Greek government faces vote of no confidence after new evidence revealed regarding train accident – Euractiv

Greek government faces vote of no confidence after new evidence revealed regarding train accident – Euractiv

Greece’s centre-right government on Tuesday faces a vote of no confidence brought by opposition parties following a newspaper report that suggested conversations between train workers on the night of the accident that killed 57 people were distorted.

The initiative of the vote of no confidence was taken by the opposition Socialist Party of Greece (PASOK), and other opposition parties supported it.

The leader of the main opposition Syriza party (left of the European Union), Stefanos Kasellakis, took it a step further, calling on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign and call early elections in the presence of “international observers.”

Although the government has a strong majority and is likely to survive the vote, analysts estimate that the three-day debate that will follow will put many government officials to the test, as they will have to provide answers about the incident.

A year ago, an intercity passenger train traveling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki at high speed collided with a goods train outside the central Greek city of Larissa, killing 57 people, most of them young students.

Since then, progress in the investigation has been slow, with opposition parties and relatives of the victims indicating that the government is trying to cover up the matter.

Meanwhile, relatives of the victims have collected more than 1.3 million signatures on a petition to the European Parliament, which was recently submitted.

The petition calls on the European Union to intervene and investigate the incident and hold politicians – who are protected by immunity – accountable for criminal acts.

European lawmakers from all political groups in the European Parliament supported the petition and suggested that EU institutions closely follow the progress of the investigation.

The government insists that there is no criminal responsibility, but only political responsibility, on the ministers, claiming that those involved had resigned at the time.

but That’s what The magazine revealed new evidence of the incident that caused a political earthquake in Athens over the weekend.

Notably, the press report indicated that conversations between train workers on the night of the accident – which was published immediately after the accident – were “distorted” to strengthen the “human error” argument.

The government has refuted the report as “fake news”, but has so far failed to provide specific answers about access to audio files of train workers’ conversations.

Some government officials also attacked the AlterEgoMedia group – to which the magazine belongs – in reference to “organised economic interests”, which led to an angry response from the media group.

The group said in a statement: “AlterEgoMedia’s media will continue with perseverance, patience and professionalism to work in a purely ethical context, against government practices that have led the country to rank 107th in the world in terms of press freedom.” statement.

AlterEgoMedia was the only media group to refuse to accept government funds provided by the government during the pandemic.

The EU prosecutor is also under fire

Many analysts said the accident could have been avoided if a 2014 contract to rebuild and modernize the signaling and remote control system of the Athens-Thessaloniki-Promachona railway had been implemented.

The so-called “717 Contract” has come under scrutiny by EU Prosecutor Laura Kovesi, who recently said Greek authorities were creating obstacles to their investigations.

Read more: EU prosecutor says Greece is obstructing investigation into fatal train accident.

“We are deprived of knowing the truth and applying justice. “Because if you are prevented from conducting investigations, you will not be able to find out the truth,” Kovesi said.

Her statements sparked a reaction from Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis, who described her intervention as “unacceptable” and exceeding the limits of her institutional role.

“If there is action, even to question her position, we should do it,” he said.

Contacted by Euractiv, the European Union Prosecutor’s Office did not provide any comment.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | Euractiv.com)

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