The troubled project to construct a metro system in Thessaloniki, which is already several years behind schedule, could be set for another blow as the consortium building the underground transport system on Wednesday asked for its contract to be torn up.
The consortium, made up of Greek and Italian companies (AEGEK-Impregilo-Ansaldo-Seli-Ansaldobreda), made the move after a court of arbitration ruled earlier this year that it had the right to ask for the contract to be scrapped. The government had extended the agreement with the consortium to November 2016 after a series of obstacles, including archaeological fines, held up the project.
However, the consortium argued that it had not agreed to the extension and that it should be allowed to walk away without having to pay compensation. The court ruled in the contractor’s favor.
Attiko Metro, which manages the project, is left with two options. One is to accept the consortium’s request, pay up for the work that has been carried out and launch a new tender. The other option is to reject the consortium’s request and attempt to find a way to continue their relationship.
“Attiko Metro wants the project to continue through a lawful process,” the company’s president Christos Tsitouras told Kathimerini. “We will not accept a discussion on issues that have already been referred to arbitration. We can discuss with the consortium possible changes to the remaining project, which could be recorded in a supplementary contract.”
The original contract for the construction of the Thessaloniki metro was signed in April 2006 but less than 40 percent of the project has been completed so far.