The Code of Civil Procedure sets out a number of conditions that must be met in order for a foreign arbitral award to be recognised and enforced in Greece. The conditions that applicants must satisfy in this regard are in line with the New York Convention, to which Greece is a signatory. This article provides comprehensive guidance on the recognition and enforcement process's requirements.
In April and May 2019 solar and wind renewable energy systems producers will compete for the first time for operating state aid and a place in the Greek energy market in a joint competitive tender procedure organised by the Energy Regulatory Authority. Despite certain doubts, the market signs indicate that a significant number of players and capacities plan to participate in the upcoming joint competition.
A draft law on the further unbundling and privatisation of the public natural gas company DEPA was recently submitted to Parliament. The draft law proposes that DEPA be divided into two companies: DEPA Infrastructure and DEPA Trade. The main opposition to the draft law centres on the fact that the state will retain a 14% stake in DEPA Trade, which some have argued will allow the state to retain too much control and potentially veto strategic policy issues.
Under Article 897 of the Code of Civil Procedure, an arbitral award can be annulled in whole or in part by a decision from the competent national court only if it is contrary to, among other things, public order provisions or bonos mores. Examples of public order provisions that would justify the annulment of an arbitral award include jus cogens rules which have been enacted in order to protect the public interest.
The second regular wind and photovoltaic (PV) state aid auction held in December 2018 resulted in the award of all of the capacities for two of the three categories of renewable energy system project, a significant (up to 26%) reduction in the reference prices compared with the initial reference prices and the cancellation of the auction for large PV projects by the Regulatory Energy Authority due to insufficient competition.
The new renewable energy sources state aid scheme was introduced in Greece in 2016 by way of Law 4414/2016. On 18 October 2018 the Regulatory Energy Agency launched the second regular competitive procedures for determining the reference prices of state aid for wind and solar energy producers in Greece, which offers a total tender capacity of 423 megawatts. The first regular competition procedures were conducted on 2 July 2018.
Pursuant to the commitments undertaken by the Greek state after the first memorandum of understanding between the Hellenic Republic, the member states of the European Union, the Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank was signed, the privatisation of energy companies in Greece has significantly progressed. The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund – the legal entity entrusted with implementing the privatisation programme of the Hellenic Republic – has undertaken a number of relevant projects.
The advantages of arbitral proceedings, including speed, may be compromised when an arbitral award is challenged. The recent changes to the Civil Procedure Code aimed at accelerating judicial proceedings have not yet shown considerable progress. In any case, the Greek courts are reluctant to set aside arbitral awards or refuse their enforcement, thus indicating that recourse to arbitration for local and international cases is a valuable instrument in alternative dispute resolution.
By a majority two-to-one vote, the Athens Court of Appeal has found that an insurer's refusal to provide health insurance to a homosexual and histrionic man did not amount to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation or infringe the plaintiff's personality rights. The dissenting opinion, which provided a detailed analysis of the non-discrimination principle, makes a statement about the universal principal of equality between individuals which, despite its age, appears to be more acute than ever.
Greece began reorganising its renewable energy system state aid scheme in 2016 by enacting Law 4414/2016. The minister of environment and energy has provided the legal framework for implementing the law and organising the competitive procedures to determine the reference prices for certain projects receiving operating aid. The first regular competitive procedures were initiated in April 2018, following the Regulatory Energy Agency's launch of three tenders. The tenders will be implemented in two phases.
Parliament recently passed a law regulating the procedure for the divestment of approximately 40% of Public Power Corporation's (PPC) lignite-fired production units and lignite exploitation rights. The aim of the law is to increase competition in the Greek electricity market. Currently, over 60% of the electricity produced in Greece is generated through the combustion of locally extracted lignite, while PPC accounts for 98% of all lignite production in the country.
The Greek energy sector is expected to expand over the next few years as a result of, among other things, the optimisation of the energy mix – which consists of a reduction in fossil fuel-generated electricity and an increase in energy from renewable energy sources (RES) – and the liberalisation of the electricity and natural gas markets. Greece is also expected to create energy investment opportunities due to the availability of RES potential in the country and ongoing substantial infrastructure projects.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that the provisions that require arbitrators' details to be included in the award also apply by analogy to tribunal secretaries. Following the judgment, arbitrators should always refer in detail to the particulars of the secretary employed in the arbitration (which is always a best practice) in order to avoid unnecessary complications that may lead to the setting aside of the award.
During 2017, a group of experts worked on the modelling and organisation of the Energy Exchange with the intention that it would be established and begin operating in the first half of 2018. As such, the Ministry of Energy and Environment recently presented, through a public consultation, the draft Energy Exchange Law, which would amend the Target Model Law and the Energy Law.
In 2016 Law 4389/2016 introduced the sale by auction of electricity forward products with physical delivery by the Greek vertically integrated Public Power Corporation (PPC) to eligible electricity suppliers. The purpose of these auctions is to reduce the PPC's retail market share in the interconnected system, enhance competition and provide better quality products and lower prices to consumers.
In international trade, a general reference is sufficient to validly incorporate an arbitration clause contained in another document under Article II(2) of the New York Convention, provided that the clause is common and known to those engaged in a particular trade. The Piraeus Single-Member First-Instance Court recently ruled on a dispute regarding the enforcement of an arbitral award in Greece under the New York Convention.
Two international tenders granting exploration and exploitation rights for the block areas of Southwest and West Crete, as well as the Ionian Sea, were recently published in the Official Gazette. This publication follows the expressions of interest by the consortium Total-ExxonMobil-Hellenic Petroleum for Southwest and West Crete and Energean Oil and Gas for the Ionian Sea. The expected announcement by the Official Journal of the European Union will also allow other interested stakeholders to submit offers.
Decision 51 of the Government Council for Economic Policy was recently published, approving the process for a new international tender for the acquisition of a 66% stake in the national natural gas transmission system operator. The new tender was launched by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund on June 26 2017 and will remain open to receive respective expressions of interest until August 7 2017.
Third-party funding is uncommon in Greece and, to date, there is no known or recorded precedent of an arbitration funded by a third party. Although Greece has no specific regulation for third-party funding, it does not prohibit third-party funding in arbitration either. As such, those intending to engage in third-party funding are strongly advised to address potential risks (especially issues of financial interests) in carefully drafted funding agreements and other matters in the arbitration agreement itself.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy recently launched a public consultation on the draft Law on Energy Communities. Given the large range of activities and numerous incentives that the draft law proposes for energy communities, these communities may become an important vehicle for developing business activities and increasing energy efficiency in local communities.