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OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Greece

image of OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Greece

The work undertaken by the Greek authorities in recent years to reinforce competition law and the Hellenic Competition Commission, to simplify business administration and to liberalise professional services have demonstrated the political willingness to address the problem of existing regulatory barriers to competition that have contributed to holding back the economic recovery.

The OECD Competition Assessment Project, through the scrutiny of legislation in four sectors of the Greek economy, food processing, retail trade, building materials and tourism, has identified 336 areas where particular reform can be undertaken, from a total of 539 provisions that were selected using the OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit.

If our recommendations are implemented, benefits to consumers in Greece and to the Greek economy should arise in all four sectors. Throughout this report, we seek to identify the sources of those benefits and where possible provide quantitative estimates. Estimates are made on the basis of experiences of deregulation in other countries in some instances, or by relating conservative estimates of efficiency gains to the overall size of the business activity affected.

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Food processing

Within the food processing sector, regulatory barriers to competition were identified especially within the dairy and bakery industries. Obstacles are often created by the fact that the legislation frequently provides restrictive definitions of certain food products or their components, or activities which do not take into consideration recent technological developments or the practice in other EU countries. For instance, legislation concerning the shelf life of milk protects local markets from internal and foreign competition to the detriment of consumer choice and welfare. The Code of Foodstuffs and Beverages contains various obsolete provisions that should be removed. A levy is placed on flour, a basic food product, to the detriment of competition. The recommendations will contribute to simplifying the business environment and allow the market to function more freely. Estimates are given on consumer benefits for milk and flour which could reach over EUR 40 million a year.

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