OPINION

Watchdog with little bark, no bite

In a joint decision by ministers Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Dimitris Sioufas, the government has abolished the pay ceiling previously imposed on Competition Commission officials and given the green light for the recruitment of 50 new staff. There is no objection to this in principle. The commission is an independent body with the task of safeguarding free competition. It must be granted all the necessary financial means to meet public expectations. However, it should be noted that despite the commission’s work, cartels, oligopolies and harmonized practices are the rule rather than the exception in Greece’s small market. It should also be noted that many international agencies blame Greece’s high inflation rate on the country’s oligopolies, which distort healthy competition. The commission must do more to live up to people’s expectations and justify its spending of those hefty chunks of taxpayers’ money. For one thing, it must finally do away with the milk cartel that has established itself in the Greek market.