NEWS

Bonuses for late Olympic projects

Half of the major projects associated with the Athens Olympic Games are seriously falling behind, despite assurances from the Games organizers and declarations by the International Olympic Committee that almost everything is going well as long as a fast construction pace is maintained. Incongruously, according to Kathimerini sources, the organizers and the Greek State are ready to extend the contracts signed with construction companies up to June or even July, only weeks before the unofficial start of the Games, on August 11, with the soccer preliminaries. This would mean that, should the contractors manage to finish the projects they have undertaken before the new deadlines, they will get bonuses for timely delivery. The government can do little at this late stage but comply with the contractors’ wishes, even at the cost of further inflating the Olympics budget, which is said to have exceeded the planned 4.6 billion euros by at least another billion. The contractors are in a position to blackmail and are certain to avoid paying penalties for delays in delivery. At present, six projects that were supposed to be delivered in 2003 are experiencing heavy delays, with one – the reconstruction of the marathon route – in grave danger of being left incomplete. The government has officially declared that construction firm European Technical is no longer the contractor, but the company, despite being on the verge of bankruptcy, insists that it has found financial resources and will fight in the courts.