Parliamentary committee endorses new RAE leadership

A Parliamentary Commmittee has endorsed three new candidates proposed by the Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis for the seven-member board at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, including those of chairman and deputy chairman.

The energy minister nominated Nikos Boulaxis as chairman, Sotiris Manolkidis as deputy chairman, as well as Nektaria Karakatsani as a board member.

In recent times, RAE has hobbled along dysfunctionally, avoiding taking initiatives, with four board members and no official at its helm.

The energy minister’s nominations for chairman and deputy chairman were endorsed by eight of the committee’s seventeen members. Seven voted against and two remained neutral. Karakatsani, the other new board member at RAE, was backed by nine committee members.

All three nominations hail from within the authority’s ranks with considerable bodies of widely recognized preceding work at RAE, Lafazanis noted.

Boulaxis, the new RAE chief who has been employed at the authority for fifteen years, noted that his new post carries great responsibility, adding that decisive action is needed for RAE to pursue its mission.

“RAE is an independent body but not beyond control as it reports to Greek Parliament and the people,” Boulaxis remarked.

The new RAE head, responding to a question posed by a committee member representing the opposition PASOK party as to whether a case of incompatibility existed because his wife was employed at a construction company, remarked that his spouse had already resigned from her secretarial post and was now unemployed to avoid raising any suspicions concerning vested interests.

“If somebody happens to be occupying a supportive secretarial post at a construction company, this does not mean that he or she is a key official who shares common interests with the company,” Lafazanis intervened.

The energy minister has frequently described RAE as a service protecting private-sector interests, while also noting its executive powers will be diminished, within EU limits. The European Commission is believed to be closely monitoring developments.