Greece moved up four places in the global economic freedom table in 2019, but was still only 78th out of 165 countries, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual report on global economic freedom, released Tuesday in Greece and Cyprus by the Center for Liberal Studies. (KEFiM).
Of the 27 states that currently make up the European Union, Greece was at the lowest.
Greece scored an average of 7.15 out of 10 points, ranking between Kyrgyzstan in 77th place and North Macedonia in 79th place. In last year’s report for 2018 Greece was in 82nd place. Cyprus, on the other hand, held a particularly high place, in 24th place.
Most notably, Greece remains one of the 20 countries in the world with the largest public sector, as it ranks miserably 146th in terms of government size (still five places better than in 2018).
It was 142nd in labor market regulation, 86th in regulation and 79th in business regulation. The country’s relatively strong point in 2019 was the regulation of the credit market, where it ranked 22nd. It was also 56th in terms of legal system and property rights, 57th in terms of freedom of international trade and 67th in sound currency, thanks to its membership in the euro zone.
Greece’s low point was 2015, when it ranked 96th, with its government size index at just 4.34 points; this score rose in 2019 to 5.41. In contrast, Greece achieved a perfect score of 10 in credit market regulation in 2019 for bank ownership and private sector lending.
“Wealth is mainly generated in one way – that is, the efficient distribution of resources. This requires transactions on open and competitive markets operating within an institutional framework that guarantees the principles of justice and promotes economic growth, ”argues KEFiM research director Aristides Hatzis.
“Greece remains the most closed economy country in the EU, with an ineffective institutional framework. Despite the bold reforms of recent years, we remain last in the EU because our competitors are opening their own markets faster and improving their institutions. Unless that changes, we shouldn’t have high expectations for the future, ”Hatzis warns.
At the top of the table in this year’s report are Hong Kong and Singapore, followed by New Zealand, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.