Greece lags in economic freedom

16 September 2016
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Greece may have been accused of pursuing neoliberal policies in 2014 by the now-ruling leftists, but in fact this country then ranked a rather poor 86th among 159 states, according to the new Economic Freedom of the World report from Canada’s Fraser Institute, which is based on data from that year.
The think tank’s report, published on Friday in Greece by the Markos Dragoumis Center for Liberal Studies (KEFIM), shows that Greece was behind all its European Union peers and on a par with countries such as Tajikistan (84th), Saudi Arabia (85th), Cape Verde (87th) and Turkey (90th). Greece’s scored 6.93 points in terms of economic freedom (out of 1 to 10, where a higher value indicates a higher level of economic freedom), while the main destination of Greek enterprises today, Bulgaria, ranked 45th, with a score of 7.39 points. Some other EU member-states that formerly belonged to the Eastern Bloc are far above Greece, among them Lithuania and Estonia, which ranked 15th and 19th respectively.

The report gauges the degree to which countries’ policies and institutions are supportive of economic freedom (personal option levels, market entry chances, security of property rights, justice system etc), analyzing the policies and the institutions of 159 countries around the world.
Greece’s scores in the main categories are as follows: size of government, 4.66 points (142nd in the world), from 4.92 in 2013; legal structure and security of property rights, 5.91 points, from 5.80 in 2013; access to sound money, 9.70 (thanks to the euro); freedom to trade internationally, 7.94, against 7.59 a year earlier; and regulation of credit, labor and business, 6.44, down from 6.56 in 2013.

KEFIM scientific council member Miranda Xafa observed that “it is remarkable that Greece’s best performance was in the two categories for which it has conceded its policymaking rights to the European Union, access to sound money and freedom to trade internationally, although the latter may well be downgraded as of 2015 due to the capital controls.”

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