Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis chose to put the blame on the investor for delays to the start of the Elliniko plot development project, although the state has neither delivered the space of the old Athens airport nor fulfilled its contractual obligations since November 14, 2016, while continuing to discuss the presidential decree needed.
In response to a question in Parliament yesterday, Spirtzis chose to ignore the archaeological and environmental concerns raised against the project since August 2016, and the government’s inactivity for resolving them. Instead he accused the Lamda Development-led consortium of delaying to submit the integrated development plan.
“The investor submitted the plan with a seven-month delay, in summer 2017. Had the ministry been so late, imagine the criticism it would get,” said the minister.
Word in the market is that putting the blame on the investors “is becoming the government’s favorite tactic, and particularly the transport minister’s.”
Market sources also point to statements made by Spirtzis this fall, when the ministry was under pressure to avoid the start of works at the Makedonia airport in Thessaloniki to prevent problems in air transport. The minister accused contractor Fraport Greece of not implementing the investments it was supposed to make. However, it was later proved that the airport master plans had been submitted on time and were awaiting the state’s approval.
In Elliniko’s case, Lamda Development has publicly clarified that “the investors’ zoning plan was submitted to [state sell-off fund] TAIPED and approved, as the tender was completed with the signing of the contract in November 2014.” However, Lambda adds, after the signing of the contract, the state asked for amendments on certain points, which also touched on zoning issues. “Therefore, after the amended contract was signed in July 2016, a partial redrafting was required. Eventually the integrated development plan was submitted to TAIPED for inspection in December 2016 and re-approved in February 2017.”
The investor added that “the final submission was not possible without the prior settlement of administrative issues pending at the time,” which refers to the archaeological and forestry obstacles, delays in the casino permit, etc.