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The political will of the government to fully elucidate the tragic train accident in Tempe, but also to examine the delay in completing the remote control system, which could have prevented the tragedy, the government representative expressed Giannis Oikonomou speaking to SKAI and Yiannis Papadopoulos.

Mr. Economou also acknowledged responsibility in the government, the administrations, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and did not hesitate to criticize Kostas Karamanlis, stating that there was an overestimation by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of the strength of the security protocols. However, he added that the ministry tried to cover “the lost time of the previous period”.

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He even spoke of a sick internal mentality at the OSE, which brought a man in a position of responsibility who, in a critical shift, did not have the necessary experience, while he mentioned that the recruitment of 58 station chiefs by ASEP is pending.

“Creepy, unbelievable what we heard”

“It’s chilling, unbelievable what we heard. I am not an expert, but unfortunately a part of the cause of the tragic accident is highlighted in the most emphatic way” he also commented on the dialogues of the Larissa station master with the traffic regulator and his colleague in Neios Poros.

“The commission will help justice”

“Our basic obligation to the victims and their people is that there should be no cover-up, at any level, of this story. And officially, people are put on holiday, and justice continues its investigation. There is a committee of experts whose authority is not disputed by anyone, who will do the administrative and technical evaluation without putting any obstacle in the project. The judicial investigation is also ongoing, it is not replaced by the committee’s work, on the contrary, any evidence found by the committee will be used by the investigation.”

Regarding the letter to the Supreme Court prosecutor Isidoros Dogiako, the government representative said that Mr. Mitsotakis said the obvious, he called on the judiciary to run at a fast pace to examine the entire spectrum of the case. Nothing will be left in the dark, and for the responsibilities and for the infrastructure development process of a contract that should have ended since 2016 was committed.

“Open to a board of inquiry”

As the government representative reminded, the Prime Minister already proposed to the heads of political leaders in the next Parliament that a commission of inquiry be held to investigate these things in depth. We are open to any discussion.

“Wrong approach”

Asked about a report by former minister Kostas Karamanlis 15 days before the accident in which he criticized those who raised safety issues for the railways, he said “I think there is no room for second thoughts. Obviously, Mr. Karamanlis will also have revised his positions, and his resignation among the rest also means an acceptance of this misguided approach, the lack of information and knowledge that existed around what was valid in the OSE. “Did he have an information deficit? Mr. Karamanlis must answer these questions… Two issues emerge. Firstly, the technological progress in terms of the implementation of a project, which would possibly have prevented this tragedy even with human error and secondly, an issue of human resource management in the OSE. All symptoms of the deep state have no doubt reflection of responsibility in our own government, in the administrations, in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. We didn’t hide it. This share of responsibility is taken practically and essentially, and they have their roots back in a number of things. None of this will remain in the dark.”

Asked whether the resignation of Mr. Karamanlis from his position as minister and the assumption of political responsibility “sets the whole counter to zero”, he replied that tragedy does not zero or end in anything and for no one. He resigned assuming the responsibility, the eventual election in the next parliament it concerns the voters who will vote for him, commented Mr. Economou.

“The relatives will be compensated as they should be compensated,” he assured.

“The serious issue is why a contract that should have ended in 2016 is still not completed in 2023 despite being 70% completed. The answer concerns a network of actions for which we also have our own responsibilities (speed of decision-making, appeals, responsibilities of administrations that gave successive resignations, etc.) but at the end of this terrible year we managed to deal with a number of things in the state sectors and in the railway itself, unfortunately not in all and not to the extent we would like” .

“Pending recruitment of 58 station masters by ASEP”

He spoke about the recruitment of station masters by ASEP from 2022, or 2021, which have been approved by an act of the cabinet and have not yet taken office. There are 58 station masters whose placements are pending in the coming weeks. The government, Mr. Economou commented on the delay, made moves to strengthen the staff through institutional procedures that suffer, and must be addressed.

In order to deal with the issue of the delay in hiring, the OSE administration hired with blocks and asked to open up the mobility to register anyone who wants to be a station master, but of the eight people requested by the OSE only two came.

“Sick internal mentality in OSE”

It emerges, noted Mr. Economou, an issue of internal mentality within the organization, which brought to a position of responsibility a man who, at that time, in a critical shift, without corresponding experience. He spoke of a sick mentality, and assured that the responsibilities will be sought at all levels and that is why the administrations were also removed. “There won’t be the slightest cover-up. We will immediately do what is necessary to ensure as much as possible. We will proceed with interventions in 3 stages immediately, in the medium term – which is linked to the completion schedule of the project along the entire length of the line – and in the medium to long term.”

“Overestimating the Strength of Security Protocols”

Apparently, Mr. Economou acknowledged, there was an overestimation on the part of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of the strength of the security protocols, although technologically we were behind in this particular part. “This does not negate the efforts of the ministry’s political leadership to cover the lost time of the previous period,” he clarified. “The government faced a lot, it managed things, there were also things that should have been run at a faster pace.”


Yiannis Oikonomou also made it clear that the prime minister is not concerned with the date of the elections, as the priority of the entire state apparatus, the concern of everyone and the prime minister himself was the immediate management of the consequences of the tragic accident. The priorities are elsewhere, and not in the announcement or the shaking up of political issues, said Mr. Economou characteristically.