Full speed backward for Greece’s energy policy

Greece’s energy strategy, from privatizations to energy diplomacy, will be fully reversed as of today, new Production Reconstruction and Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis announced on Wednesday.

“There will be no privatizations in the energy sector,” the new minister clarified, adding that one of the measures he will promote will be an end to the breakup and further sale of Public Power Corporation (PPC).

“It will remain and be reorganized as a public enterprise, with the state holding on to a majority stake, operating with growth, environmental and production criteria, not for profit,” Lafazanis said in reference to PPC, stressing also that all individuals and companies that are involved in or have relations with the firm will be reviewed in order to “rid PPC of any sort of predatory entanglement with private interests.”

The privatization of grid operator ADMIE will also be halted, said Lafazanis, and the Hellenic Petroleum stake transferred to state sell-off fund TAIPED for privatization will be returned to the oil company for the state to exercise its rights in it. He made no special reference to the sale of gas grid operator DESFA, but when questioned he pointed to the government program the prime minister will present next month in Parliament. He did the same when asked about the unfolding tenders for the utilization of hydrocarbon reserves in western and southern Greece.

The minister further referred to the issue of energy diplomacy, saying that “in the energy sector the country’s international relations will be multi-leveled and multidimensional, operating exclusively for the public, national and growth interest,” he stated. “The country will become no one’s satellite,” he said, in reference to Alexis Tsipras’s intervention in the European Union regarding Russia.

On the fuel market, Lafazanis set as his priority the combating of smuggling and tax evasion, and went on to say that the prime minister has named his ministry “the Super-Ministry of Production Reconstruction” because that is exactly what the country needs. PPC will be a vehicle for that effort, he noted, along with the primary and manufacturing sectors. “We have got so much to do for the country’s benefit and the reduction of energy costs,” he stressed, promising support to small photovoltaic producers.