San Jose Mercury News

Greece gives German firm rights to run 14 airports
San Jose Mercury News

Greece has agreed to sell to a German company the rights to operate 14 regional airports. The deal is the first in a wave of privatizations the government had until recently opposed but needs to make to qualify for bailout loans.

The decision, which was published in the government gazette overnight Monday to Tuesday, would hand over the airports, including several on popular tourist island destinations, to Fraport AG, which runs Frankfurt Airport, among others across the world.

The concession, worth 1.23 billion euros ($1.37 billion), is the first privatization decision taken by the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was elected in January on promises to repeal the conditions of Greece’s previous two bailouts.

The government had initially vowed to cancel the country’s privatization program, but Tsipras has been forced to renege on his pre-election promises in order to win a deal on a third international bailout for Greece, worth 86 billion euros. Without the rescue loans, the country would default on its debts and risk being forced out of Europe’s joint currency.

The government’s U-turn on pre-election promises to secure its new bailout has sparked a rebellion within Tsipras’ governing left-wing Syriza party, increasing the possibility of early elections being called as early as next month.

Quand les communistes n’ont plus d’argent, même eux sont obligés de privatiser !