Greek PM dodges apology for government blizzard fiasco – EURACTIV.com

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After days of absence from the public, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized on Wednesday (January 26th) for mishandling a snowstorm that paralyzed the country this week and left citizens stuck in cars for more than twenty hours.

However, he blamed the company that runs the Attiki Odos highway around the Athens metropolitan area, where thousands of car passengers were stranded during a blizzard on Monday.

“I want to start by offering my personal and sincere apologies to our fellow citizens who suffered for many hours at Attiki Odos,” Mitsotakis said at a government meeting.

Attiki Odos, considered a flagship infrastructure project, is a private toll highway system that connects the Attica region, of which Athens is the capital. The company that manages it is called Attiki Odos SA.

The crisis led to the military stepping in to deliver aid and food to people stranded overnight in freezing conditions.

Attiki Odos SA has undertaken to provide compensation of €2,000 to each person concerned. However, EURACTIV Greece has been informed that this money will be provided by the insurance companies and not directly by the company.

“We feel that the €2,000 compensation is going to create a bigger problem for the insurance companies that cover civil liability than for the company that manages Attiki Odos,” said Athanasios Papandropoulos, political analyst and journalist, at EURACTIV Greece.

Many citizens announced that they would not accept the money and would seek higher compensation in court.

To excuse its lack of preparation, the government said earlier this week that the snowstorm had arrived earlier than expected.

Meteorologists, however, immediately said they had warned of extreme weather with “high accuracy” and in a timely manner.

Meteorologists Slam Greek Government Over Snowstorm Disaster

Meteorologists said they had alerted with “great precision” to a snowstorm that has paralyzed the country for three days. Earlier, to justify its unpreparedness, the government had said that the snowstorm had arrived earlier than expected.
“As a scientist, I feel like I…

Electricity cut, schools closed

Under pressure from the government, the CEO of Attiki Odos SA resigned on Tuesday, but the representatives of the state entities responsible for the crisis did not and Attiki Odos is not the only part of Athens to have suffered .

Even on the central roads of the capital, hundreds of drivers remained stranded for hours without information or assistance. Two days later, many neighborhoods in Athens are facing power cuts, hundreds of cars remain stuck on highways and more than 500 people are stuck in trains.

As the crisis continues, the private and public sectors as well as schools will remain closed on Wednesday.

Greek media, including those close to the government, have been highly critical of the way the snow mayhem has been handled.

Meanwhile, local authorities and the government have started their own blame game, with the opposition claiming that the blame lies exclusively with the Mitsotakis government. The main opposition party, the left-wing Syriza party, also criticized the fact that the Greek prime minister had “disappeared” for days.

The Prime Minister covers the former European commissioner

On Tuesday, many government officials tried to blame the climate crisis and civil protection minister, former EU commissioner Christos Stylianidis.

Stylianidis is an unelected minister and was handpicked by Mitsotakis after the fires last summer.

In his speech today, Mitsotakis supported Stylianides.

“There have been failures and shortcomings that need to be corrected. And for all these reasons, we have created the new Ministry of Climate Crisis. I will continue to support this choice, further strengthening its structures and capabilities,” Mitsotakis said.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic/ Alice Taylor]

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