Bribe is only the tip of the iceberg

Graft charges against a senior official on the Competition Committee seem to be just the tip of the iceberg. A bigger scandal concerns the operation of the dairy products market itself. The 25-million-euro fine, reportedly for price fixing, was about to be imposed on Mevgal, a Greek dairy company that controls a mere 20 percent of the domestic market. It makes one wonder what the fine would be for Delta and Fage, the two giants that dominate the Greek milk market. For it goes without saying that Mevgal could not possibly manipulate milk prices on its own. Another question is whether it was Panayiotis Adamopoulos, director-general of the Competition Commission, who deferred the findings of the investigation into the Greek dairy market. As everybody knows, Greek consumers pay the highest milk prices in Europe. Yet although the Competition Committee has been looking at the problem for two years, still no report has emerged. Is Adamopoulos the only one responsible for its delayed release? The biggest and most enduring scandal is the cartel practices in the dairy market which have caused milk prices to hover above the European Union average. Sure, we must welcome the fact that a case of foul play has been exposed – but the bribing of Adamopoulos, who heads the commission’s administrative services, must be part of a much bigger problem. The fact that no one in the government appears moved by the scandalous prices on supermarket shelves causes second thoughts.