Greece’s prime minister has promised to improve the safety standards of the country’s railway system following its deadliest train crash on record which sparked mass protests.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis again apologized for last month’s incident, which saw a passenger train carrying mostly university students returning from a three-day public holiday collide with a freight train near the city of Larissa, leaving 57 people dead and dozens injured.
“I reiterate my public apology on behalf of all those who ruled the country for years, but mainly personally,” Mitsotakis said.
“I therefore assume responsibility. And we cannot, we do not want to, we must not hide behind a series of human errors,” he added.
The day after the deadly collision, Mitsotakis blamed “tragic human error,” sparking demonstrations against chronic faults in the railway system and demanding justice for the victims.
Tens of thousands of people participated in protests organized by worker unions and student groups on Wednesday across Greek cities calling for better safety standards.
They held signs with the names of those killed in the crash and messages such as, “Call me when you get home.”
Further strikes are due in Greece to protest the fatal collision.
Speaking on Thursday, the Greek prime minister announced “absolute transparency” in the investigation of the deadly crash and announced compensation for the victims’ families.
On Wednesday, European Commission experts met with the Greek government to discuss “the complete reorganization” of the Greek railway.
The Greek prime minister said during the ministerial council that he has asked the commission for technical assistance and additional funding.
The Greek government was initially planning to hold elections in early April but is now widely expected to push it back until after Easter. Its term ends in July.