In his opening statement at the start of the cabinet meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis repeated his public apology in the name of all those who have governed the country in recent years, but especially for himself, personally.
“We take responsibility and we cannot, should not and do not want to hide behind a series of human errors,” he said. The fact that the rail telemanagement system would be operational within a few months made his own pain even greater, Mitsotakis added, because he had not had time to install it before tragedy struck.
“The last thing I’m interested in right now is getting into a sterile argument over who is to blame. I reply: We are all to blame. And let’s confess this with courage. From governments and administrations that for years stalled a critical project to certain trade unions that prevented any evaluation of our railway staff,” the prime minister underlined, pointing out that the apportioning of blame will be done by Justice swiftly and to the highest possible degree.
“But the tragedy happened with us at the helm of the country,” he noted and he guaranteed absolute transparency in the investigation to identify the errors and judge those involved fairly. He also pledged to take immediate measures to improve the problematic safety of the railways at the level of new technologies and human resources management.
He explained that listening to the dialogues from the night of the accident, he felt “anger and shame, but I have an obligation to turn these feelings into creative action.”
Presenting the context of the interventions, he spoke of giving priority to supporting the relatives of the victims, financially and psychologically, and to the relevant announcements that will be made immediately and with the necessary discretion, and to the new operating and safety framework that is being prepared so that trains can start running again with the maximum possible safety (two stationmasters at each station at all times, even if it is necessary to cut back transport services) but also the stricter legal framework for vandalism and theft targeting the railway network and the immediate start of recruitments. Lastly he referred to the rail telemanagement system, saying that he will move heaven and earth to ensure this is completed as soon as possible.