April 14. 2024. 6:57

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Greek ministers mocked railway workers’ warning about train tragedy


Greek railway workers had warned the Greek government for years about the increased possibility of a train accident, but these warnings were denounced as “groundless” by ministers who even replied with irony, according to new videos published on social media.

The Greek New Democracy government (EPP) has been in turmoil since the train tragedy, which cost the lives of at least 57 people.

Press reports suggest that the conservative government unjustifiably delayed the implementation of an EU-funded project about upgrading the signalling system on Greek trains and remote control.

Analysts suggest that the train tragedy could have been avoided if such a system was in place.

Greek media published letters sent to Greek authorities by railway workers warning about a potential accident because of the trains’ poor infrastructure.

On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Greeks took to the streets to protest the “crime” as they described that took place.

But new videos published on social media add to the public anger, as they show ministers dismissing the railway workers’ warnings.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned, but a few days before the deadly train crash, he insisted railways were safe.

“It’s a shame that you’re raising safety issues, and I’d like you to retract immediately […] we ensure safety”, Karamanlis replied to a question submitted by the opposition.

Adonis Georgiadis, minister for development and investment, tried to justify his colleague’s statements during a TV programme debate but made things worse.

“You are the minister of transport. Can you go to the parliament and say, ‘yes, the trains have a safety problem?’ If you say that, no one will get on the trains tomorrow,” he said, triggering the reaction of all opposition parties.

Despite the minister’s resignation, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis decided to allow Karamanlis to run in the upcoming elections, most likely to take place in May.

Mitsotakis’ decision triggered strong reactions in his party, with many conservative politicians pressured Karamanlis to pull out his candidacy.

Even pro-government media reported that by allowing Karamanlis to run the government “takes a huge political risk”.

“I won’t let you do micropolitics, […] In the last three years, with rapid steps and despite the delays, we are trying to create what our country is entitled to in the railway. We plan and implement”, Papadopoulos was assuring the Greek parliament.

The Greek government has so far been leading all polls ahead of the next elections, but the train tragedy is expected to have a severe political impacty

Opposition media report that the non-published first surveys after the train tragedy has caused Mitsotakis headaches.

Train tragedy blows off election plans for Greek conservative government

The train tragedy that cost the lives of at least 57 people – mainly youngsters and students – will likely change the Greek ruling New Democracy party’s plans for the next elections scheduled for 9 April.
Meanwhile, young people protested in …

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)