15 December 2015
A plane is
parked at the airport included in a big privatization deal
between Greece and
German airport operator Fraport, Thessaloniki,
Greece December 14,
Avramidis / Reuters
Greece has signed its first major privatization deal granting
control of over a dozen regional airports to a German company.
The agreement is part of international
creditors' demands to privatize state assets to secure €86 billion
in bailout funds for Athens.
The €1.23 billion contract gives a 40-year lease to the Frankfurt
Fraport. The German firm could
upgrade and operate a cluster of airports, including those on the
popular tourist islands of Corfu, Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini.
Fraport chief executive, Stefan Schulte called the deal a
"win-win" for "Greece and its people."
"The project underscores the
extensive know-how that Fraport will be able to provide at these
14 aviation gateways which are vital for Greece's economy and,
in particular, its huge international tourism sector," Schulte
"It's a very significant development and a strong message, in
all directions, that the Greek economy is winning the trust of
markets and entering the road toward growth," said Stergios
Pitsiorlas, the head of Greece's privatization agency.
The privatization deal with Fraport was
agreed last year but final negotiations were frozen when
Syriza came to power in January.
It goes against Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras' pre-election promise not to privatize the country's
infrastructure. The idea was strongly opposed by Syriza's left
platform which accused the coalition of "surrendering" public
Around €3 billion in revenue has been raised in Greece through
privatizations over the last six years.
In terms of the current bailout program,
the Greek government has to raise an additional €6.2 billion from
selling or awarding management contracts for state-owned assets in
the next three years.
The measure aims at reducing national
debt and increasing investment.
On Tuesday night the Greek Parliament will vote on the latest
package of economic measures which is widely expected to be passed.
If approved it would unlock the next €1 billion in bailout funds.
Greece's two biggest unions GSEE and ADEDY have already called on
workers to rally in central Athens against the so-called