In­vest­ments in jeop­ardy

Af­ter min­ing firm freezes op­er­a­tions, de­vel­oper of air­port site cites gov’t ob­sta­cles

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A day af­ter Cana­dian min­ing com­pany El­do­rado Gold sus­pended its ac­tiv­i­ties at Sk­ouries in north­ern Greece, Lamda De­vel­op­ment, which is lead­ing a con­sor­tium of in­vestors that aims to turn the site of the cap­i­tal’s for­mer air­port into a lux­ury real es­tate plot, warned that the fu­ture of the Elliniko project is in doubt due to a se­ries of ob­sta­cles thrown up by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Lamda re­ferred to the 16 con­di­tions set out by Cul­ture Min­is­ter Ly­dia Ko­nior­dou which ef­fec­tively an­nul an agree­ment be­tween the con­sor­tium and the gov­ern­ment that was ap­proved by Par­lia­ment. “As ex­pected, all the above­men­tioned re­ver­sals and in­con­sis­ten­cies and the con­stant cre­ation of new ob­sta­cles over­turn the nec­es­sary trust be­tween the par­ties,” Lamda said. “Si­mul­tane- ously, they raise con­cerns re­gard­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of the ma­te­ri­al­iza­tion of the de­vel­op­ment,” it said, adding, “Be­sides the fact that there are no new find­ings, the Min­istry of Cul­ture de­clared a new ar­chae­o­log­i­cal area.” The new de­vel­op­ment means that “the com­pany faces an un­ex­pected change in the con­trac­tu­ally agreed terms, which ad­versely af­fects the In­te­grated De­vel­op­ment Plan,” the state­ment said, adding that bu­reau­cracy and ad­min­is­tra­tive ob­sta­cles were set to in­crease.

Gov­ern­ment sources, how­ever, in­sisted that the ad­min­is­tra­tion would honor all its com­mit­ments and in­di­cated that many of the is­sues broached by Lamda in its state­ment would be dealt with with a pres­i­den­tial de­cree to be sent to the Coun­cil of State for ap­proval. “We call on the in­vestor to co­op­er­ate in good faith, which, as has been proven, is the only way to solve all prob­lems,” one gov­ern­ment source said.

The up­heaval with the Elliniko project, which was signed three years ago, came a day af­ter an­other ma­jor in­vestor in Greece took is­sue with gov­ern­ment ob­sta­cles to its op­er­a­tions.

El­do­rado Gold said on Thurs­day that it was freez­ing in­vest­ment at the Sk­ouries gold mine in north­ern Greece and had ap­pealed to the Coun­cil of State to up­hold its le­gal rights. The de­vel­op­ment raises ques­tions about the prospects for hun­dreds of work­ers.

Re­act­ing yes­ter­day, the main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy ac­cused SYRIZA, which leads the rul­ing coali­tion, of be­ing “al­ler­gic to in­vest­ments.”

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