EU: Scrap investment legislation

BRUSSELS (Combined reports) – The European Commission has issued a final warning to the Greek government to scrap a law restricting investments in so-called strategic companies as it contravenes European Union legislation. The law was used last December to block a potential takeover of OTE telecom by Marfin Investment Group and provides for two sets of approval requirements for anyone wishing to acquire a stake higher than 20 percent in former monopolies. Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said the law breaks EU rules on free movement of capital and the right of a company to set up shop anywhere in the 27-nation bloc. «The Commission considers that both authorization systems are not suitable and proportionate measures,» the EU executive said in a statement yesterday. Greece said in May it will keep the law. If the Commission does not get a satisfactory reply within the next two months it will refer Athens to the European Court of Justice.