Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Centre right MEPs have pulled out of a visit to Greece after the country’s train tragedy that killed 57 people, it has emerged.
Following what they call the “horrible” train accident in Greece, the EPP Group has decided not to participate in the mission this week of Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in protests and strikes in Greece, in a show of anger over last week’s train crash which killed 57 people.
Riot police used tear gas on a group of demonstrators in Athens – some of whom threw petrol bombs.
Police also intervened in protests in the city of Thessaloniki.
“It is inappropriate and insensitive”, say Group leader Manfred Weber,and Jeroen Lenaers, spokesman for the Group in the committee.
The EPP says it had decided to act after “an unspeakable tragedy took place in Greece last week.
“The country is in shock. The Greek people are mourning a great loss. These are not the circumstances to organise an EP mission that could easily be postponed to a later date”, Weber said.
The EPP Group had requested to postpone the mission following the Greek authorities’ appeal to reconsider the mission.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Left Groups are so blinded by their dislike of certain governments that they lose sight of the most basic level of respect and humanity”, Lenaers continued.
“The only delegation that Parliament should send following this tragedy is to show our respect to the families of the victims and to offer our support to the Greek authorities,” the EPP Group Members said.
Meantime, it has also been revealed that the European Union agency responsible for rail safety warned the Greek authorities on multiple occasions over the past few years, according to the head of the organisation.
The Executive-Director of the EU Railway Agency said that Greece did not react in time to secure its railway system, despite its warning. Even its 2022 report evealed a gloomy picture.
“During the last few years, we have always seen that Greece has ranked amongst the ‘bad pupils’,” he explained.
“So, with a rather low performance in terms of safety — safety (is) measured in the number of fatal accidents in comparison to the length of the network and the number of passenger kilometres.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people took part in protests and strikes in Greece, in a show of anger over the crash.Riot police used tear gas on a group of demonstrators in Athens – some of whom threw petrol bombs.Police also intervened in protests in the city of Thessaloniki.
Greece’s new transport minister, George Gerapetritis, who was appointed after his predecessor quit following the crash, has promised the government will fix what he described as the country’s “chronically ill train transport system”. He promised no train would set off again without “safety at the maximum possible level”.