Greek government outlines guidelines for liberalization electricity and gas markets

The Greek government on Tuesday approved guidelines to liberalize the electricity and gas markets, after EU officials warned that Greece could miss a deadline for deregulating its energy center. The two bills will be tabled in parliament to provide "the regulatory framework for the liberalization of the energy market," Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said. All 25 EU nations are obliged to fully open their electricity and gas markets by July 2007.

The European Commission warned July 4 that it was ready to launch court cases against Greece and four other countries that it said had failed to deregulate national energy markets, the AP reports.

Greece's state-run Public Power Corporation and Depa currently dominate the supply of electricity and natural gas. Sioufas said government also approved a third bill aimed at increasing production of biofuels - produced by decomposing organic material - as part of an EU-wide drive to have at least 2 percent of all transport fuel deriving from biofuels by the end of the year, and 5.75 percent by 2010. Sioufas did not say when the bills would be presented to parliament. PPC's workers' union opposes the new regulations, and has threatened to strike when the draft legislation is debated in parliament. AM

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