At ND congress, Samaras talks up investments, defends ERT shutdown

Buoyed by the confirmation earlier in the day that the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) would pass through Greece, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told delegates at the New Democracy congress in Athens on Friday that the country would soon attract more investments as he defended his recent decision to shut down public broadcaster ERT.

Samaras said the TAP deal proved that the “prophets of doom” were wrong. The prime minister said that gas provider DEPA, whose privatization was abandoned earlier this month, would also be sold soon.

On ERT, Samaras admitted that New Democracy and PASOK had damaged the broadcaster by making political appointments but the premier claimed most of the appointees were leftists. He said the decision to shut the TV and radio service down was the only way to deal with its “sinful” past.

“You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs,” he told some 4,000 delegates, adding a warning for ERT employees that continue to broadcast from its headquarters that “sit-ins” would not be tolerated.

Samaras had to interrupt his speech briefly to sit down. It is thought that his relentless schedule over the past few days and a reported stomach virus prompted the brief pause. Samaras is due to give the closing speech at the congress on Sunday.