By Brian Kesten
Back in 2010, Greece agreed to privatize about $56 billion in state owned assets as a component of the international bailout accord at the time. Five years later, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appears to have given the greenlight to Greece’s Hellenic Asset Development Fund (“Taiped”) to continue the privatization program, which so far has only yielded about $600 million in cash proceeds towards Greece’s public debt.
Despite opposition from Mr. Tsipras’s own Syriza party, Greece stands to sell 51% stakes in airports, utilities, and other industries. Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister who resigned during bailout negotiations, argued “[I]t’s not very clever to sell off the family jewels in the middle of deflationary crisis . . . It is wiser to develop state property and increase its value using smart financial resources to strengthen our economy.”