UNION OF HELLENIC CHAMBERS
actions pivot around the assumption of it being the State’s enacted
advisor on economy and growth in general; it also represents Hellenic
Chambers at home and abroad, and provides services to them. To this end,
it develops actions making it an effective tool in the country’s
economic and social development.
the above, the UHCC has set the following objectives, by order of
perform its consulting role vis-a-vis the authorities in the most
provide integrated information services to its member-Chambers;
efficiently represent Chambers at home and abroad;
assert the management of development projects from the State.
AND ACTION KEYSTONES
has set the following priorities:
contribution of the Chambers in economic policy-making and
implementation, via the submission of opinions on every economic-related
matter or bill, by the UHCC.
participation in all functioning Committees that the State and various
state bodies are setting up from time to time, concerning the economic
activity. Such participation shall pertain to the formulation of joint
positions and informed proposals, for a more effective intervention in
decisions and choices concerning their members.
immediate realisation of the General Trade Register, being a standing
request of the country’s productive classes, with the creation of a
Central Administration for General Trade Register within the UHCC.
presence of the UHCC abroad, and especially within the European Union,
South-eastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean. Fostering relations with
national Chamber unions in those areas, and in particular,close
cooperation and activity within the Eurochambres and the Association of
development of a permanent and fixed communication and cooperation
network abroad, via the creation of the Representation Office in
Brussels of the UHCC, enabling the provision of better services to
members, and to Hellenic businesses, by extension, to improve the
business environment in which they operate and to have better access to
various financing means.
adaptation to rules and the new standards in the single European market,
by improving the competitiveness of businesses, and by freeing them of
rigid and burdening regulations.
Maximisation and full utilisation of the potential that small and
medium-sized enterprises have for employment, growth and
the UHCC with a coordinating role in promoting entrepreneurship and
better preparing young, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
the role and activities of Chambers in vocational training.
the UHCC with a more active role in the absorption of EU funds,
attracting foreign investments, increasing exports and disseminating
enactment of direct response mechanisms for dealing with current
problems of the business classes, thus accelerating the development
network and efficient organisation
members are all 59 Chambers covering the entire country. The Union
represents the Chambers at home and abroad and expresses their positions
and a component of their views. All 59 Hellenic Chambers participate in
the UHCC on an equal basis: Commerce -Industry -Craft and Professional.
In particular, each prefecture has a mixed Chamber, except the country’s
three largest cities, which have three Chambers each. Using this
network, the UHCC represents our country’s entire business world: namely
880 thousand Hellenic enterprises. UHCC, and the member-Chambers, are
the connecting link between businesses and public administration, and
the official forum for dialogue between the state and the productive
developing a fixed communication and cooperation network with its
member-Chambers, the UHCC is offering Hellenic businesses various
services to improve the business environment they operate in and to have
better access to various financing means. Moreover, by submitting and
forwarding various entrepreneurial requests, it can intervene in the
decision-making procedures that pertain to entrepreneurial matters and
problems,and substantially contribute to shaping economic policy.
Besides -via the various local Chambers the UHCC is the only body in
Greece representing and expressing the views of the entire business
world, and by extension, of the productive classes (trade, craft,
professional, industrial and service businesses).
in Greece operate the most complete national communication network, on a
business world level, with the UHCC being the reference centre, and the
various local member-Chambers being the regional units, which are also
responsible for promoting economic growth in their region’s local
economy. Moreover, via the UHCC link to Eurochambres (the coordinating
body of all European, in the broader sense, Chambers) the above network
acquires European dimensions.
TO MEMBER - CHAMBERS
aimed at informing and supporting members
the essential services the UHCC offers its members is the provision of
information and updates with regard to all economic developments and
matters that the Union obtains from the domestic and foreign arena.
