ECONOMY

Talks with MIG to start next week

Next Tuesday will see the commencement of negotiations between the government and Marfin Investment Group (MIG) regarding the possible sale of Olympic Airlines after the failure of the tender. «Discussions between the government consultants and MIG will begin on Tuesday, as MIG was the first company to express an interest in Olympic’s acquisition after the open invitation of the government,» Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, who is responsible for the privatization of Greece’s national airline, said yesterday. The invitation is open to any other party who might be interested in acquiring the troubled carrier, added Hatzidakis. «It goes without saying that the formalization of any such agreement on privatizing Olympic can only take place after the approval of the European Commission,» he stated. So far no other company or investor has expressed interest in Olympic following the collapse of the tender process, but the government will be open to more offers. In a statement issued on Thursday, MIG had announced that it decided to respond to the government’s invitation and was ready to proceed to direct negotiations «so that Olympic can continue to operate within the framework of Greek entrepreneurship.» Talks should end after about a fortnight. The European Commission will not comment at this stage on developments at Olympic, Fabio Pirotta said yesterday. Pirotta is spokesman for European Commissioner for Transport Antonio Tajani. Asked about Brussels’s view of the latest news on the Greek carrier, Pirotta replied that since the procedure for the firm’s privatization is currently under way, the Commission would not like to comment just now. He added that the Commission has since last September announced its decision on Olympic, according to which the whole issue is being followed by the independent monitoring official. «As a result the Commission does not wish to make any comments,» Pirotta said yesterday.