ECONOMY

Reforms go half way, says competition watchdog

A government push to open up closed professions will have a delayed positive impact to the economy due to partial reforms being implemented to the labour market, according to the Competition Commission.

The competition watchdog sent the Finance Ministry a report on February 14 last year stating its opinion on the proposed changes but they were not taken into account despite being important.

The report was put together at the request of the ministry.

Due to this reason, the Competition Commission?s assessment of the draft bill a year ago also applies, to a large extent, to the recently approved law.

?The draft bill does not lead to a complete lifting of restrictions to competition but does so on a partial level… according to European law,? it said.

?Whatever positive impact there will be for consumers and the national economy may not be felt immediately as the real changes to competition will come gradually.?

One of the major areas of concern regards the profession of engineers.

According to the draft law, the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) can take action against parties if the fee paid to an engineer is deemed to be excessively low.

The competition watchdog believes that this creates a conflict of interest, as TEE sets high fees for two reasons. Firstly, to protect the income of its members and secondly, to collect its slice of income from engineer fees.

The report added that the new law has replaced a «minimum fee» in the profession with a new «legal fee» which could end up being the same thing in practice and a large obstacle to competition in the sector.