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2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 170 E/65

waste water and for waste from the companies in that region, and on the preparation of programmes
setting qualitative targets for the Aliakmona River. The Commission will decide what further work needs
to be done on this matter once the Greek authorities have replied.

In principle an integrated water management plan in the area referred to may, in principle, be eligible as
part of the activities to be jointly financed by Community support framework (CSF) III in central

(2000/C 170 E/073) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1653/99

by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(22 September 1999)

Subject: New insurance scheme set up by Greek Electricity Board (DEI)

According to press reports, the agreement between the Greek Government and the DEI trade unions
designed to resolve their insurance problem  which has already been publicised  has provoked
opposition from the Commission ‘which considers that the arrangements for the DEI’s new insurance
scheme constitute government aid’. According to the same reports, the Commission considers that the
insurance scheme is related to the opening-up of the energy market in Greece.

1. Does the Commission consider that the arrangements made for the DEI insurance scheme, whereby
the assets of the insurance organisation are transferred in return for cover via the national budget,
constitutes government aid?

2. Is it the Commission’s intention that the timetable for opening up the domestic energy market in
Greece in 2001 should be the same as for all the Member States or will it be 28 %, as applied to the other
Member States except Greece in February 1999?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(27 October 1999)

1. The Commission has not received any notification from the Greek government on the agreement
between the Greek government and the Greek Electricity Board (DEI). Therefore, the Commission has
made no declaration with respect to the arrangements in question. At present, it is not therefore possible
to say whether these arrangements constitute a state aid within the meaning of Article 87 of the EC Treaty
(ex-Article 92). The Commission intends to address a request for information to the Greek government.

2. The Member States had the obligation to implement the provisions of Directive 96/0092/EC of the
Parliament and of the Council of 19 December 1996 concerning common rules for the internal market in
electricity (1), on 19 February 1999. However, Belgium and Ireland were given one additional year to
implement the Directive, while Greece had two extra years to adopt the implementing legislation.

The Directive in its Article 19 provides for an opening of the market in three steps. The share of the
national market will be increased progressively over a period of six years. The minimum market opening
corresponding to the first step is calculated as the share of the total Community electricity consumption by
final consumers with an annual consumption exceeding 40 gigawatt hours (GWh). Following the latest
calculation this implies that a minimum of 26,48 % of each national market had to be open for
competition since 19 February 1999. In the second step  three years after entry into force of the
Directive  the threshold is reduced to a level of 20 GWh. This increases the minimum market opening to
approximately 28 %. In the third step  six years after entry into force of the Directive -the threshold is
further reduced to 9 GWh which equals a market opening of some 33 %.

In the event that Greece uses the full two-year grace period, it will have to liberalise its share electricity
consumption which corresponds with the second step, which applies three years after the entry into force
of the Directive, i.e. 19 February 2000. In 2003 it will have to liberalise its share of total electricity
consumption consumed by final consumers with an annual consumption exceeding 9 GWh, based on the
Community average.

(1) OJ L 27, 30.1.1997.