Grip on state firms will loosen

Grip on state firms will loosen

Greece’s creditors are demanding that all state corporations be brought under the independent and technocratic management of the state asset utilization hyperfund.

The country’s lenders insist that from now on, all kinds of social policies implemented by state corporations be subject to a full assessment, including the pricing of each project, along the lines of European Union legislation. Such projects, when implemented for reasons of general interest, should entail compensation to the corporation plus a reasonable amount of profit for it.

The draft agreement proposed by the creditors states that “there will be a clear distinction between the operation of the state as owner and its other operations which may affect conditions in the state corporations.”

From now on, these state-owned companies will have to operate according to the principles drafted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) regarding corporate governance. The same will also apply for the hyperfund (Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations) and its 100 percent subsidiary Public Participations Company (EDIS) which all state corporations will belong to.

This is where the friction points between the government and its creditors exist, which are holding up the agreement’s conclusion. The government is trying to generate exceptions to the rule agreed in the summer of 2015, according to which “all state corporations without exception and all state properties will be transferred to EDIS and the hyperfund respectively.”

Government officials are also trying to secure themselves a role in the administration of a state asset even if it is transferred to EDIS and/or the hyperfund.

However, the creditors are not backing down. The main characteristics of EDIS as the coordinating mechanism of state corporations include the full distinction of the state as owner as opposed to corporation manager, the full autonomy of the companies and the definition of professional and independent management.

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