ECONOMY

In Brief

Commission OKs state compensation to PPC for long-term costs The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the Greek government’s measures designed to compensate the Public Power Corporation (PPC) for the impact of the liberalization of the power market. In reaching the decision, the Commission took into account three types of stranded costs – the result of long-term unprofitable investments or commitments – that are no longer recoverable in a liberalized market. The first component of stranded costs is linked to the operation of unprofitable power stations, mostly hydro-electric where the Commission has ruled compensation cannot exceed 929 euros until 2015. The second component is the cost to PPC of water resource management and irrigation work imposed on it by the State in conjunction with the construction of power stations, for which compensation will be 324 million euros. The third component, for which compensation cannot exceed 178 million euros, relates to losses incurred as a result of a long-term contract to provide power to Aluminium of Greece at very low rates. The Commission has already approved compensation for stranded costs in Germany, Austria, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK. Greek-Bulgarian economic relations on the rise Greek private investment in Bulgaria reached $56 million in the first half of 2002, exceeding any other country’s, Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Vasilev said at the Economic Forum for SE Europe in Sofia yesterday. Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg called for the creation of a single energy market, a lowering of tariffs and closer economic and stock market ties between countries in the region. Greece’s trade with Bulgaria is estimated at about $1 billion in the last 12 months, while the total Greek investment in the country is projected to exceed this amount by year-end. The most prominent Greek investors in Bulgaria are the National Bank and OTE Telecom. Garganas hosts counterparts Bank of Greece Governor Nicholas Garganas is chairing a session of the Central Bank Governors’ Club – which includes his counterparts of 16 Balkan, Black Sea and Central Asian nations – in the seaside resort of Nafplion tomorrow. Speakers include William White of the Bank of International Settlements and Lucas Papademos, vice president of the European Central Bank. This will be the fourth and last session of the club in Greece during its tenure of the presidency in the 2001-2002 period. Allergens in foodstuffs Participants at a Thessaloniki conference on the occasion of World Food Day yesterday heard the latest developments in research and methods for tracing allergens in foodstuffs, in the framework of the EU-sponsored program FAIR which mainly addresses small and medium-sized enterprises. Progress now makes possible the detection of miniscule amounts of allergens in peaches, apricots, prunes and hazel nuts, enabling manufacturers to produce almost trace-free related foodstuffs. «The aims of the FAIR program include the promotion of hygiene, safety and the traditional products of the Mediterranean diet,» said Yolanda Totsiou, national coordinator for Greece.