BUSINESS

Investments facing problems at Halkidiki, Elliniko, airports

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU, ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations, Economy

Investors continue to have a tough time in Greece, but the next few days will be crucial for two of the country’s biggest projects: the gold mines in Halkidiki, northern Greece, and the development of the old Athens airport plot at Elliniko. Thessaloniki airport has also felt some turbulence.

The rift between the government and Eldorado Gold regarding the operation of the gold mines is deepening, as the government insists on resisting arbitration and on using accusatory rhetoric, and the Canadian company stays put on its decision to suspend operations on September 22 unless the necessary permits are issued by the day before.

Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis on Tuesday set two terms for the project to go ahead: adherence to environmental rules and a vertical form of production, with the operation of a metal-working factory in Greece, the latter being the main bone of contention between the two sides.

Wednesday and Thursday are crucial days for Elliniko, as forestry and archaeological authorities will respectively decide whether they will raise obstacles to the realization of the 8-billion-euro investment for the plot’s development.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis has turned down a request by Fraport Greece, as well as various local authorities and hotel representatives in Thessaloniki, to halt plans for what is regarded as unnecessary extension work on the runway of the city’s Makedonia airport.

Spirtzis said late on Monday that Fraport “ought to realize it is an airport management company and not a firm that will tell a country which projects it should implement or not.” He added that the consortium has not made the investments it had to so far, prompting an angry response by Fraport on Tuesday.

The German-Greek consortium said that the investments promised are on track and will be ready well ahead of their deadline, “provided the ministry approves all 14 master plans Fraport Greece has submitted.” It also said it has already implemented 5,433 interventions to the 14 airports it received in April.

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