ECONOMY

In Brief

New EU directive for power industry deregulation projected for April A new directive on the deregulation of the electric power industry in the EU is projected to be ready in April, after completion of consultations with the European Parliament, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos told Parliament yesterday. In view of the new directive, the government will institute new, supplementary provisions in the existing law in Greece. He said the revision will greatly facilitate the construction of three private power stations and that the pace of deregulation will enable the Public Power Corporation to continue playing a role as a public utility. European Commission refers Greece to court over taxes on cars The European Commission has decided to refer Greece to the European Court, considering that the levying of a number of taxes on cars owned by citizens of other EU member-states who take up «ordinary residence» in Greece is incompatible with Directive EC 83/183. According to the directive, the Commission argues, these taxes, amounting to about 20 percent of those on commercially imported vehicles, can only be levied when personal belongings are finally imported. Also, it says that Greece improperly recognizes the reduced rate for only one car per family of other EU citizens that take up residence here. The Commission contends that the Greek authorities apply a too restrictive interpretation of the term «ordinary residence.» e-commerce The value of electronic commerce conducted through cosmONE’s service (b2bmarketsite) reached a turnover of 310 million euros in 2002, a hefty 384 percent growth from 2001. cosmONE serves more than 80 companies, which distribute about 35,000 goods and services through electronic catalogs. The firm’s b2bauction service last year held 96 auctions which included IT, engineering and transportation equipment and consultative services. New clients of cosmONE last year included the Agricultural Bank, Hellenic Post and OTEnet. Banks The central bank’s governor, Nikos Garganas, and his Romanian counterpart, Constantin Isarescu, are due to sign in Bucharest today a memorandum of cooperation in the two countries’ exercise of supervision competences over commercial banks operating branches in one another. Hungarian buy Greek software firm Quality & Reliability (Q&R) said it bought a minority stake in Hungary’s rEVOLUTION Software Kft via a 1-million-euro capital hike. Greek media have put the holding at 35 percent. Q&R is 40 percent owned by the Pouliadis IT group and had sales of 13.5 million euros in 2001. (Reuters) Trussardi Listed firm Notos Com Holdings said it won the exclusive representation and distribution in Greece of Trussardi clothes as of September 2003. The current distributor, Connection, said it reserved the right to seek compensation. Taxes The Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) said it plans to up inspections on VAT evasion, offshore firms and smuggling.