Gov’t to bring shipyards back into action

The government will try to restart the country’s shipyard industry in the new week by breathing new life into the two main units at Skaramangas and Elefsina in western Attica.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is scheduled to head an inner cabinet meeting in which Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis will deliver an account of his meeting with the European Union’s competition commissioner in Brussels last week.

Hatzidakis spoke with Commissioner Joaquin Almunia about restrictions that Brussels had imposed on the Skaramangas shipyard due to illegal state subsidies it received in the period from 1996 to 2002. Sources say that the Commission is now in favor of easing or even lifting those restrictions, following Athens’s initiatives to separate the shipyard’s infrastructures. That would facilitate the government’s talks with the shipyard regarding outstanding contracts for the construction of Hellenic Navy submarines.

The management of the Elefsina shipyard accuses the National Defense Ministry of having stopped payments for the last couple of years, while the ministry says the shipyard has delayed the contracted production of warships.