Greek PM apologizes for deadly train crash, promises to fix railways

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized on Thursday for a train crash that killed 57 people, promising to fix long-standing deficiencies in the railway sector and to provide financial support for victims’ families.

A passenger train with 350 people on board, most of them university students, collided with a cargo train in central Greece on Feb. 28 in the country’s deadliest rail disaster.


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“I want to reiterate a public apology on behalf of those who ruled the country over the years, and mainly personally,” Mitsotakis said during a cabinet meeting. “I assume responsibility.”

The crash has stirred public outrage and protests against a political system which has repeatedly ignored calls by railway unions to install and maintain digital safety systems and hire more staff.

On Wednesday, tens of thousands rallied outside parliament in Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki and other cities across Greece in the largest street demonstrations the conservative government has faced since being elected in 2019.

The government, which was initially planning to call elections in coming weeks as its term ends in July, has blamed the crash mainly on human error but has also acknowledged deficiencies mainly due to underinvestment and neglect - a legacy of Greece’s debt crisis.

Mitsotakis outlined his government’s priorities on Thursday, which included a transparent investigation into the causes of the crash and compensating the families of victims.

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