Ministry considers offering mines to avoid pressure on PPC

Energy ministry officials are examining the prospect of staging a tender to offer the private sector exclusive mining rights to coal deposits in northern Greece’s Drama, Elassona, Vegora and Vevi in response to a European Court verdict that has upheld an older European Commission decision condemning the main main power utility PPC for abuse of its dominant market position.

Just days ago, the European Court rejected an appeal made by PPC against the European Commission decision.

A highly-ranked energy ministry official has told energypress that the Greek government is considering proposing to Brussels a solution similar to one discussed back in 2009, offering private-sector enterprises exclusive rights to the aforementioned coal deposits. Such a move would satisfy Brussels following the court verdict, the official supported.

The thoughts to pursue this path are based on an examination conducted by the government’s legal team, whose results have been passed on to energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

The transfer of the four coal deposits to the private sector would prevent a repeat of the European Commission’s demand for the partial privatization of PPC, an older demand locally dubbed “Little PPC”. The Greek legal team believes Greece has no other choice.

The latest Greek proposal is more or less the same as one forwarded by former Prime Minister George Papandreou back in 2009, prior to Greece’s first bailout loan a year later.

The transfer of the Vevi mine to the private sector has developed into a saga that has remained unresolved over a ten-year period.