Lack of transparency in relations between the Troika and consultancies and law firms in Greece

Reports in the Greek media, more specifically the magazine Vimagazino of 12.12.2012 and the website of 16.10.2012, refer to continual communications over many months between Greek consultancies and law firms and the Troika, which includes the Commission. They also emphasise that these consultancies have managed in a number of cases to influence the positions of the Troika, in its negotiations with the Greek Government, for the benefit of the corporate interests they represent. In my Question P-001864/2011, I had pointed out that the Commission's representative in the Troika, after talks with ‘the most influential people of Greece outside politics’ (his words), had publicly supported the complete privatisation of state property and the sale of beaches for the development of tourist accommodation.

This model of tourist accommodation involves the development of ‘private villages’ where planning regulations do not apply which is considered the main factor in the collapse of the Spanish economy because of the millions of unsold homes. A few months later, this tourist accommodation model was established by Law 4002/11. The new planning framework for tourism is currently being drawn up and, in this connection, Olga Kefalogianni, the minister responsible, has already announced the further development of tourist accommodation.

Given that, under Article 298 TFEU, in carrying out their missions, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union shall have the support of an open, efficient and independent European administration, will the Commission say:

1. Have any consultancies and law firms based in Greece been entered in the European Transparency Register?

2. Have Commission representatives involved in the Troika come into contact with consultancies and law firms in Greece? Could the Commission provide the relevant contact list in accordance with Article 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001?

3. Can it disclose the list of Troika contacts with private entities since May 2010?

Answer given by Mr Rehn on behalf of the Commission

The economic adjustment programme of Greece and the privatisation process have to be seen against the budgetary challenges the country faces. While Member States have to comply with the Treaty obligation to avoid excessive deficits expressed in Article 126 TFEU, and with the related Council decisions, the choice on how to correct the budgetary imbalances and, in this context, of what and how far public assets or companies should be privatised remains entirely with the Member States.

The Commission representatives have regular and direct contacts with the Greek Government, including politically-appointed officials and civil servants, to carry out the monitoring of the commitments assumed in the context of the economic adjustment programme.

The privatisation fund (HRADF) was created with the objective of implementing the government privatisation program in a professional and transparent manner. In this process it is helped by a number of technical, legal and financial advisors hired according to open and transparent public procurement procedures. The Commission representatives do not have contacts with these advisors.