Information and updates are provided both via the known conventional
methods and through available new technologies, especially the internet.
the above into account, and with a view to utilising opportunities
arising in the contemporary environment, and to monitoring national and
community strategic directions, the UHCC focuses its activities on the
strengthen all available bodies in the chamber institution, so as to
improve both communication and cooperation with member - Chambers, and
the optimum and more effective coordination of actions.
provide integrated information and updating services to its members,
that will help them improve their operation, as well as develop and take
initiatives, and facilitate communication amongst them, communication
with third parties, mainly by using and disseminating IT technology and
provide Chambers with regular updates on developments and events of
broader interest from the Hellenic and international arena (conferences,
community programs, legislative regulations, etc.) either by sending
printed material, or electronically via the internet. At the same time,
this effort is complemented by information meetings.
study special Chamber problems, so that they be forwarded to the
decision-making centres, where appropriate and beneficial solutions will
decently represent Chambers at home and abroad;
perform its consulting role vis-a-vis the authorities in the most
promote and realise the important work of the General Trade Register, to
the Chambers’ benefit.
assert the management of development projects from the State.
implement, by both the UHCC and the Chambers, various projects stemming
from participation in programs such as the Central Support Structure
-Centre for Business and Technological Development (KEDY-KETA), the
Citizen Service Centres (KEP), EQUAL, Information Society and other
initiatives and actions.
create and operate Electronic Data Banks and Business Information Data
Bases (e-boss and e-chamber), that are of interest to Chambers and their
member-businesses, and provide them with information on various
entrepreneurial and business matters, disseminate product and raw
material demand and supply information in collaboration with other
THE UHCC AND CHAMBERS
AS TOOLS IN THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
UHCC’s main concern is the attempt to expand its role, as well as that
of Chambers, as authentic spokespeople of the business community, mainly
through taking up new initiatives in support of the country’s economic
growth, by participating as implementation agencies for development
projects and strategic services. Chambers and the UHCC can manage
development projects better and more effectively, since they possess
both the necessary means and the required experience.
BUSINESSES AND THE
embrace approx. 880 thousand businesses - of all categories, sectors and
legal forms - most of which have a constant, two-way communication with
them and use the services offered.
uses this local Chambers network to receive prompt information as to the
problems and requests coming from businesses all over the country, as
well as their views on various economic and social problems.
same time, via the same network, the UHCC disseminates information
material to the entire business world in Greece, on markets (in Greece
and abroad), the developments in the legal framework for entrepreneurial
actions (national and community), partnership opportunities, technology,
it provides information on financing possibilities, available financing
tools for businesses, various community and national development and
restructuring programs, etc.
Chamber network mostly addresses SMEs which in any case constitute the
largest part and the foundation of Hellenic and European economy.
SUPPORT TO SECTORAL
is very sensitive when it comes to development initiatives of a regional
character, embarked upon on initiative of Chambers, and for this reason
will offer any and all possible assistance and support to these actions.
In this framework, the UHCC participates in meetings of statutory bodies
and other events, of both the Hellenic Chamber Association for
Transports, and the Greek Islands Chamber Development Group, offering
constant and essential support.
PRESENCE BEFORE THE STATE
Supporting local and regional requests before central administration -
cooperating with competent Ministries and providing opinion to
mostly has a coordinating and complementary role to that of Chambers and
by no means a competitive one. According to the principle of
subsidiarity, the UHCC intervenes only in case its action is more
effective than that of its member-Chambers.
arrangements with local Chambers, the UHCC forwards matters of local or
regional interest, that needs to be resolved in favour of the business
community and local interests, to the Central Administration.
opinion-giving function to public authorities, namely the Parliament,
the Government and Ministries, constitutes the eminently enacted
competence of the UHCC and of Chambers. Giving advice on economic policy
and growth, such as the development incentives law, the main axes of
economic policy, and economic measures (tax regime), transport, tourism,
vocational training and employment, commerce, industrial policy, SMEs,
etc., is part of UHCC’s main opinion-giving activity.
is actively represented in all government meetings on matters under the
responsibility of Chambers, as well as the following Committees and
National Exports Council, Ministry of Economy and Finance.
National Quality for Growth Council, Ministry of Development.
National Consumer Council, Ministry of Development.
