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GreeceRail experts' visit helped identify areas where Greek government is seeking support,...

Rail experts’ visit helped identify areas where Greek government is seeking support, EU Commission says

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The meetings of the European Commission’s delegation of experts in Athens regarding the deadly rail crash at Tempi have now been concluded, Commission spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz said on Thursday in response to questions. The visit was agreed in a telephone call between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the wake of the fatal accident.

“There have been numerous meetings with the authorities, as well as with various stakeholders in the rail area,” Jahnz said, referring specifically to a meeting held with the prime minister and with the Minister of State for infrastructure and transport issues, Giorgos Gerapetritis.

“For now, all they can say about this trip is that it allowed to identify and discuss the areas in which the Greek government is seeking the support of the Commission. We will now look into the conclusions of the trip as soon as we are able to discuss with our team and at that point we may be able to go into further detail,” he added.

Responding to a question about the protests in Greece and the fact that protestors also blamed the troika for the Tempi accident, the deputy chief spokesperson of the European Commission Dana Spinant said people had a right to demonstrate and noted the great sorrow in Greece linked to “this very, very tragic accident”.

On the economic issues, she turned over to Commission spokesperson Veerle Nuyts, who noted that under the economic adjustment programmes, Greece had committed to reform its transport sector and “basically, to align the organisation of the respective sub-sector with the relevant EU directives.”

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This reorganisation concerned decoupling the ownership, operation and also the maintenance of the railway network from the operation and the provision of the services, which were privatised, Nuyts explained, adding that this was in line with the relevant EU legislation in the area of rail transport that all member-states have to implement.

“So the privatisation and the accident are two completely different matters,” Nuyts said. She pointed out that the infrastructure owner and manager OSE is state-owned, and Hellenic Train uses this infrastructure. “The shortcomings of this infrastructure…and its management have been well identified problems that the Greek government has been intending to address, also in the context of the recovery and resilience plan,” she said.

SOURCE; ANA-MPA

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