While the Greek economy is slowly recovering from the crisis, many are wondering if this recovery will affect everyone. This observation was made by Gaspar Richter, representative of the European Commission, at the event of the OECD Competition Assessment Reviews for Greece presentation, in Athens, on Monday, Nov 7. This report is the culmination of the Competition Assessment Project, an independent study requested by the Greek government and supported by the European Commission and Hellenic Competition Commission to identify rules and regulations that may hinder the competitive and efficient functioning of markets.
In his preface to the report, George Stathakis, former Greek Minister of Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism, and current Environment and Energy Minister, under whose auspices the report was carried out, underlined that the Greek government’s top priority is to secure the country’s return to sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Improving business competition is one of a number of areas where the OECD is cooperating with the Greek government in the design and implementation of reforms to boost inclusive growth and improve well-being. The work follows the cooperation agreement signed in March 2015 by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
The latest assessment is the third undertaken by the OECD and covers five sectors: e-commerce; construction; media; wholesale trade and a number of manufacturing sub-sectors such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The project team reviewed 1288 pieces of legislation and identified 577 potential restrictions to competition in the sectors examined. The report makes a total of 356 recommendations on specific legal provisions that should be abolished or amended, which, if implemented, could have a positive impact on the Greek economy worth around 414 million euros, as OECD Deputy Secretary General Rintaro Tamaki underlined in his address at the launching event.
Minister Stathakis further stressed that a huge effort will be needed for the proposed reforms to be implemented within a tight deadline.As is mentioned in his preface to the report, the Greek Government firmly believes that competition policy is not about extensive market deregulation but rather about smart regulation. The Greek Government shall use the conclusions of the current Competition Assessment Review within this framework; in other words, not a competition assessment for the sake of deregulation, but one that aims at a fair and strategic reform of the legislation.