House approves Competition Commission nominees


A Parliament committee on Tuesday approved the government’s nominees to head Greece’s Competition Commission. However, their approval was opposed by leftist SYRIZA lawmakers who walked out before the vote on the matter.

The government proposed Ioannis Lianos, professor of competition law and public policy at University College in London, to head the commission, and Kalliopi Benetatou, also an academic with a decade’s worth of experience at the commission, as vice president.

The other two nominees are Maria Ioannidou and Maria-Ioanna Rantou. All four are to serve five-year terms.

Lianos will replace Vassiliki Thanou who was removed from her post earlier this month, along with four other commission members, after the government introduced a provision in a multi-bill stipulating that persons who have served in political offices cannot be appointed to the Competition Commission for five years from the moment they leave office. Thanou had served as a legal adviser in the office of former prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

The committee’s session got off to an acrimonious start with main opposition SYRIZA calling for a suspension of proceedings as the Council of State has yet to convene to discuss an appeal by Thanou against her removal.

For his part, Lianos said in statements to the committee that he is returning to Greece “to contribute in the promotion of fair competition and subsequently an improvement of the country’s financial situation.”

“I hope that this will also encourage other Greeks who have left abroad in recent years to think of ways in which they can contribute through their experiences and networks to the country’s development,” he added.