19th Mar 2018

Greece to sell water, energy firms under EU deal

  • Greek voters said No to austerity in a referendum last month (Photo: Christopher Rose)

Greek privatisations under the EU bailout are set to include water companies, leading energy firms, and swathes of infrastructure.

The list, compiled by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, and agreed with creditors on 30 July, was published on Wednesday (19 August) by German Green MEP Sven Giegold.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said the Greek public “hardly knows” what will be sold off and has “the right” to more “transparency”.

Two potentially controversial assets include Eyath and Eydap, which provide water and sewage services to the Thessaloniki and greater Athens regions.

But the 27-page document notes the Greek Council of State has declined to sell majority stakes to private operators, with just 23 percent of Eyath and 11 percent of Eydap up for grabs.

In the energy sector, the list includes: 66 percent of Desfa, a gas distribution and liquid gas processing firm, to be sold to Azerbaijan; up to 35 percent of oil refinery and petrol distribution firm Helpe; 17 percent of electricity distributor PPC; and up to 65 percent of gas distributor Depa.

The infrastructure portfolio is the largest.

It covers: 14 regional airports, to be sold to German firm Fraport for €1.2 billion plus investment obligations by March 2016; Hellinikion, a former Athens Airport; 67 percent of the Piraeus Port Authority to a list of potential buyers which includes a Chinese firm; and 67 percent of the Thessaloniki Port Authority, potentially to Russian Railways.

It also covers: 100 percent of national rail and bus service providers, Trainose and Eessty, potentially to Russian Railways; 30 percent of Athens International Airport; and a 648 km-long motorway, which connects northern Greece to Turkey.

Other assets to go under the hammer include: up to 90 percent of Elta, the Greek postal service, and OTE, the Greek phone service provider, which is already 40 percent-owned by Deutsche Telekom.

The money raised, together with the shares of EU-recapitalised Greek banks, will go into a new privatisation fund to be worth up to €50 billion and to be up-and-running by the end of the year.

Use of the income is to be monitored by the “troika” of Greek creditors: the European Commission; the European Central Bank; and the International Monetary Fund.

The sale of the regional airports to Fraport has already hit a snag, with the Greek government, in a statement published on Wednesday, saying it’s unhappy with the German firm’s request to renegotiate terms.

Local authorities also don’t like it.

“This deal would seriously impact the economy of our region. The possible increase in landing fees will put off low-cost and charter flights and have negative effects on tourism”, Theodoros Galiatsatos, the governor of the Ionian Islands, which host some of the airports, told Greek daily Kathimerini.

Galiatsatos was appointed with the support of Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party.

Tsipras, who did a U-turn on reforms under pressure from creditors, has won praise from EU institutions and from Germany.

But Galiatsatos' complaint is one more sign of the split inside Syriza, not least due to the return of the troika, which Tsipras had promised to abolish in his election campaign.

The Greek PM, on Wednesday, wrote to European Parliament chief Martin Schulz asking for MEPs to join the troika structure for the sake of democratic oversight.

But Kathimerini, citing government sources, says the Syriza split is likely to see Tsipras call snap elections on 20 or 27 September, or, at the latest, on 11 October.

The new poll would create political uncertainty on the bailout deal.

But creditors say the EU package has broad support in the Greek parliament, including from opposition parties.

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

EU insists on US tariffs exemption

Europe is "an ally, not a threat", the EU Commission says - as the US is poised to impose duties in steel and aluminium. Common action on Chinese steel overcapacity could help diffuse the crisis.

Trump starts countdown to EU trade war

EU sales of steel to US to face 25 percent tariff from 23 March, with Europe to hit back on motorbikes and bourbon in looming trade war.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU countries 'unqualified solidarity' with UK over attack
  2. Seehofer: EU 'patronising' eastern states on migration
  3. How Facebook data helped Trump and Brexit campaigns
  4. Macron, Merkel pledge eurozone reform plan by June
  5. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  6. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  7. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  8. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Russia poisoning is not EU concern, Germany says
  2. Kiev wants EU sanctions on former German chancellor
  3. North Korea: time to put the 'E' in engagement
  4. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  5. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  6. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  7. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  8. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  2. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  4. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  5. EUobserverNow Hiring! Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience
  6. EUobserverNow Hiring! Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience
  7. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  10. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections
  12. CECEIndustry Stakeholders Are Ready to Take the Lead in Digital Construction