In late November, Greece announced that it was pulling out of plans to sell a 66 percent stake in the Greek national gas operator Desfa to Azerbaijan’s state energy company, SOCAR, complicating Greek efforts to meet its privatization targets set out by the terms of its bailout agreement. In an email interview, John N. Kallianiotis, a professor at the University of Scranton, discusses Greece’s privatization program.
WPR: What are Greece’s privatization obligations under its bailout agreement, and how much progress has been made on the privatization program?
John N. Kallianiotis: The administrator of the Greek privatization plan is the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), which was imposed on the Greek government by its creditors, the so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. TAIPED has been tasked with managing the privatization of land development, infrastructure and corporate state-owned assets. The fund is not based on Greek law, but on an international treaty, which makes many Greeks suspicious of it, as does the fact that its board of directors has close links with Greece’s creditors.