Athens, January 13, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Open “war” between the Canadian Eldorado and the government on the occasion of the granting of licenses to the company pending in the Council of State, with the president of the multinational threatening to cut 1,100 jobs and with the government stressing through the Environment Minister that it would “not be blackmailed”.
In a press conference, Paul Wright of Eldorado, said any decision to suspend operations in Skouries will result in the loss of 600 jobs and 500 other positions in the work of the Olympiad are in the air if the installation license is not issued by the end of March.
Currently 682 workers are employed in Skouries, of whom 600 in contractors. At the end of the quarter are expected to remain 40-50 for maintenance and security of the facilities and if the investment progressed, according with the company’s managers, 500 more would be hired.
However, he ruled out any withdrawal from Greece and appeared optimistic that a solution will be found to the problem, which attributed to the fact that the matter has been politicized and not to the integrity of the investment or to local reactions, which as he said come from minority residents of the area.
Wright noted that since 2012 the company has faced non-compliance on the part of the Energy Ministry and other public services of their obligations and argued that “in 2015 the ministry has moved a step further and revoked or suspended a number of licenses for no apparent reason”.
“Tthreats will not pass”
“The threats of the company El Dorado against the government and the Environment and Energy Ministry are unacceptable and will not pass. SYRIZA’s compass has always been and still is a model of stable and sustainable growth that respects the environment and the public interest”, says SYRIZA.
“From the first moment Syriza had highlighted both the environmental impact of the investment on Skouries and the scandalous aspects of the contract the company has signed with the Greek State, while it provided its full support to the diverse movement that emerged”, noted the statement and underlined:
“From the beginning of the project we had noted that the works on gold mining in Skouries pollutes the environment, contaminates water resources and deprive thousands of jobs from other activities that can be developed in this region”.
It is also emphasized that for all the above, but also for the non-payment of fines, which related to a host of offenses that had been committed by the company, the responsibilities of the previous governments are clear.
“We do not succumb to blackmail”
The government does not succumb to blackmail, says the Minister of Environment and Energy, Panos Skourletis, commenting on the announcement of the multinational company “Eldorado Gold”, for the withdrawal of a proportion of investments in Skouries, Halkidiki if the permit is not issued by the end of March.
Speaking at the “Agency 104,9 FM”, he expressed discontent over the fact that the CEO of the Canadian multinational, Paul Wright, decided to cancel the meeting that was scheduled for yesterday and – as the minister said – be preceded by a press conference.
“Maybe this is an attempt to create a fait accompli, or an attempt at extortion. I think they do not calculate correctly if they consider that the Greek Government is subject to any kind of blackmail. What we do we do out of respect to the environment and the defence of public interest”, he said.
European Commission: No comment for Skouries
“No comment” from the European Commission on the decision of the Canadian company Eldorado Gold to suspend much of the construction and development of mines in Greece.
“It concerns a corporate decision and we do not comment on these cases”, was the reply of the Commission representative, Vanessa Mock.
However, the same representative stressed that the reforms that Greece is committed, through the adjustment programme, are aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the Greek economy and in attracting and retaining domestic and international investment.