ECONOMY

In Brief

Greece warned over PPC’s exclusive rights to lignite mining The European Commission yesterday warned Greece that the exclusive rights granted to the Public Power Corporation (PPC) for the mining of lignite, which is used to produce 60 percent of the country’s electricity, may be in breach of European competition rules. The Commission argues that the exclusive rights enable PPC to maintain its dominant position in the Greek power market and notes that three years after the formal opening of the Greek electricity market to competition, PPC is still the only supplier. It further notes that PPC has in fact increased its lignite extraction in recent years, despite signing the Kyoto Protocol which identifies the mineral as one of the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Greece is given two months to either justify or put an end to PPC’s use of lignite. New CMC head says he will tighten rules to boost credibility The new president of the Capital Market Commission (CMC), Alexis Pilavios, told a parliamentary committee he will strive for a more effective institutional framework and the correction of past omissions with a view to boosting the bourse’s credibility and inducing investors to return. He said the CMC will not deal with past alleged misdeeds which may have led to the collapse of the stock market after 1999 but will help if necessary. «Justice will deal with penal cases,» he said. Pilavios said he supports a stricter policy toward listed firms which do not implement their promises to shareholders. Regarding operating rules for stockbrokerages, he said, «We must be very careful and not to allow firms that should have been shut years ago to continue operating.» Professional qualifications The European Commission has asked Greece to notify it of the measures it has adopted in line with the directive concerning the recognition of the professional qualifications and experience of doctors, dentists, vets and architects that have been obtained in other EU member states. The deadline for the adoption of Directive 2001/19/EC expired on January 1 and Greece is liable to be referred to the European Court. Eurobank EFG Eurobank Ergasias is developing its corporate banking network, with 170 specialized staff in 42 units in Greece’s major urban centers, for firms with an annual turnover of more than 2.5 million euros, officials told a press briefing. Two central units have been set up in Athens and Thessaloniki to cater to companies with an annual turnover of more than 25 million euros. The bank’s lending to corporations, small firms and the self-employed now stands in excess of 9.5 million euros, representing 15 percent of the Greek total, or 6 percent of the country’s GDP. Think-tank The government yesterday appointed Athens University of Economics Professor Ploutarchos Sakellaris, 40, as head of the Economy and Finance Ministry’s think-tank. Fur fair The 29th annual International Fur Exhibition opened in Kastoria yesterday, and will last until Sunday.