A German Company Will Control 14 Greek Airports as Bailout Conditions Force Privatization

Fraport AG, which runs Frankfurt Airport, is set to buy rights to the airports for 40 years in an agreement worth 1.23 billion euros ($1.37 billion).
August 19, 2015, 5:05pm
Imagen por Orestis Panagiotou/EPA

A German transport company appears to be moving ahead with buying the rights to operate 14 regional airports in Greece, as the Greek government submits to privatization deals as part of a new bailout deal to its European creditors.

Fraport AG, which runs Frankfurt Airport, is set to buy rights to the airports for 40 years in an agreement worth 1.23 billion euros ($1.37 billion).

The deal was originally agreed in 2014 but still hasn't been finalized. The Greek government's approval was announced on Monday evening in the government's official gazette, but a Fraport spokesman said that he doesn't expect the deal to be signed until the end of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"The decision by the Greek government isn't equivalent to signing the contract, but it is the basis for resuming negotiations" based on previous talks, the spokesman said.

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While the Greek government — elected in January — initially vowed to put a halt on privatization, the government was forced to cave in order to receive a third bailout deal and end the ongoing financial crisis.

The announcement of the Fraport AG agreement marks the first privatization deal by a Syriza-led government.

This came as German MPs gave their approval for a third bailout, with 454 voting in favor and 113 against, along with 18 abstentions. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the Bundestag that the country deserved a "new start."

The Dutch parliament also voted in favor of the Greek bailout despite the governing liberal party saying it had "many doubts" over the package.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is also expected to call a vote of confidence this week.

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