ATHENS – Although exempted by laws passed by a succession of governments from making payments in the cash of train deaths, Greece’s Hellenic Train said it will put out compensation for survivors and families of the victims of the head-on collision that took at least 57 lives.
The company is different from the network owner OSE – there are four railway agencies, not including the owner of the system, Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane.
In a statement, the company said it will “fully comply with existing European legislation, so that the relatives of the deceased, (as well as) the injured and the passengers… are fully (compensated.”)
A 2007 European Parliament approved regulation stipulated that rail operators must make a downpayment no more than 15 days after an accident or, in case of death, after the death has been ascertained.
In case of death, the compensation cannot be lower than 21,000 euros ($22,325) and must be paid before determination of a final compensation and would be non-refundable in any case.
In 2009, the Greek government of the PASOK Socialists exempted TrainOSE, as Hellenic Train was then from making the downpayment for five years instead of 15 days, no apparent explanation why so.
That exemption was renewed in 2014 under a New Democracy-led government and in December 2019 under the current administration also of the Conservatives and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.