Answer given by Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission
In its decision of 5 March 2008(1), the Commission identified competition concerns relating to DEI's privileged access to lignite. It is the responsibility of the Greek Government to propose measures that remedy the competition problem. It is also the responsibility of that Government to decide on the energy sources used in its territory. As noted by the Honourable Member, in 2009 the Commission accepted measures proposed by Greece, which consisted of granting competitors access to four new lignite mines(2). This was not implemented. In 2010, the Greek Government adopted a new energy and environment policy that entailed a decreased use of lignite. The Government envisaged continuing to allow the exploitation of existing lignite mines but to grant no new exploitation rights on lignite deposits except in relation to the deposit of Vevi. Therefore, it requested a review of the remedies made binding upon it in 2009. The right to request modifications was specifically foreseen in the Commission's decision of 5 March 2008, where the Commission acknowledged that remedies to solve the competition problem would have to be aligned to any revised energy policy, in particular due to environmental concerns(3). As also noted by the Honourable Member, new measures proposed by the Greek Government in line with their revised energy policy were market tested in January 2011(4), in order to allow other market players the chance to give their views. Discussions to follow up on comments made in the context of the market test are still ongoing between the Commission and the Greek Government. The Greek Government has not yet proposed a satisfactory set of measures. Until competitors of DEI are granted sufficient access to lignite and lignite-fired generation, one cannot say that the competition problem identified in the 2008 decision has been remedied.