OPINION

Action, not reports, to end profiteering

The fact that 345 cases involving Greek businesses have been referred to the Competitiveness Commission shows how serious this situation is. Announcements by the Commission’s chairman that inspections are being conducted on bank contracts as well as the dairy, detergent, frozen food, beer and flour markets show that undesirable practices have invaded sectors which could directly impact Greece households. Not that the independent Commission has been quick with its work. Of the 345 pending cases on competitiveness, only 106 are being examined. The remaining 250 are still filed away. Perhaps the Commission – which now employs about 64 people – needs more staff to do its work. The body might actually need at least 150 staff to tackle all those cases. The fact that investigations into deliberate profiteering in the milk market or bank contracts have been going on for so many years should give rise to some concern. We should not need a 15,000-page report to discover that there is something seriously wrong in the milk market. The local price for milk is almost triple that in the rest of the European Union. It is good that the Commission has discovered there are problems in so many sectors of the market, even after years of delay. However, it would be far more useful if it completed its job and punished those who are breaking the law at the expense of consumers. For the role of the Competitiveness Commission is not simply to note the problems but to solve them.