Source: Republic of Greece – Defense (translation)
Intervention of the Minister of Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos during the debate in the Parliament regarding the regulation for the completion of works in the Ministry of Defense & the construction of the TPK of the Ministry of Defense
The Minister of National Defense, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, intervened today, Friday, May 22, 2020, in the meeting held at the Plenary Session of the Parliament on the draft law of the Ministry of Tourism “Special forms of tourism and provisions for tourism development”.
The Minister took a position on the amendments that were included in the draft law and concern the regulations for the completion of the work on submarines of the Navy by the “Hellenic Shipyards” SA. and the construction of two Navy missiles (TPK) by the “Elefsinos Shipyards” SA
The following is the text of the speech:
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: “I will not prolong my speech, Mr. President, thank you for the minute you give me. Look, the fact that we want to send the signal that something is changing in the treatment, in the whole used of this story, arises, I think, from the smallest extension we give.
If we gave, as has been the case so far, just another six-month extension I am very afraid that this period would pass and after six months – four since we have already eaten the two of them – since it is given from April 1, 2020 we would come here to find that still the ships have not been delivered. A larger percentage may have been completed, the sixth went to 98%, the last went from 60 to 70 percent, but again the same.
The fact that we want to push in any direction and send the signal that “time is running out and we can’t go through the same procedures, with the same logic from now on” is reflected in the fact that we are giving a three-month extension. I hope that during this period, which has been running since the beginning of April, there will be contacts, discussions and negotiations that should take place – not with us participants – between the ownership of the “Elefsinos Shipyards” but also the one that is interested in investing. in them, as we hear and he himself claims outside, so that we can reach an agreement.
This debate, like today’s initiative, has nothing to do with the blame for what has happened so far. Let’s change what has happened so far and give a definitive solution to a problem that has evolved into a “Gordian knot” in some way. And we have to – out of necessity – solve, break some “Gordian ties” that have to do with the way our armaments have been done so far and our defense industry has been working. Otherwise it is not possible.
We are forced by circumstances to rush, to run. And we have to look for solutions. The conversation about the possible arrival of an investor does not concern the Ministry of National Defense, which is the customer, as I have said in this room as well. In fact, a customer for whom there is a long delay in receiving the products he is currently waiting for from the specific shipyards.
But I do not want to divert this discussion to such a disgusting and flattering talk of accountability, etc. I want to believe that this time will be enough to launch the developments. This discussion is not accelerated by the Ministry of National Defense, which, however, has every interest in monitoring it with anxiety about the future.
Our goal is for the Skaramaga and Elefsina shipyards to enter a new era, from which the Navy will only benefit. And the country by extension, because a change of image in the two shipyards has a developmental impact. And not just the impact, which has to do with the Armed Forces and the National Defense. And if all goes well (we will do everything we can to do well), these interventions could signal a change for the better, with an impact on the national economy as well.
For now, though, let’s just support these life-changing amendments. As I have said repeatedly, time is running out. Therefore, those who listen and those who are interested in this discussion should take this into account. Time is up. Let them hasten what they are discussing and what they are negotiating.