Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis began his weekly Facebook post on Sunday with a promise to take steps so that there will never again be another accident like the train collision at Tempi on February 28.
“I want to begin by saying, with my hand on my heart, that I will never forget what happened at Tempi and why it happened,” Mitsotakis said, adding: “I feel that it is now my personal wager to find a solution so that something like this never happens again.”
The prime minister said he had noted people’s “perfectly reasonable reaction” to the unfair deaths of 57 people and fully sympathised with the unanimous demand of society to finally “sweep away whatever is holding Greece back, to change more things more quickly so that we have the country we deserve”.
“I have an obligation to turn these feelings into creative action and this is what I intend to do,” he added.
The first step, however, the prime minister said, was to support the families of the dead and injured, both financially and practically, with a series of measures already announced, and with continued psychological support, through grief counselling and round-the-clock helplines, whose importance he greatly emphasised.
Alongside the management of this devastating event, Mitsotakis added, the normal work of government also had to continue. He referred to measures taken over the previous week, such as an increase in the minimum wage to 780 euros a month. He noted that Greece was gradually converging with average European incomes and that the new minimum wage was now higher than that of the pre-crisis period, while Greece was gradually breaking away from the group of economies that depended on a low cost of labour to remain competitive.
He also noted the progress made in issuing new pensions and other issues relating to pensioners, the revival of the 120- and 72-installment debt settlement schemes, the personal assistance programme for people with disabilities, the semi-autonomous living programme for teenagers and young people transitioning out of state care and, finally, the passing of a law to improve the framework for organ transplants and help increase organ donation in Greece.
The prime minister concluded his message by saying: “We are working to do everything possible to support the families of the victims at Tempi and to correct the dysfunctions that come from the past and that we all agree have no place in the Greece of the future.”