding principles of compliance. The commencement of operations is declared to the competent authorities without the provision of supporting documents. The notification process requires only the following important data: name, the address where the entrepreneurial activity will be performed, the type of business activity or activities that will be performed, the required documentation will be stored in the company’s file and will be available to inspecting authorities.
Finally, there is a fee to be paid for exercising business activity, with the exception of those exercised absolutely free. Provided is a one-time payment of this fee, and the purpose of this income is to ensure minimum resources for the exploitation, development, and maintenance of the information system of the law, as well as the management of notifications and approvals, data management, and finally the implementation of inspections required by relevant authorities, as defined for each sector of economic activity. It is clearly established that the value of the fee should be set to a minimum and should not exceed that which is absolutely necessary for the purposes that it has been assigned, that it should correspond to the size and type of activity and be reasonable, in order to avoid the reluctance of performing a business activity.