A draft bill for leasing 10 Greek ports currently owned by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), in addition to those of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, will be ready and tabled in Parliament by the end of October, Shipping and Island Policy Minister Fotis Kouvelis said in an interview published on Tuesday.
The minister also reported on his recent meeting with the leadership of the Union of Greek Ship-owners (UGS), noting that some shipping firms had expressed an interest in registering their ships under the Greek flag.
Asked about the signature of a collective labour agreement for seamen in long-haul shipping crews, Kouvelis said that the ministry’s intention was to go ahead with this.
The minister also commented on the Prespes Agreement and the recent referendum in FYROM, expressing confidence that the required number of MPs in the Greek parliament will be found to support the ratification of the agreement.
According to Kouvelis, neither the Prespes Agreement nor pensions, which he insisted will not be cut, will act as a trigger for early elections in Greece.
“Based on all that has been stated in public… there are MPs from parties other than SYRIZA that will vote for the treaty. As for pensions, I think it is now very clear that they will not be cut because not cutting them is not a structural element of our pension system,” he said.
The government was working to create the conditions for growth that was equitable and fairly spread within society, the minister noted, pointing out that the recovery of growth has already begun in the last two years.
At the same time, he emphasised the need for growth to be accompanied by stability, justice and efficiency, pointing out that Greece had achieved very high growth rates in the past but these had only led the country into a debt crisis.
“It is therefore a political choice that growth should be equitable, a growth that refers to society itself,” he said.
In response to other questions, Kouvelis announced that a tender for the purchase of three new coast guard vessels has been completed and also outlined the ministry’s plans for developing the cruise sector and the necessary infrastructure. He also outlined the ministry’s actions to encourage young people to train in seamanship, noting that young people were unaware of the improvements in the working conditions for sailors.