NEWS

Siemens wrangle holds up new metro stations

Seven metro stations, which were due to open to the public this summer, may not be available to commuters until some time in 2012 because of the ongoing legal wrangle between the government and Siemens, Kathimerini has learned.

Three new stations on Line 1 of the metro system — Peristeri, Anthoupoli and Haidari — and four on Line 2 — Ilioupoli, Alimos, Argyroupoli and Elliniko — were due to be open by June, but Christos Tsitouras, the CEO of Attiko Metro, the company responsible for constructing the network, and Sarantis Michalopoulos, the head of AMEL, the company that operates the metro, told Kathimerini that there is no way that they can meet this schedule.

The executives said that since 2008, no minister has agreed to renew the contract with Siemens for the metro?s signaling system. As a result, while the tunnels, stations and trains will be ready this summer, there will be a lack of signaling equipment.

?Essentially, the metro is hostage to the situation with Siemens and that is why the government has to protect the public interest and find a solution with the company,? said Tsitouras.

Michalopoulos said that if the seven new stations open, they will be used by 150,000 new passengers every day and that this would lead to 37,000 fewer cars circulating on the streets of Athens.

The Greek state ceased doing business with Siemens after the launch of judicial and parliamentary probes into claims that the German electronic and engineering giant?s Greek branch, Siemens Hellas, paid bribes to political parties, politicians and civil servants to secure state contracts.

Following the end of an inconclusive parliamentary probe, State Minister Haris Paboukis said that the government would pursue Siemens Hellas through the courts to recover damages. He told Parliament yesterday that the government would ?take any action necessary.?