Coastal Transportation Council, Ministry of Mercantile Marine.
Deliberation Committee for the prevention and confrontation of “MARKET”
problems in tax and customs issues, Ministry of Economy and Finance.
preparatory Committee for adaptation of the legislation on insurance
mediation pursuant to Directive 2002/92/EEC, Ministry of Development.
of Directors of the “Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small
Enterprises SA”, Ministry of Development.
Operational Program “Competitiveness”, Ministry of Development.
technical Training and Examination Committee for Private Insurance
working group for harmonisation of the applicable legislation to
directive 2002/65/EC, on distance marketing of consumer financial
has also participated in:
Committee to reform Development Incentives Law 2601/98, Ministry of
Economy and Finance.
Committee to Reform the Tax System, Ministry of Economy and Finance.
preparatory Committee for the elaboration of a Draft Bill on the review
and modernisation of the Chamber Legislation, Ministry of Development.
these activities, the UHCC:
Seeks the representativeness and scientific validation of
its positions on the country’s most important economic matters. The
representativeness is ensured by composing the views of all
member-Chambers during the elaboration of a position on any given matter
of national interest and importance. Scientific validation is achieved
with the support of UHCC departments and with the help of outside
associates, renowned scientists, academics or market consultants.
Takes a stance on matters within its competence and
communicates this to the Government and the Opposition, whether they ask
for it or not. When deemed necessary, the UHCC President requests to
have a meeting with the competent Minister, preferably with the
participation of Chamber Presidents. Especially when it comes to local
interest matters, when the UHCC meets with state bodies, the respective
local Chamber President is also invited to participate.
Makes its positions public, either through its President,
or in the Media, through press releases. Moreover, when it comes to
matters of exceptional importance, the UHCC makes special publications
(manual, leaflets, etc), or special website postings.
MINISTRY OF DEVELOPMENT
and their Union keep close working relations with the supervisory
authority, namely the Ministry of Development. Indeed the Ministry of
Development has ceded several chamber responsibilities directly linked
with the operation of businesses, to Chambers. Chambers and the UHCC,
that expresses the resultant opinion, constitute the State’s main
enacted Advisor on economy matters, actively participate in formulating
the country’s general economic policy, and regional economic policy in
ACCESS TO FINANCING MEANS
Community Programs and the UHCC
fosters close cooperation both with various Ministries, and with various
involved agencies, for the successful implementation of 3rd CSF programs
and the development of initiatives aimed at modernising mainly small
same time, it does not fail to fulfil the primary objective of providing
information to Chamber Management bodies and officials so as to offer
Hellenic businesses various services to improve the business environment
they operate in and to have better access to various financing means.
also processes and forwards on to Chambers, issues regarding the 3rd CSF,
information society, e-commerce and in general, the development and
utilisation of internet structures that are pertinent to chamber and
the UHCC participates in the Monitoring Committee of the
“Competitiveness” Operational Program (2000-2006), made up of
representatives from the Ministries of Economy, Development, Labour,
Environment Physical Planning and Public Works, the Payment Management
Authority, the Fiscal Control Committee and other public sector bodies,
the Local Authorities, Economic and Social Partners, and representative
AND PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
implements various programs and support actions, designed and elaborated
to create and operate major EDP and other projects and applications,
aimed at contributing to the strengthening of networking and information
capacities for UHCC member-Chambers.
infrastructure focuses on the electronic support and promotion of
Chambers and their members.
has created a hub www.e-boss.gr offering the following services:
information on programs, exhibitions, business news, etc.
presentation of the UHCC and the Chambers.
