Presentation of the book of Costas S. Mitropoulos, “Privatisations in Greece: the end of the road?”

Kostas Mitropoulos’ book “Privatizations in Greece: the end of a road?” just released by KERKYRA Publications-economia PUBLISHING, in Greek and English, was presented on Thursday, November 30, in the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA).

After a brief welcome greeting by the President of EBEA Sofia Kounenaki-Efraimoglou, Nikos Christodoulakis (Emeritus professor, Athens University of Economics and Business), Giorgos Zanias (President, Eurobank S.A.), Giorgos Makripidis (Partner, Corporate Finance Leader, PwC Greece) & Foivos Karzis (journalist) discussed with the author about the book.

The debate was moderated by journalist Antonis D. Papagiannidis.


Sofia Kounenaki-Efraimoglou

In her introductory remarks, EBEA President Sofia Kounenaki-Efraimoglou referred to how the book by Costas Mitropoulos tries to redefine, in a more rational context, the relationship between the state with the economy.

Nikos Christodoulakis

Nikos Christodoulakis, former minister and Emeritus Professor of the OPA, first referred to the book as one of the rare – in Greece – books of Applied Economics “with a solid foundation”, considering that it deserves to be used as a teaching manual. He described how adequate privatization methods in the early stages can bring popular sympathy to the institution; on the contrary, the IMF’s authoritarian model of privatization in the context of stabilization programs in Latin America created a negative precedent. “There have been tremendous successes but also failures in Greece”, he claimed, “despite the clearly hostile public opinion and obstacles continuously placed by bureaucrats”.


Giorgos Zanias

Giorgos Zanias, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eurobank and Professor Emeritus of the University of Economics, referred to the privatizations as a “painful reform” which too often took an ideological tint (whereas in practice behind the ideological cloak of reactions vested interests were often hidden). Privatization came to Greece as a reaction to a series of nationalizations, which had resulted from statism that had prevailed in Greece for decades. Efforts to promote privatization have been hindered by the notion of political cost –rooted both in vested interests embedded in public enterprises and a distorted understanding of trade unionism.


Giorgos Makripidis

Giorgos Makripidis, in charge of Corporate Finance and partner of PwC Greece, focused on the effects selected procedures had on privatizations. He pointed out that “great respect is due to those who undertook to do and carried out privatizations” under harsh quantitative (the infamous goal of 50 billion euro) and procedural requirements, agreed with the Troika of creditors.


Phoivos Karzis

Journalist Phoivos Karzis spoke about the political aspect of privatizations, emphasizing how an economic choice translated into a dichotomous division in the political system, but also within political parties . He noted that, in the end, most privatizations in Greece were carried out by progressive Governments.


Costas Mitropoulos

Finally, the author himself, Costas Mitropoulos, the first CEO of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) and with long experience in consulting on related issues, explained that the intention of the book was neither to be political, nor technically economic, nor a collection of memories, but to bring to the surface elements of the Greek experience in such a way as to create a framework for understanding this phenomenon. He also pointed out that – finally – a stable policy that “lasted for 30 years” was implemented in Greece.