Greece's entire railway network will be fully restored by 2025

Kalavryta Greece train railway

The Athens-Thessaloniki train route will resume its entire service as of December 15, noted Infrastructure & Transport Minister Christos Staikouras at the 7th Thessaloniki Summit on Monday. A segment of the train route had been recently damaged by storm 'Daniel' and has since been serviced by bus.

Moreover, Staikouras said that the railway network from Athens to Greece's northern borders will resume on December 10.

It is the government's aim to have the entire railway network fully restored by 2025, including remote management systems and signalling, after tenders are announced at the start of 2024, he added.

The total cost of damages to the national railway system by recent extreme weather phenomena amounts to 200 million euros and is covered by the Recovery & Resilience Fund.

But temporary repair works are already underway, Staikouras said, at a cost of 14 million euros. When tenders are announced early 2024, the full restoration project will follow.

The Thessaloniki metro will become operational in the second half of 2024, he noted.

South-East Europe is on a new course to prosperity and stability, says German Consul General

South-East Europe is on a new course to prosperity and stability, said Sibylla Bendig, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Thessaloniki, speaking at the 7th Thessaloniki Summit on Monday.

Addressing the 'South East Europe: The New Landscape in the geopolitical chessboard' discussion panel, she noted that ever since she arrived in Thessaloniki four years ago, she "sensed a very positive, optimistic feeling here in northern Greece", adding that the Prespes agreement had just been signed.

This agreement, she added, is a step towards the integration of North Macedonia into the European Union, and that together with other candidate countries, "it all points to the same direction, the European Union."

Addressing the Ambassador of Israel to Greece, Noam Katz, who was on stage during the previous panel, she said that Germany "condemns the terror that Hamas brought to Israel on Oct. 7", that "Israel has every right to defend itself against this attack, and that "we count on you to protect the innocent population of Gaza as much as possible."

The German diplomat then noted that her country had a presence in Greece since the 19th century, mentioning the German consulate in Alexandroupolis at the time, "which marks the importance of Greek-German-Bulgarian economic relations" at the time of the Ottoman empire, she added.

Trade "is also part of the geopolitical chessboard and so is the military cooperation," she added, as "Germany and Greece, Bulgaria and Turkiye, Albania and North Macedonia are members of NATO. We are united in times of war at our borders, we support Ukraine with weapons," she pointed out.

NATO, she added, "is a very strong union because of the United States and because of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty," therefore "these two factors mark the position of Germany in the Western Balkan chessboard: economic ties and security."

Bendig also underlined that "Germany and Greece are strong in getting Germans and Greeks to work together, do business, in every field".

She added that the Greek-German Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2024, a year when Germany will be the honoured country at the Thessaloniki International Fair.

"That is an honour for us," she said, "and another big chance for us to show, how much Germany is involved in Greece, and how deep is our friendship."

The 7th Thessaloniki Summit is organised by the Federation of Industries of Greece (SVE) in cooperation with the Dephi Economic Forum, under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Foreign Affairs Minister George Gerapetritis will deliver the closing address of the Thessaloniki Summit 2023 conference on Tuesday.

Gerapetritis will focus on the priorities of Greek foreign policy, particularly in the Western Balkans, in his address at 18:30.

The two-day conference opened on Monday.

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