Energy Minister Stathakis: Gov’t wants to close all pending issues at next Eurogroup

The government aims to close all pending issues in Greece’s second program review at the next Eurogroup, Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis said in an interview with newspaper “Alithines Edeseis” on Saturday, adding he is in favour of a package agreement.

He said if the measures agreed with the country’s creditors are “socially neutral” the government will be able to pass them through parliament.

Asked about the remaining issues which concerns the opening of the energy market, the minister said the solution being promoted is to reduce power utility PPC’s market share below 50 percent by 2020.

So far, the two sides have agreed on a mechanism which will reduce the stake and discussions are being held on proposals submitted by the company. If these proposals fail, “it has been agreed that a clause from the initial deal will be activated which requires the sale of units,” he said.

“We believe PPC will not have stake over 50 percent in 2020, so it doesn’t need to sell any units. The 17 percent stake [in PPC] it is a given it will involve [the privatization agency] TAIPED in the future and the superfund [new privatization fund]. But PPC’s value today is at a low level and at the same time we believe the State must maintain a strong presence in the company,” he was quoted as saying.

Asked about the timeframe for the sale of a stake in gas grid operator DESFA, Stathakis said the ministry plans a new tender which will take about 12 months to hold, including the approvals from the EU.