The Only Remaining Boom Sector

Germany will now control Greek infrastructure for 40 years, via a majority state-owned company. If anyone questions a resurgent Germany and its conquest of Europe again, they need to reassess and look at the hard evidence. It isn’t called the Fourth Reich here loosely.

BERLIN/ATHENS (Own report) – The German Fraport Company is preparing, under very strong protests from Greek trade unionists, to take over the operation and management of 14 of Greece’s airports. The concessions, which Fraport was awarded back in late 2015, will entrust the German company with the operational and management functioning of Greece’s most profitable regional airports – for a duration of 40 years. Annual profits are estimated to begin at 90 million Euros. The Greek state with retain 23 regional airports, including several that are in acute deficit, but must still be expensively maintained, as links between remote islands and the Greek mainland. One of the most powerful Greek oligarchs has a share not only in Fraport’s profits from the current takeover, but has for years been involved in operating the Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg. Fraport is one of the few German companies still investing in Greece. Many others are withdrawing from the country. The country’s crisis had led to a massive reduction in consumption, which does not permit attractive profits. The most important exception to this rule is the tourism sector, from which the Fraport airports can make profits in processing vacation flights.

Duty Free

Back in 2014 and 2015, Germany’s Fraport company was able to secure the control over 14 Greek regional airports, which will soon take effect. November 25, 2014, the company was awarded the contract – in principle, by December 14, 2015, the last hurdles raised by Greece’s new Tsipras government (early 2015) could be overcome, and the concessions contracts were formally signed. Upon payment of 1.234 billion Euros and an annual fee, initially of 22.9 million Euros, Fraport will assume control of the operations and management of the airports in the next few weeks.[1] The company, headquartered in Frankfurt, has secured favorable contractual conditions in the deal. As the journalist, Niels Kadritzke writes, the company may “abrogate all contracts with partners and tenants and conclude new contracts,” but is not obligated to “compensate those companies, shops or restaurants” being thrown out. “The Greek state must assume the costs of breach of contract penalties.”[2] This also includes severance payments for employees dismissed due to the Fraport takeover, as well as liabilities for victims of work accidents. Athens must also assume the costs of delays, when reconstruction projects must be halted “because of archeological discoveries,” according to Kadritzke. Fraport is additionally “exempted from paying any real estate and municipal taxes.”

Profits

Oligarchs

Conqueror

For quite some time, there has been strong protest against the transferring of the 14 regional airports to German control. For example, the Greek civil aviation union, OSYPA called for strikes in opposition to Fraport’s entry in January and June 2016. OSYPA has also lodged a complaint with the EU Commission. With its effective control of these 14 regional airports, Fraport has been allowed a sort of monopoly – “a privileged position on the domestic market, permitting it full independence in setting prices and business strategies regardless of the customers at the regional airports,” explained the trade union in its complaint’s argumentation. In addition, the EU Commission may only grant concessions for the duration needed to generate the adequate amount of profit. Fraport is likely to achieve this in twenty years – only half of the 40 years allotted. The Chair of OSYPA, Vasilis Alevizopoulos, has announced that the struggle against Fraport’s takeover will continue. “They are conquerors, not investors,” he declared.[5]

Destroyed by the Crisis

Full article: The Only Remaining Boom Sector (German Foreign Policy)

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