Announcements - Articles - Studies - Positions
Greece, the World, Businesses, the Economy, Science, etc.
and Supply matching
certificates (digital signature activation still pending).
the UHCC also participates in the transnational portal www.bcross.gr,
teaming up with Chambers from Austria and Italy, offering the above
services to businesses on a transnational level.
is also a point of contact between Chambers and Citizen Service Centres
(KEP), since it offers an intermediate server to operate the system.
the UHCC, with the cooperation of Hellas SAT, set up a company called
HOS, to support Chambers and their members with satellite applications.
the necessary infrastructure and know-how, HOS is operating the UHCC
Business Service Centre with other countries and regions such as China,
Korea, the Balkans, etc. The Business Service Centre’s responsibilities
include the operation and support of all of UHCC’s activities, such as
semi-auto supply and demand matching, certification of Chamber
UHCC’s international activities are basically two-fold:
In the European Union, with European Commission and the
Association of European Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Eurochambres),
In South-eastern Europe, with the A.B.C. (Association of
Balkan Chambers) and the Association of the Black Sea Zone Chambers of
Commerce & Industry.
DYNAMIC PRESENCE ABROAD
international relations and representation
Europe, the UHCC has set the following priorities:
provide integrated information services to its member-Chambers and their
efficiently represent Chambers abroad
perform its interventionist role vis-a-vis European authorities and
decision-making centres, as effectively as possible
development projects from European agencies
representation in international organisations and fora is a major UHCC
responsibility. This representation is defined per geographical region
develop cooperation with Chamber Unions from other countries, and for
this reason is responding positively to all bilateral cooperation
working closely with the Hellenic National Committee of the
International Chamber of Commerce, to the benefit of Greek businessmen.
AT THE CENTRE OF EUROPE
promotes direct contacts with the European Commission
Directorates-General, and especially those handling matters of interest
to Chambers (Competition, Enterprise and Industry, Internal Market and
Services, Regional Policy, Transport and Energy, Information Society and
Media, Employment - Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Education
and Culture, Environment etc), with the Secretariat of the Council of
Ministers, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the
Regions and the European Parliament, to forward the interests of
Hellenic businesses, or other Chamber-related matters. The Brussels
Office plays a major role in these contacts and actions.
Furthermore, the UHCC is actively and systematically involved with the
Eurochambres, the union that is the representative body of all Chambers
from 25 EU member-states, but also other states having special relation
with the EU (44 countries in total) and expresses the interests of two
thousand Chambers of Commerce and Industry and approx. 18 million
businesses. More than 80% of those businesses are SMEs, while
Eurochambres members employ 120 million people in total.
follows and participates in the proceedings of the Eurochambres’ General
Assemblies - Board of Directors meetings -Executive Committees and
Annual Conferences. Moreover, it elaborates position and submits texts
with proposals and opinions.
Eurochambres member, the UHCC has the opportunity to support the
requests, and to seek solutions to the problems that productive sectors
face in Greece, by expressing views and opinions during the creation of
new European Commission pieces of legislation, and in defining the
effects of community institutional initiatives within the context of
single European market integration and consolidation.
re-election of UHCC President George Kassimatis as Eurochambres Deputy
President, responsible for energy, transports and tourism, has created
the conditions for strengthening the UHCC presence in European
participates in various Eurochambres actions and initiatives (Export to
Japan Promotion Campaign: «E.U. Gateway to Japan», Executice Training
Programme for Japan and Korea etc).
Brussels office is the most effective lever to put forward the plans for
the development of a permanent and fixed communication and cooperation
network abroad. The Office has a huge contribution to the active and
systematic presence and activity, not only of the UHCC, but of Greek
Chambers as well, in Eurochambres and the EU institutional bodies, and
helps Hellenic Chambers achieve their objectives, thus benefiting all
the classes they represent. Moreover, the existence and operation of the
Office in one of the world’s primary political poles, has made it
possible to offer better services to UHCC member-Chambers, and, by
extension to Hellenic businesses, enabling them to improve the business
environment they operate in and to have better access to various
purpose of the Office is to inform the UHCC and all Hellenic Chambers on
EU developments, whether programs and community initiatives, or
legislative initiatives, to promote the Hellenic Chambers’ positions in
formulating Chamber-related community policy, and to provide scientific
and technical support to Chambers participating therein.
same time, the Brussels Office supports many Chambers in the preparation
and submission of various proposals, as well as the promotion of
monitoring activities of the evaluation and final acceptance procedures,
by the European Commission and various community bodies.
election of UHCC President George Kassimatis as Eurochambres Deputy
President, responsible initially for enlargement and later for energy,
transports and tourism, the Office’s contribution to the successful
fulfilment of his duties has been decisive.
