Austerity Continues: Privatization of Greece’s Rail Underway

Greek government made the announcement on Monday as it fulfills the troika-imposed bailout conditions.

Metro Acropolis Station

Metro Acropolis Station

The privatization of Greece’s rail system is set to begin in June, the Greek government announced on Monday, as it continues to mete out the austerity including privatizations the troika imposed as a requisite for receiving bailout funds.

Writing “Greece on the Auction Block,” the International Business Times explains that the Hellenic Railways Organization, referred to by its Greek acronym OSE,

owns and maintains the country’s rail infrastructure except for the Athens rapid transit lines. It consists of about 500 freight and passenger routes on 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) of railways. […]

Greece initially unveiled plans in 2011 to privatize €15 billion ($19.3 billion) worth of state-owned assets by the end of this year and €50 billion by 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal. […]

The country lowered its privatization goal to €19 billion by 2015, and then lowered it again in December to €11 billion by 2016. Last year it raised only €1.7 billion in the sale of state-owned assets.

Agence France-Presse adds that the Greece must raise 2.6 billion euros through asset sales this year.

“The privatization of Trainose is now on track,” Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said in a statement.

“The procedure will begin in June…and in a short space of time we will have a very different landscape in Greek railways,” Hatzidakis added.

The austerity measures have been widely denounced by Greeks, prompting national strikes and protests.

— – Andrea Germanos, staff writer Common Dreams

Originally published by Common Dreams.

I have not used the Greek railways, but on a recent trip to Athens, I did use their Metro, and it was impressive.

It is not a question public money good or bad, it is what it is spent on, is it well spent, not creamed off.

Assuming it was public money that went into the Metro (I was told it was), then it was money well spent.

In the street, outside the Temple of Zeus on a main thoroughfare, I saw frequent buses, trams, bendy-buses and trolley buses.

I used the Metro a couple of times within Athens, two stops, for a little over a euro. This was a minimum fare and I could have gone further than two stops.

To the airport it was 8 euros. For comparison, a bus from the airport was five euros.

What we are seeing is the usual IMF imposed fire sale of national assets at knock down prices.

Germans are complaining: Why are we helping these lazy people and they are not even grateful.

You are not helping Greek people (or Cyprus people). German banks lent money. In doing so they took a risk. They are now expecting you the German people to bail them out.

Greeks should say no to the fire sale of their railways. Interesting it was shoved through whilst eyes are on Cyprus.

Greece and Cyprus should leave the euro. It has been a disaster for both countries.

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One Response to “Austerity Continues: Privatization of Greece’s Rail Underway”

  1. keithpp Says:

    Laiki: The bank that brought down Cyprus

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