Mitsotakis offers "personal and sincere apology" for mishandling of Elpis snowstorm

Kyriakos Mitsotakis

In opening remarks to Wednesday's online cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis began by offering a "personal and sincere apology to our fellow citizens that underwent hardship for many hours, trapped on Attiki Odos."

"There are very clear responsibilities of the concessionaire for the way that it handled this latest snowstorm. These will be fully investigated based on existing laws but also the terms included in the relevant contracts with the public sector," Mitsotakis stressed.

He noted that private companies that manage critical infrastructure for not inconsiderable profits have certain obligations, chief of which is to keep the roads in their care open.

READ MORE: The BEST photos of snow covered Athens.

This was the reason for the decision to immediately give 2,000 euros to the drivers that were trapped on Attiki Odos and to pay compensation to the TRAINOSE train passengers that were stranded, the prime minister added.

"I note that this is the first time that the state has taken action to provide relief through this process to our fellow citizens that suffered damages," he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the provision for compensation was added to concession contracts in a law passed by the present government, irrespective of any private claims or public-sector actions in this regard.

Mitsotakis also conceded that the problems were not restricted to Attiki Odos and promised a thorough investigation of what went wrong.

READ MORE: Lingerie-clad Greek celebs showoff workout routine during Elpis snowstorm (VIDEO)

He also thanked the armed forces and emergency services personnel for their efforts to assist the people trapped in the snow, as well as the repair crews struggling to restore power to areas where power lines were down.

"Every tree that severs a medium-voltage power line is a unique challenge, especially when these people have to contend with half a metre of snow," Mitsotakis said. "For the very few areas still without power, I ask the citizens' patience and understanding."

"I think in this area we learned our lessons from 'Medea' and managed to restore power in a very short space of time," he added.

READ MORE: Athens is a top shipping centre – What is its overall ranking?