The General Court of the European Union has annulled two European Commission decisions of the Greek lignite after an appeal by the Public Power Corporation (PPC) of Greece. The Greek government had intervened before the court as well for PPC.
The first Commission decision, issued in March 2008, concluded that certain Greek legislative provisions granting rights to PPC for the exploitation of lignite in Greece, created inequality of opportunity between economic operators regarding access to lignite as primary fuel for the generation of electricity.
These rights allegedly resulted in PPC’s dominance on the Greek wholesale electricity market and exclusion of market entry by new-comers. The second Commission decision was issued in August 2009 and established measures to correct the alleged anti-competitive effects pointed out by the Commission in the 2008 Decision.
The court ruled that the European Commission did not prove that PPC abuses its dominant position in the market. As a result, no EU competition law infringement exists anymore, and thus no remedy is needed. The judgment was seen by Greek officials as critical for the Greek electricity market.
PPC said it would stick to its position for the further liberalization of the Greek electricity market and promote healthy competition as well as include all sectors of the electricity market (wholesale and retail), aiming at the benefit of the end-consumer and the economy, which is also the main provision of the Memorandum.In a statement, PPC added: “We will continue to cooperate with the State and the regulatory authority of energy on achieving a long-term viable solution for the structure of the Greek electricity market.”