The latest Greek bailout deal includes a provision to privatize the country’s electricity transmission network.
The deal was drawn up on Monday and today Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has to push the measures through parliament in order for them to move forward.
Among a raft on measures detailed in Monday’s Euro Summit statement, which breaks down the bailout deal, Greece is required to “proceed with the privatisation of the electricity transmission network operator, unless replacement measures can be found that have equivalent effect on competition”.
It is not the first time the country’s electricity sector has faced privatization. Two years ago Greek officials drew up a plan to sell off 66 per cent of the independent power transmission operator – known by its Greek acronym ADMIE.
Four companies were in line to bid for ADMIE – grid operators Terna, Elia and State Grid Corp of China – as well as a Canadian pension fund, PSP Investments.
But the privatization plan was put on hold in January following the election of Alexis Tsipras and the following month energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis vowed that “not one single privatization will take place in the energy sector”.
However a sell-off is now not just back on the table, but being presented as a condition of the latest bailout.
Mujtaba Rahman at political consults Eurasia Group told the International Business Times that “privatization, especially on the energy side, is central to the bailout”.
However, Eva Kaili, a Greek MEP and member of the European Parliament’s energy and industry committee, has been reported as saying that “taking into account that the current government has a generally hostile attitude towards liberalization of any resource market, I think it’s highly unlikely that privatizations in energy sectors will get through”.