May 19. 2024. 12:29

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EU Commission to ‘closely’ monitor Greek railway reforms


The European Commission will closely monitor the implementation of Greek reforms related to the railways’ upgrade and safety in the aftermath of a deadly train crash that killed 57 people, Greek Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said.

Speaking to a group of journalists in Brussels, including EURACTIV, the Greek minister said all railway safety digital upgrade projects would be closely monitored by the European Commission and should be completed by the end of September 2023.

Asked by EURACTIV, who set this deadline, he replied it was the Greek government.

Gerapetritis also raised concerns about potential delays in the rapid implementation of the projects due to the upcoming elections, highly likely to be held in May, with a caretaker government to take over between the date of announcement and heading to the polls.

The upgrade of the signalling system on trains and remote control has been on the agenda of Greek reforms since 2000. However, due to numerous shortcomings and delays, the reforms were not carried out.

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Analysts estimate that if such new systems had been in place, the train crash could have been avoided.

Gerapetritis met on Tuesday with EU transport chief Adina Vălean as well as EU regional policy Commissioner Elisa Ferreira.

In addition, there will be cooperation with the European Commission on issues of personnel specialised in railways, as well as on the staffing of the air and railway accident investigation agency.

The latter does not exist either despite being mandatory according to a relevant EU directive.

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(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)