Talk of Qatari exit from Elliniko

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

The gov­ern­ment re­futed a news­pa­per re­port yes­ter­day that a deal with Qatar for the de­vel­op­ment of the old air­port at Elliniko in south­ern Athens had fallen through, sug­gest­ing that the pro­ject re­mains on track.

Ac­cord­ing to the Eleft­herotypia daily, the Arab emi­rate with­drew its in­ter­est in the mul­ti­mil­lion-euro pro­ject af­ter the Euro­pean Union be­came in­volved due to be­hind-thescenes pres­sure from Ger­many in or­der to pre­vent Athens from pro- ceed­ing to the pro­ject’s di­rect con­ces­sion.

The news­pa­per re­ferred to a “fi­asco” that re­port­edly an­gered Qatari of­fi­cials, who are said to have ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of han­dling the is­sue in an ama­teur man­ner.

The re­port sug­gested that the in­volve­ment of ar­chi­tect Josep Ace­billo, a per­sonal friend of Greek Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou, also played a role in the EU’s in­ter­ven­tion, as the Spa­niard had also un­der­taken the study for the pro­ject with­out a ten­der.

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Gior­gos Pe­talo­tis cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied that Qatar had with­drawn its pro­posal, upon which an agree­ment was reached last year. He sug­gested the re­port was “un­founded and with­out a trace of truth” and added that “the plan for the de­vel­op­ment of Elliniko has not been aban­doned.”

State Min­is­ter Haris Paboukis stated that Qatar as­sured him 15 days ago that its in­ter­est in Elliniko re­mains strong.

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