by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos
ATHENS, February 7, 2015 (TSR) – The new Leftist Greek government is in the process putting a freeze on the privatization of the country’s assets such as the Public Power Corporation (DEH). The plan will also affect the deal with China as the government will also put a stop to the sale of Piraeus Port to China, according to local media reports.
The previous conservative government had passed legislation last year to sell 30 percent of PPC to private groups as part of its efforts to liberalize its energy market and as part of the bailout program.
The SYRIZA-led new government is stopping the planned sale of a 67 percent stake in the Piraeus Port Authority, agreed under its international bailout deal for which China’s Cosco Group and four other suitors had been shortlisted.
“The Cosco deal will be reviewed to the benefit of the Greek people,” Thodoris Dritsas, deputy minister in charge of the shipping portfolio, told Reuters late last month.
The Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis is currently promoting a bill that would invalidate the privatization of DEI (Public Power Corporation of Greece) and the sale of ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum).
Specifically, the bill is:
- Canceling the law on the division and further privatization of DEI, which was signed by the previous Greek government as a memorandum obligation.
- Terminating the process of selling the share package of ELPE, while returning all the shares of energy companies, currently in possession of the TAIPED (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund), to the State. Practically this means that the selling of the so-called “small DEI” will also be canceled.
Simultaneously, the new government have decided to also cancel the privatization of the regional airports program. The 14 airports around the country that are used by thousands of tourists on an annual basis are currently in disappointing condition, while the public investment program could not afford funding their reconstruction.
The regional airports privatization plan has only recently outbid the 14 airports to the highest bidder, Flaport and Slentel consortium. According to its tender, the consortium would take over the airports’ management for 40 years in return of 1.234 billion euros and an annual rent of another 22.9 million euros, which would have been adjusted according to the country’s inflation rate. Additionally, the payments to the Civil Aviation Authority and the Hellenic Air Force would cast the State’s benefit within these 40 years to some 10 billion euros, the Greek Reporter said.
The new government also plans to reverse some layoffs of public sector employees, rolling back another key bailout measure and has promised the re-hiring of 10,000 public sector employees who were laid off as part of the bailout measures. The 320 cleaners from the finance ministry who were fired, will be re-hired immediately.