Coali­tion over­comes con­cerns about “small DEH”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The new cab­i­net emerged un­scathed un­scathed last week from the first test of its co­he­sion, which was brought about by dis­quiet con­cern­ing the pri­vati­sa­tion of 30% of the state-run Pub­lic Power Cor­po­ra­tion (PPC/DEH) in the form of a smaller spin-off.

Adopt­ing the so-called “small PPC law” is one of the six prior ac­tions Athens should have com­pleted by the end of the month to re­ceive the first 1 bln euro sub-tranche of its eu­ro­zone bailout. It is one of the 12 tasks Greece needs to ful­fil this sum­mer.

How­ever, there were rum­blings of dis­con­tent within the govern­ment, par­tic­u­larly from PASOK MPs from con­stituen­cies that host PPC units. The ju­nior coali­tion part­ner did not threaten to de­rail the bill but asked for cer­tain ad­just­ments to be made in­stead. A com­pro­mise ap­pears to have been found. The draft leg­is­la­tion is ex­pected to con­tain stip­u­la­tions that any in­vestor would have to re­tain the cur­rent PPC staff for a min­i­mum of five years and that lo­cal work­ers would be given pri­or­ity when new po­si­tions be­come avail­able.

This seems to have smoothed things over within the coali­tion, help­ing to over­come dis­agree­ments. It is no co­in­ci­dence that the draft­ing of the po­ten­tially con­tentious bill was de­layed un­til Par­lia­ment’s sum­mer ses­sions (when 100 rather than 300 MPs sit) had be­gun. It is eas­ier for the govern­ment to pass leg­is­la­tion dur­ing the sum­mer, when there are fewer MPs to keep in line and me­dia at­ten­tion on po­lit­i­cal is­sues wanes.

Ger­many’s EON and RWE,

Italy’s Edi­son and France’s EDF are thought to be among those in­ter­ested in the small PPC.

The op­po­si­tion par­ties have said they will op­pose the draft law and PPC work­ers’ unions are threat­en­ing to go on strike. SYRIZA went as far as to say that it would re­na­tion­alise the part of the power com­pany that is due to be sold off.

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