Finance Ministry says TAIPED chiefs to stay on another week

The Finance Ministry has clarified that Alternate Minister Nadia Valavani asked the executives of state privatization fund TAIPED to stay on for just one more week, describing reports that the resignations of the fund’s chairman and chief executive office were revoked as “a strange version of events,” while another minister voiced opposition to certain key sell-off plans.

According to the ministry’s clarification, the retainment of the top TAIPED officials at their posts until next week will be necessary as that time will be “sufficient for them to deal with pending issues that mostly concern deadlines for binding offer submissions for current tenders.”

Meanwhile, Alternate Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Christos Spirtzis said during a radio interview that he disagrees with the process for the concession of 14 regional airports and the old Athens Airport plot at Elliniko, in the south of the city.

He stated that as Greek state property at a privileged site, Elliniko has many advantages and “should be utilized, but differently to the way promoted by the previous government.” He argued that the project as it stands, “with a bidder aiming to create a city within the city,” has nothing to offer the country.

Spirtzis also spoke about the development of regional airports, recommending their modernization but only through public-private partnerships: “There are local communities which have not been asked whether they would like a joint project involving the participation of local and regional authorities and private investors, a partnership between the public and the private sectors with the state playing the leading role to safeguard a few key elements… When you try to create monopolies or oligopolies in this and other sectors, you have a problem as a country,” said Spirtzis.

He referred in particular to Athens International Airport, stating that it is one of the most modern airports on the continent with great potential for growth and that it should be state-owned. “If you go around European airports and see who they belong to, what do you see? Is [the airport in] Paris private? Is [that in] Berlin private?” he asked.