Sefkovic: Solution for PPC lignite plants will be found relatively quickly

The solution for the sale of 40 pct of Public Power Corporation (PPC) lignite plants will be found relatively quickly, as it is very important for the government to quickly conclude the third programme review, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said on Thursday at the Euro-Arab Summit held in Athens.

He explained that the negotiations on the issue are being conducted by the Directorate General for Competition, based on a decision of the European Court, adding that the issue will also be discussed at the meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the afternoon. The meeting would focus on the completion of reforms in the energy sector, Sefcovic noted, pointing out that this was very important for the conclusion of the third programme review and developments in energy networks in the region – including the TAP, Eastmed and Greek-Bulgarian pipelines, among others.

Sefcovic stressed that Greece could become an energy hub for the region and referred to the TAP pipeline as a project of strategic importance, since it will ensure the diversity of energy supply sources and the gas transportation route. Together with the Greek-Bulgarian pipeline, Greece’s role will be upgraded, the European Commission’s vice-president stressed, as it opens new gas resources for Southeast Europe and the Balkans. He also acknowledged that Greece and Italy will be the portals for the import of gas discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean, which, as he said, is comparable in volume to that of Norway.

Asked about the planned South Stream pipeline to transport Russian gas to Europe, Sefcovic said that the aim of the policy implemented in the region is that each country should have access to at least three natural gas sources by improving the interconnections and developing liquefied gas. He also said that Russian gas is more expensive for eastern European countries and Greece compared to Western Europe, although they are closer to the source, with price differentials ranging from 15 to 25 percent. As for the North Stream, the pipeline in Northern Europe, he stressed that European law must be respected and that the Commission will negotiate the pipeline’s status with Russia.

Referring to climate change targets, Sefcovic said that Greece is well on track to meet the 2020 targets and the signs are positive for 2030 when targets are much more demanding. This means that our country should coordinate economic growth with the need to meet climate targets, as part of the progress so far has been due to the economic crisis.