Resistance to sell-offs from gov’t is costing

Resistance to sell-offs from gov’t is costing

The privatizations of Public Power Corporation (PPC) and gas grid operator DESFA are rocking the government, with the recent attack launched by Energy Minister Panos Skourletis against state sell-off fund TAIPED head Stergios Pitsiorlas leading to a standoff between the ministry and the fund. This has also highlighted the deeper problems in the government in regards privatizations, as seen in the cases of Piraeus port and Trainose too.

The tension between Skourletis and Pitsiorlas, stemming back to a major rift in the leftist party, is expected to come to a head with the start of the program for the concession of energy company stakes (PPC, Public Gas Corporation and Hellenic Petroleum), with which Skourletis disagrees even though he signed off on it.

Skourletis’s opposition to the sale of a 49 percent stake to Azeri state company Socar has put the government in hot water because Athens may soon have to face the consequences from the upcoming failure of the DESFA concession. The biggest fear is the activation of the automatic fiscal cutbacks mechanism, as it will be very hard for Athens to cover the revenues of 188 million euros inscribed in the 2016 budget.

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