European Experts Will Travel to Greece This Week for Assistance After a Deadly Train Accident
The European Commission and the European Railway Agency (ERA) are sending experts to Greece this week to assist with the deadly train accident. President Ursula von der Leyen announced this.
Von der Leyen called Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about “further technical support that the European Union can offer Greece to modernize its railways and improve their safety,” the Commission president tweeted.
Mitsotakis had written to the Supreme Court attorney on Monday asking for an assessment of the possible criminal nature of “systemic errors” in the rail sector, including the failure to improve infrastructure technology. “The shortcomings of the network are profound, and no government has been able to fix them, including ours,” government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou admitted at a press briefing.
At least 57 people were killed in the accident last week. A passenger train from Athens to Thessaloniki collided near Larissa with a freight train coming from the opposite direction. The Larissa station master was charged on Sunday after admitting he had set the track switches incorrectly. Still, public outrage over the most significant accident in Greek railway history also targets authorities.
On Sunday, 12,000 people took to the streets in Athens to express their anger and train, and station staff went on strike for the fifth day on Monday in protest against the dilapidated state of the rail network. According to the unions, safety standards have declined recently, and the rail network urgently needs upgrades and investments.
The anger also focuses on the railway company Hellenic Train, created in 2017 from the partial privatization of the public group OSE and fell into Italian hands. This operation was carried out in the context of the austerity and reform plans drawn up by international creditors in exchange for assistance during the financial crisis in Greece.