Austerity Continues: Privatization of Greece's Rail Underway

Published on
by
Common Dreams

Austerity Continues: Privatization of Greece's Rail Underway

Greek government made the announcement on Monday as it fulfills the troika-imposed bailout conditions

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

“The privatization of Trainose is now on track,” said Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, "and in a short space of time we will have a very different landscape in Greek railways." (Photo: Tilemahos/flickr)

The privatization of Greece's rail system is set to begin in June, the Greek government announced on Monday, as it continues to mete out the austerity including privatizations the troika imposed as a requisite for receiving bailout funds.

Writing "Greece on the Auction Block," the International Business Times explains that the Hellenic Railways Organization, referred to by its Greek acronym OSE,

owns and maintains the country’s rail infrastructure except for the Athens rapid transit lines. It consists of about 500 freight and passenger routes on 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) of railways. [...]

Greece initially unveiled plans in 2011 to privatize €15 billion ($19.3 billion) worth of state-owned assets by the end of this year and €50 billion by 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal. [...]

The country lowered its privatization goal to €19 billion by 2015, and then lowered it again in December to €11 billion by 2016. Last year it raised only €1.7 billion in the sale of state-owned assets.

Agence France-Presse adds that the Greece must raise 2.6 billion euros through asset sales this year.

“The privatization of Trainose is now on track,” Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said in a statement.

“The procedure will begin in June…and in a short space of time we will have a very different landscape in Greek railways,” Hatzidakis added.

The austerity measures have been widely denounced by Greeks, prompting national strikes and protests.

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