Hellinikon Casino, Other Investments Moving Forward, Development Minister Says

Minister for Growth and Investments Adonis Georgiadis. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Christos Bonis)

ATHENS – The government plans to initiate tendering for the casino in the Hellinikon project on September 30, Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis told Open radio station on Monday, in an interview on investments progress so far.

“Our aim is to have published all ministerial decisions (KYA) by next Saturday but one, in order to have everything in place for the announcement of the casino tender, which will take place on September 30 and will be successful. There will be no deadline extension to the tender,” he said, adding that the Central Management Council for the Exploitation of Public Assets met on Monday (August 12) to approve the KYA.

All outstanding investments will be included in an omnibus investment bill that will be posted for public consultation after the holiday of August 15 (Thursday). It will include among others simplification of the bureaucracy so projects move forward faster, he said.

Asked about other investments, the minister said that the Kassiopi, Corfu investment will begin this year. “Our investors brought us a table showing 15 issues that prevented the investment from moving forward; at this moment, all 15 have been resolved,” Georgiadis said. “The same will happen with Afandou in Rhodes, and another huge investment in Elounda, Crete of 600 million euros,” for which the Public Properties Company (ETAD) has completed its approvals. The Elounda investment will be discussed by the Central Management Council at its next meeting.

Criticizing the previous government for what he called delays in investments and lack of effectiveness in EU fund absorption and waste management, Georgiadis said specifically about investments, “There was (in SYRIZA) an innate internal contradiction. There were some ministers, like Mr. Pitsiorlas and possibly Mr. Flabouraris, who had, in a sense, a political interest in pushing the investments forward, but under that they had a whole party – Mr. Skourletis, Mr. Stathakis and all the rest – who wanted nothing done, over ideological fixations.”

He also said that in terms of NSRF funds, despite the previous government’s announcements and the signed agreements with creditors to aim for the absorption of 2.8 billion EU funds in 2019, “today we have absorbed less than 400 million euros. Therefore, Greece is in danger of both losing funds and missing its memorandum agreement target.”

In addition, because SYRIZA refused to adopt its predecessor’s plan for managing household waste, “all regions that cancelled the plans of the Samaras government are now facing garbage disposal issues: an example is Egio (in the Peloponnese), which transports its garbage to Kozani (in northern Greece).” The only regions to adopt the plans are Epiros and West Macedonia, “which decided not to obey the SYRIZA government directive” and which “are currently the only regions to have modern waste processing stations, even used briefly to relieve other areas like those of the Ionian Islands.”

In both the NSRF funds and the waste management cases Georgiadis cited a letter by European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn which referred to the issues.