“With immense respect for the pain of the families who lost their people in Tempi” the Minister of Digital Governance, Dimitris Papastergiou, announced from the Plenary of the Parliament that the government will not let anything be forgotten, and will not let the slightest thing be covered up.

With this promise to Ms. Lata, a relative of the victim of the railway tragedy, whom he met in Larissa, Mr. Papastergiou said that in the name of these children who were lost, we must run faster, to shield Justice and our Democracy, to promote the dignity of people, who serve in critical infrastructures and to limit partisanship, “which has no business interfering in these fields”, to work even harder to convince the Greek men and women that… they do not live by luck in this country but are lucky because they live in Greece. He added that the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the only one that can guarantee a path to the future with knowledge, security, without setbacks and setbacks like those we experienced in the past, therefore this motion of no confidence against the government should have no luck.

Mr. Papastergiou said that he sees this proposal as an opportunity to open the dialogue about Democracy and its quality, about the tragic accident in Tempe and the responsibilities that exist, but also about how our state has been structured over the years , explaining that what happened in Tempe has nothing to do with the moment.

“The 57 – mostly – young people who perished that night were not just unlucky. Young people with dreams for life, which neither they nor their relatives will get to see come true. And besides them, hundreds of others who survived and will forever carry with them that night, with visible and invisible wounds. However, the country itself also comes out wounded from the accident in Tempe,” emphasized Mr. Papastergiou.

In a personal confession, Mr. Papastergiou said that returning to the morning of March 1, 2023, he wrote – as the then Mayor of Trikkaia – that “he feels defeated both as an engineer and as a public servant, because we have not yet managed to build infrastructure in the country » that will ensure that our transports will be safe. “Infrastructures that would ensure that the Plakias family from my mother-in-law’s village, Kastraki, would put their children on the train, and they would arrive in Thessaloniki. Infrastructures that would bring back safely all the children of the 1st Lyceum of Farkadonas , again to my places, which in 2004 started for an excursion and 7 of them never came back, due to the tragic accident at the Maliakou horseshoe” he said characteristically.

“And yet, instead of all bowing our heads and trying harder, we engage in an extreme impression game as to who may be more or less to blame, and even worse, we go underground, at a very sensitive time, to torpedo the same our Democracy even with suspicions about the result of the elections”, emphasized Mr. Papastergiou, criticizing the practice of the Opposition during the three-day discussion process of the motion of no confidence.

“We hope that third parties will come, from abroad, to overthrow the government, since the people did not prefer us. We are going to connect unrelated things, such as the reprehensible leak of emigrants’ information, with the postal vote and the sovereign right of the citizen to vote” , he said, accusing the parties that signed this proposal of watering society with toxicity, however “the flower that it will produce, we will not like at all”, he added.

He also accused the opposition of wanting to “hit” its political opponents, however in this way it is actually hitting our political system itself, “giving space and making gains to extreme voices and opinions”.

“Let’s not wonder about the phenomena of violence that we see springing up every day around us, the extreme behaviors, the aversion of young people from society, their flight abroad. The same system of toxicity feeds all of the above”, assessed Mr. Papastergiou and he referred to his 17-year tenure in the Local Government to say that we are an image of society and she, ours.

“What we give her, we get. If we give toxicity, we will get toxicity, if we give violence, we will get violence, if we give interest and effort, we will get it back many times over” he pointed out and explained that if “we achieved a small miracle in the Municipality that I served in the last decade, we did not do it alone, but also thanks to a serious opposition, but also a society that was completely free of toxic situations”.

Because – as he pointed out – this whole scene that is being created today does not help at all in what society is asking for: that is to shed light on the causes of the accident in Tempe, to find out what happened on that fateful night and all these tens of years and not we have managed to build serious railway infrastructure, which the Justice must tell us.

“But as long as we, ourselves, create guilt and indictments before Justice speaks, we only add one more problem to what it already has. Unless we DO NOT trust justice and do not think it can do its job independently, then we are led to other situations, possibly without turning around. But as long as we get caught up in events or speculations that clearly do not change the course of judicial investigations, such as what was published in some media in connection with the dialogues of the fateful night and reduce it not just to a front page, but to a cause even for a no-confidence motion against a democratically elected government of months, then I’m afraid we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot,” remarked the Minister of Digital Governance.

Referring to the reasons why the government would never “edit” the dialogues of that night to document the human error, he said that they have to do primarily with the fact that the station master himself has already admitted it. “I mean, what else was there in the dialogues and the Government wanted to edit them? Did the minister take it and say to leave the train? Obviously not”, he underlined and clarified that it was obviously not only human error, but many that contributed to it, such as the chronic pathologies of the country all these years, that we did not complete transport infrastructures, when we should, as we should, that we maintained a client state, of people unable to bear the burden of the positions of responsibility they had.

“And let’s remember this for all of us who tomorrow will be asked to answer phone calls and messages of the style: Come, let’s help him, he is a good boy” said Mr. Papastergiou in a smooth tone and added that for this reason this government made brave reforms, such as the new way of appointing the administrators of hospitals, while starting procedures for the administrations of public bodies, in the place of those temporarily appointed.


Referring to the government’s work in the field of infrastructure, Mr. Papastergiou said that for the past 10 years, every week he has been coming and going to his special hometown of Trikala, and it may now be that the E65 has made the journey safe and faster, they do not leave his mind but images of him 6-7 years ago when he was tiredly going down the bends of Domokos with fog and trucks in front to add that the government believed in this project and not only in a few days the southern part is also opened, but it is progressing at a very fast pace and the connection project with Egnatia. At the same time, Patras-Pyrgos, Bralos-‘Amfissa are finally moving forward and we also have a temporary contractor for BOAK.

“So this is what we need to talk about. About how we will build safe infrastructures, about how young people with knowledge, responsibility and objective qualifications will work in these infrastructures. Also, all this talk about the 717 contract does not help at all. And I say this from knowledge and as an electrical engineer. Because the 717 funded a signaling and remote control system. But signaling is seen by people. And unfortunately that night everything went wrong as the General Traffic Regulation was not followed. Although the approach is simplistic , it’s like driving through an intersection where the traffic lights are broken and you don’t stop at the stop that’s there anyway. Because the General Traffic Regulation is the KOK of trains. But when a vehicle carries so many souls, the issue is that the mistake cannot be made, that there are these systems that even if the station master or the train driver does not pay attention, they suffer something, so that the fatality does not happen. And these systems are ETCS, the system that perceives the trajectories of the trains and if necessary, stops them automatically, and GSM-R for communications, systems that are the subject of other contracts that ran or are running and had nothing to do with the 717 contract, its economic object or the manner and time of its execution.” he also said.

In order to prevent reactions that “no one is ultimately to blame”, Mr. Papastergiou said that he is obviously to blame, but this is something that we should leave it to the Justice.