Gov’t plays down de­lay of cap­i­tal re­vamp projects

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

In­fras­truc­tureMin­is­ter Michalis Chryso­choidis yes­ter­day played down calls by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion for two EU-sub­si­dized re­gen­er­a­tion projects for the broader Athens area to be post­poned, not­ing that the EC had sim­ply ex­pressed “reser­va­tions” and that the works would go ahead.

“The com­mis­sion has not re­jected any­thing,” Chryso­choidis said, re­spond­ing to re­ports over the week­end ac­cord­ing to which the EC does not see the pedestrianization of Panepis­timiou Street in cen­tral Athens and the re­vamp­ing of the Faliro coast­line south of the cap­i­tal as suit­able for EU fund­ing at this point. Some 440 mil­lion euros in EU fund­ing had been ear­marked for the projects as part of a 5-bil­lion-euro pack­age of sub­si­dized pub­lic works. Fol­low­ing the EC’s ob­jec­tions, the gov­ern­ment was obliged to sign off on the pack­age mi­nus the two pro­grams, Chryso­choidis ad­mit­ted. But he said stud­ies linked to the projects would pro­ceed and her­alded a ten­der for the con­struc­tion of anti-flood works in Faliro as a sign of the gov­ern­ment’s con­fi­dence in the project’s com­ple­tion.

In the mean­time, of­fi­cials are to send Brussels ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion re­quested re­gard­ing the two projects.

Oth­ers were less up­beat about yes­ter­day’s de­vel­op­ments, no­tably the Onas­sis Foun­da­tion and the Stavros Niar­chos Foun­da­tion, which have com­mit­ted fund­ing to the Panepis­timiou Street and Faliro projects re­spec­tively. Athens Mayor Gior­gos Kami­nis also ex­pressed con­cern.

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