Government, Opposition Clash Over Eldorado Gold’s Threat to Leave Greece

In this undated photo provided on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 by Hellas Gold company, an aerial view of a gold mine complex in Skouries, in the Halkidiki peninsula, northern Greece. (Hellas Gold via AP)

ATHENS (ANA) – Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Vassilis Kikilias sternly attacked Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday speaking to private TV SKAI, after the Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold announced the suspension of its operations in Greece.

Tsipras’s words “lack political weight and he has never kept any of his promises,” Kikilias said. Following hard on “Tsipras’ crescendo about investments that would sweep the country,” Kikilias added, Eldorado Gold was now announcing its decision to suspend its operations in the country and pull out of Greece.

Administrative Reconstruction Minister Olga Gerovassili said in an interview with SKAI TV on Tuesday that “we are here for any serious investor that respects environmental rules, labour rights and operates in accordance with the law”.

“We do not accept ultimatums,” she stressed, referring to the Eldorado Gold issue. She explained that this is not a legitimate method to use against a democratically elected government and a European state. “The government is not threatened or blackmailed by such mechanisms … The obligation of each government is to defend the public interest in the long term …” she said, among others.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos reiterated on Monday evening the view expressed by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos earlier today that the main opposition may have been involved in the decision of Canadian miner Eldorado to announce it is suspending investments in Greece.

Tzanakopoulos told private TV channel SKAI that the timing of the announcement raised questions, adding that the leader of New Democracy Kyriakos Mitsorakis had previously met with the company’s management. He also said there was a media report which almost foretold this development. “The main opposition chooses to identify itself with specific business interests […] without looking into the essence of the case, the disputed issues.

Asked about the bottom line of the dispute, he aid Eldorado submitted a technical study and did not provide additional details to the ministry when they were requested, which led the ministry to seek arbitration.

“It’s the third time the company announces the end of its investment operations,” he added. “We are not used to dealing with ultimatums […] the next steps will be decided on the basis of the legislation.”

Asked about the comments posted by of Minister Alexis Tsipras’ strategic advisor Nikos Karanikas on Facebook, Tzanakopoulos replied: “I’m surprised you are asking me to comment on Karanikas’ post and not the company’s colonial insolence.”