Friction with Brussels over Crete power linkup

Friction with Brussels over Crete power linkup

The new round of negotiations between the Greek government and the European Commission on the project to hook up Crete to the mainland’s power grid has come to a total impasse. The issue in question concerns the rejection by Brussels of the project’s direct concession to a subsidiary of state-owned grid operator ADMIE.

The head of the Internal Energy Market Directorate at the Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, who has been handling the issue for Brussels, informed the Energy Ministry in Athens by email that he is putting an end to discussions between them, and is forwarding the issue to European Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.

This latest correspondence by Borchardt came in response to an email from Michalis Nikolakakis, Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis’s political bureau director, according to which Athens is sticking to its position, citing decisions by Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) that the Commission considers invalid and has asked be amended. The Nikolakakis email also asked that the Commission incorporate its proposals into RAE’s decisions.

After reading Nikolakakis’s email, Borchardt wrote that he has arrived at the conclusion “there is nothing left that I could do to further assist” in getting the EuroAsia Interconnector program out of the impasse. He went on to remind Athens that the Commission has proceeded to a revised and final version of the roadmap for the implementation of the linkup as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) and welcomed the Greek remarks on the original plan that have been sufficiently examined.

The European official said he sees no point in continuing discussions at his level as “we are beginning to repeat ourselves and the Greek side has started to communicate through the mass media.” He added that he has forwarded the case to Commissioner Canete.

The Commission had already warned Athens on Wednesday that if the project is not included in the PCI subsidy program it might cease to be financially feasible, putting its realization at risk.

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