I make reference to this matter for you to be also informed about every-day issues that have their own value. I will also tell you that this falls within our plans; I have spoken about Kasteli and the new highways in Attica Region. This not something new, I assure you that our plans are indeed to move forward and I believe that, by the beginning of 2011, we will have succeeded in making the first major step towards the formal tendering of the Project regarding the Metro Line 4, also called the “V” Line, which is intended for serving citizens residing in the densely populated regions of Athens. The discussion about this Project has started on the basis of several basic assumptions. This will be a public project, which will be executed also using resources to be ensured through low-interest loans to be granted by the European Investment Bank which we have already contacted and reached the pertinent agreement. This is a project most necessary. However, I must admit that if we start listing the problems that we encounter during the execution of various projects, this list of ours would probably be endless…
You asked about the Metro Extension to Piraeus: We have a specific problem and I want to share my thoughts with you and with the citizens who may be listening. You are aware that the joint venture that will undertake the works for the execution of this extension, as regards signaling and remote control, includes SIEMENS.
This contract has not been signed, and, thus, there is no contractor. However, I must tell you that if we decide to sign a contract with any of the joint ventures that have already submitted offers, then a contractor will certainly be appointed. And the question raised is as follows: should we sign a contract when the pertinent investigation and control procedure in the Greek Parliament is in progress? I believe that if we made a discussion about this matter, your points of view would have been different. It is not easy for someone to give the “green light” for signing this contract based on which SIEMENS is responsible for a part of the said project; someone else could just not give the “green light”.
You can now raise your questions. If the project is assigned to SIEMENS, then a new tendering process must initiate. This means that SIEMENS is allowed to submit its offers anew. The delay isn’t just the issue.
JOURNALIST: The system is compatible only with SIEMENS; this is the problem.
MINISTER: The problem is not yours; the problem is ours. What you are saying is that we are trapped, this is what you are telling us. Thank you for letting us know. In this sense, we are all trapped, since, actually, taxpayers are paying for these projects. Therefore, in order to close this matter here and to avoid any delays, you just sign and, at the same time, you open a major discussion, and, thus, you cause another political problem which unfortunately is not only political.
Once again, the delay isn’t just the issue. Who is allowed to say that in the framework of a new tender, should the tendering process progress, the participation of a company is excluded in advance if there are no grounds to justify this exclusion. This is a matter of great concern to us. It would be provocative to sign, however we accept the criticism that there is a delay in relevant projects.
JOURNALIST: With regard to the capitalization of the future revenues?
MINISTER: The capitalization of the future revenues of the Greek State is a matter which should be dealt with great care given this specific period. Interest rates are really high at this period, you are all aware at the high levels of the spreads. Therefore, we should be very careful and guard public interest.
If we were to proceed with securitization at such absurd interest rates, instead of doing something beneficial, we would only do something detrimental.
JOURNALIST: Are there any funds available for tendering the project in 2011?
MINISTER: This is another matter of concern. We believe that yes, there are funds. However, I wish to say no more on this matter.
JOURNALIST: Just one clarification of the Metro: Does the Metro Line 4 follow the planning we know or has there been any change?
MINISTER: There has been a change in the planning, which concerns the wider area of HILTON Hotel. According to the planning, the Line shall develop in the boundaries of Vyrona and Kaissariani Municipalities, so that it may serve the residents of these areas. We believe that this Line shall satisfy a social need.
JOURNALIST: One question on Holargos, Peristeri and the south suburbs Metro. Especially with regard to HOLARGOS Station, we have noted that there is a great delay even though the Station is practically ready. When will this Station be commissioned and what is happening with PERISTERI Station and the southern suburbs? Are we faced with the same problems? Is the route of the problem the same? ………………………………
D. REPPAS: Since you touch upon the operation of some stations, let’s hear some facts, as presented by the Secretary General, even though today’s briefing does not deal in depth with this issue. It seems that, indeed, HOLARGOS Station is to be given to the public in June and other stations are to follow in September.
I. OIKONOMIDIS: HOLARGOS Station will be ready at approximately at the beginning of June and AGHIA PARASKEVI Station in September.
JOURNALIST: Do you mean September of 2010?
S. LAMBROPOULOS: Yes, HOLARGOS Station will be ready in June of 2010.
I. OIKONOMIDIS: AGHIA PARASKEVI Station will be ready in September 2010, while, as far as ALIMOS, ILIOUPOLI, ARGYROUPOLI, ELLINIKO, ANTHOUPOLI and PERISTERI Stations are concerned, we are faced with the Siemens problem. Assuming that this problem is sorted out today and given that the stations are almost ready, there must be some successive installation works for all systems. So, if we resolve the Siemens problem today, we shall need approximately four to eight months to complete the installation works. Therefore, these stations shall be gradually completed the latest by March 2011.
JOURNALIST: (asked a question without using the microphone)
I. OIKONOMIDIS: If we resolve the Siemens problem within the next month using all available means, we shall need approximately four to eight months to complete the entire procedure. The system shall be gradually installed and the stations shall be completed one after the other. In this way, some stations shall have been completed by the end of the yea, while all stations shall have been completed by March 2011.
JOURNALIST: What about ELLINIKO Station:
I. OIKONOMIDIS: If the Siemens problem is not resolved, there will be an extensive delay.
JOURNALIST: If I am correct, isn’t there a problem with Siemens for HOLARGOS Station as well? And doesn’t that mean that if the problem is not resolved and no contract is signed, then isn’t that considered as a sole-source award (which means that this Project is “frozen” as well)?
I. OIKONOMIDIS: Actually, HOLARGOS Station is not faced with the same problem as the remaining seven stations and ELLINIKO Station.
JOURNALIST: Yes, but are they going to be commissioned?
I. OIKONOMIDIS: Yes, these two stations are going to be commissioned.
JOURNALIST: In other words, you declare that within one month HOLARGOS Station is given to the public. Isn’t that so?
I. OIKONOMIDIS: Beginning of June.
JOURNALIST: What about ANTHOUPOLI – PERISTERI Stations?
I. OIKONOMIDIS: I have told you about ILIOUPOLI – PERISTERI Stations; they shall be completed by 2011. If the Siemens problem is resolved, we can expedite the Project. The time is longer, but we have already taken measures to expedite things.
JOURNALIST: Can you please repeat the stations?
I. OIKONOMIDIS: ILIOUPOLI, ALIMOS, ARGYROUPOLI, ELLINIKO, ANTHOUPOLI, PERISTERI and AGHIA MARINA (HAIDARI)