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Greek PM Mitsotakis: ‘Not Hiding Behind Human Errors’ in Train Disaster

Mitsotakis train disaster
Greek PM Mitsotakis speaks to his cabinet on Thursday. Credit: AMNA

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis has apologised again for the recent train disaster in Greece.

Addressing a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mitsotakis repeated his public apology in the name of all those who have governed the country in recent years, but especially for himself, personally.

“We take responsibility and we cannot, should not and do not want to hide behind a series of human errors,” he said.

The fact that the rail remote signaling system would be operational within a few months made his own pain even greater, Mitsotakis added, because he had not had time to install it before tragedy struck.

Mitsotakis: We are all to blame for train disaster

“The last thing I’m interested in right now is getting into a sterile argument over who is to blame. I reply: We are all to blame. And let’s confess this with courage.

“From governments and administrations that for years stalled a critical project to certain trade unions that prevented any evaluation of our railway staff,” the prime minister underlined, pointing out that the apportioning of blame will be done by Justice swiftly and to the highest possible degree.

“But the tragedy happened with us at the helm of the country,” he noted and he guaranteed absolute transparency in the investigation to identify the errors and judge those involved fairly.

He also pledged to take immediate measures to improve the problematic safety of the railways at the level of new technologies and human resources management.

He explained that listening to the dialogues from the night of the accident, he felt “anger and shame, but I have an obligation to turn these feelings into creative action.”

Presenting the context of the interventions, he spoke of giving priority to supporting the relatives of the victims, financially and psychologically, and to the relevant announcements that will be made immediately.

He also spoke about the new operating and safety framework that is being prepared so that trains can start running again with the maximum possible safety, including two station masters at each station at all times, even if it is necessary to cut back transport services.

Mitsotakis also vowed to create a stricter legal framework for vandalism and theft targeting the railway network, and the immediate recruitment of rail staff.

Opposition slams Mitsotakis

“Mr. Mitsotakis needs to realize that he was not made prime minister two days ago but has been governing for the last four years and that he leads a party that has governed for almost half the years since [1974],” SYRIZA spokesperson Popi Tsapanidou said.

She added, “The prime minister should be aware that many of the safety measures that had helped the railways run smoothly for so many years, and which could have prevented the deadly Tempi accident, had been stripped away and allowed to fall into decay during his four years in power.

“Chiefly, however, he should realise that he came into power with the promise of an efficient state and excellence and has instead governed with political patronage and a lack of meritocracy everywhere,” the spokesperson noted.


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