Question to the European Commission by the SYRIZA - Progressive Alliance MEPs about the non-existence of a permanent and independent body investigating railway accidents in Greece as provided for by European legislation
The Europarliament group of SYRIZA - Progressive Alliance submitted a question to the European Commission regarding the non-existence of an independent and permanent railway accident investigation body in Greece, under the weight of the unspeakable tragedy of the deadly train accident in Tempi.
The question is co-signed by the SYRIZA P.A. Europarliament group in its full composition, namely by Elena Kountoura, coordinator of the LEFT Group in the Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) at the European Parliament, Dimitris Papadimoulis, vice-president of the European Parliament, and SYRIZA P.A. MEPs Kostas Arvanitis, Alexis Georgoulis, Petros Kokkalis and Stelios Kouloglou.
In particular, Article 22 of the Railway Safety Directive 2016/798 stipulates that each Member State shall ensure that accidents and incidents should be investigated by a permanent body, independent of various actors in the Union railway system and of any third party with interests that could be in conflict with the tasks assigned to such investigating body. In addition, it should operationally independent from the national safety authority, the railway agency and any railway regulatory body.
In Greece, there is currently no independent and permanent body as defined by Directive 2016/798, as the establishment of the National Organization for the Investigation of Aviation and Railway Accidents and Transport Safety (EODASAAM) was legislated in January 2023 with the law 5014/2023, but the body this one has not yet been put into operation.
At the same time, according to the same law, the Greek government abolished the Committee for the Investigation of Railway Accidents and Incidents (EDISAS), which had been designated by law 4632/2019 as the competent body for investigating accidents, when the Directive was incorporated into national law. It is noted that after the tragic accident in Tempi, the Greek government announced the establishment of a "Special Committee" to investigate the causes that caused the tragedy.
Based on the actions taken by the Greek government, SYRIZA P.A. MEPs first are asking the European Commission if they had been informed by the Greek government about the abolition of EDISAS, and in fact, before EODASAAM became operational, with the result that currently there is not an existing permanent and reliable accident investigation body, as the Directive claims.
The SYRIZA MEPs also ask the European Commission to answer if the correct implementation of the Directive is ensured, given that there is no permanent and reliable accident investigation body. In addition, they are asking the European Commission to respond, regarding whether the Greek authorities have requested the assistance of it and the EU Railways Organization to provide expertise and/or perform technical inspections, analyzes and/or assessments.