Today 22 May 2020 the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos made an intervention at the plenary session of the Hellenic Parliament, on the Ministry of Tourism draft law on “Special forms of tourism and provisions on tourism growth” .
The Minister presented his views on the amendments included in the draft law concerning the completion of the works on Hellenic Navy submarines by Hellenic Shipyards Co. and the shipbuilding of two Hellenic Navy torpedo boats by Eleysis Shipyards Co.
The Minister stated during his intervention:
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: “Thank you for the time Mr. Chairman, I will not take long. The fact that we have conveyed the message that something is changing in the management of this issue, is evident from the short extension we are giving.
If we gave the whole thing just a six-month extension I am afraid that after six months when the time was up - that is four months since the two have already come and gone – as this extension counts as of the 1st of April 2020, we would simply realise that the ships have not been delivered yet. Perhaps a greater percentage has been completed, the 6th amendment is 98% completed and the last one from 60% has reached 70%.
The fact that we want to exert pressure towards all directions and convey the message that “time is running out and we can no longer go on with the same procedures, and the same mentality”, has become clear given the six-month period extension we have given”. I hope that during this period, which started on the 1st of April, the appropriate contacts, discussions and negotiations will take place, -not with our participation - but among the “Elefsis Shipyards” owners and the interested investors, and that we will reach an agreement.
This discussion and today’s initiative has nothing to do with putting the blame on anyone about how things have turned out so far. We need to change what has happened up to now and give a final solution to a problem which is turning out to be a “Gordian Knot” somehow. And we must - we are obliged – to settle, to solve certain “Gordian Knots” which have to do with the manner the armament programs were dealt with up to today, and how our defence industry worked, there is no other way.
Circumstances call for us to make haste, to rush. And we need to discuss all the solutions. The discussion on a potential investor does not concern the Ministry of National Defence, which is the customer, as I have stated before you in the past. A customer which has been delayed by the specific shipyards in receiving the expected products.
That said, I do not wish to turn this discussion to a sweeping and blanket criticism over who is to blame etc. I want to believe that this period will be ample to allow us have developments back on the track. The present discussion is not rushed by the Ministry of National Defence, which , however, has every interest to look forward to future developments.
Our objective is to allow the Skaramangas Shipyards to enter a new era, which can only be beneficial to the Hellenic Navy and the country as a whole , because the change of their image will have a developmental impact which doesn’t have to do with merely the Armed Forces and National Defence. And if everything goes according to plan (we are doing all we can towards this direction) these interventions could signal a change for the better, having an impact on national economy.
For the time being, its suffice to support the amendments giving an extension of life. However, I have repeatedly stated that we are running out of time. So, all those listening and being interested on this discussion please take this into consideration. Time is running out. May they make haste on their talks and negotiations.
Thank you .