EC summons Stathakis for explanation

27 February 2016
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Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis has been asked to provide an explanation to Brussels regarding the recent amendment regarding the operation of the Competition Commission, one of Greece’s independent watchdogs.

Stathakis will travel to Belgium on Monday for a meeting of European Union competition ministers and will have a private meeting with European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager.

Sources say the meeting has been scheduled to settle the issue which has arisen over Stathakis’s recent intervention in the composition and operation of Greece’s competition watchdog, which included certain clauses apparently tailor-made for certain officials.

The Commission’s annoyance has been expressed in a letter to the government, while the issue was also raised during the recent visit by the EU’s deputy director general for competition, Gert Koopman, in Athens.

Besides the fact that those legislative interventions are seen as not complying with EU directives regarding independent authorities, they are also considered unilateral actions by the country’s creditors, as the watchdog’s operation, its upgrading and its role in market liberalization form part of the bailout agreement reached with the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.

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