More than 1,500 enterprises in the manufacturing and services sectors have relocated to neighboring countries in the last 12 months, while the number of Greeks crossing the borders for shopping surpass 600,000 on a monthly basis and this number rises steadily, an announcement by the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said on Thursday.
The Confederation noted that this trend was causing an uncontrollable bleeding to the Greek market. The Confederation said that one in four enterprises based near the country’s borders have closed down, while several businessmen were considering their relocation abroad. ESEE stressed that a strict austerity policy implemented in Greece not only it does not offer fiscal results but at the same time it was leading the productive middle class to destruction.
ESEE noted that cross-border illegal trade and smuggling were strongly hitting the regions of Macedonia, Thrace, Northern Aegean and the Dodecanese, with more than 500 million euros of Greek capital were spent to Bulgaria, Skopje and Turkey for the purchase of consumer goods annually. These purchases focuses on clothing, footwear, cigarettes, petrol, dental services and car services, while many people were also buying their weekly food supplies from neighboring countries.
The Confederation recommended a series of measures aimed at halting this phenomenon of “consumer immigration”, such as reducing taxation on all enterprises operating near the country’s borders, lifting all visa issue hurdles and imposing stricter inspections in open market sales from third countries.