National Chamber Women Network
National Chamber Network of Women Entrepreneurs was initiated in 2004 by
the UHCC, in order to address the needs of women entrepreneurs and help
towards the activation of the decisions of Lisbon.
purpose is the development of women entrepreneurship, the promotion of
the equality of sexes in business, the creation of an equal opportunity
environment and the development of the female populations’ skills and
abilities in order to contribute to the productivity of the economy and
the identification of the obstacles, which prevent women from
participating fully in the working bodies of society.
National Chamber Women Network is the extension of the Eurochambres
Women Network. It is a fact that its President, Sophia Economacos, is
the Vice-President of the Eurochambres Women Network, what brings the
two organizations in close co-operation and gives our National Network a
universal profile and orientation.
National Chamber Women Network undertakes and implements Community
projects, career counseling activities and training programs and
seminars for its members. It also promotes the networking of women
entrepreneurs by helping them find solutions to issues related to the
business market, competitiveness and employability.
the Brussels Office:
meetings with Representatives of other Nation all Chamber Missions, to
exchange views and foster bilateral cooperation.
with the Greek Commissioner’s Office for enlarged UHCC and Chamber
participation in EU action programs, with a view to supporting the
European Strategy for Employment and Innovation.
with members of the Permanent Greek Delegation to the EU.
with members and officials of the European Parliament. In this context,
the Office offers assistance and cooperation to Greek Euro-MPs, who
missions to Brussels, as well as other events, thus contributing to the
success of their work. Representatives from all political parties and
Local Authorities visit the Office and are informed on its actions and
role in Brussels.
The Office organises information meetings at its premises
for the various missions organised on invitation of Greek Euro-MPs.
mission of the Brussels Office:
inform and raise the awareness of the UHCC central service and members,
European issues in the fields of interest for the Hellenic business
represent the UHCC and formulate and forward its positions, in
collaboration with the central service:
– in the
Eurochambres, where UHCC President holds the position of Deputy
– in the
EU institutional bodies (the European Commission,
European Parliament and the Permanent Greek Delegation).
office offers the following services the UHCC member - Chambers:
Information on latest European developments.
on European issues.
to European institutional bodies.
IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE
priorities also include fostering the cooperation with the Chamber
Associations in Central and Eastern European countries, in particular
the countries that have recently joined or are about to join the
framework, the UHCC is quite active with the Association of Balkan
Chambers (ABC) which comprises the national Chamber associations and
unions of the Balkan countries (Albania - Bulgaria - Cyprus FYROM -
Greece - Romania - Turkey - Serbia - Montenegro), as well as initiatives
promoting Black Sea cooperation, like the works of the Association of
the Black Sea Zone Chambers of Commerce & Industry).
Specifically, the UHCC places great importance on interbalkan
cooperation, and for this reason it plays a leading role in the
Association of Balkan Chambers, being a founding member thereof. This
deep involvement aspires to turning the Balkans into a region of
economic growth and close commercial cooperation, and at the same time
contributes to the gradual and steady rapprochement and convergence of
the Balkan countries to the prospect of the unified Europe.
Assisting member-state businesses to develop bilateral or multilateral
relations within the Balkans.
Establishing the necessary institutions to enable operation of the free
liberalisation in the Balkans
Creation and development of a business information system
Exhibitions and trade missions.
the UHCC follows the developments in the Balkans and relations with the
countries in the region, by participating both in the Board of Directors
of the Inter-Balkan and Black Sea Business Centre (DIPEK) in
Thessaloniki, and the works of the Permanent Committee for Trade
Facilitation - HELLASPRO, that operates under the auspices of the
Ministry of National Economy, on the resolution of technical foreign
trade issues appearing in Greece’s relations with SE European countries.