No Solidarity Fund For Explosion Damage at Vassiliko Power Station
NICOSIA - European Commission experts have advised against activating the EU Solidarity Fund to pay for damage caused to Vassiliko power station in the explosion at Evangelos Florakis naval base last July 11th, said Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
Replying to a question in a press conference held at EU House in Nicosia, Hahn said that the Fund can only be used to cover costs from catastrophes with a natural cause.
The assessment is that the disaster was caused due to a technological failure. By now insurance companies have accepted liability claims for the costs of restoring the power station and interim payments by insurers have already taken place, according to a statement from the EU Representation in Cyprus.
Earlier in the day, Commissioner Hahn met President Christophias with whom he discussed the future of EU Cohesion Policy as well as the state of the talks between the two communities in Cyprus and the future of the island.
Hahn said that targeted investments in innovation and research infrastructure in marine culture and energy efficiency could prove to be trump cards for the future. Smart investments in solar energy, for instance, would make the country less dependent on traditional energy sources.
Vassiliko power station was all-but destroyed in the deadly explosion on July 11th, taking out 50 percent of the island's electricity supply and triggering an energy crisis which has seen electricity prices rise by 49 percent. Consumers currently pay the highest electricity prices in the EU which include a 7 percent temporary surcharge to cover costs incurred by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus to buy generators and electricity supply in the aftermath of the explosion.
The blast happened at Evangelos Florakis naval base located right next to the power station. According to an investigation, it was caused by high explosives stored in a number of shipping containers stored at the base that were confiscated en route to Syria from Iran in contravention of UN sanctions. The explosives were kept out in the open in extreme summer heat over a period of two years, became unstable and eventually blew up, killing 13 men.
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